So last summer I was walking home minding my own business when I spotted a hedgehog looking rather still in the gutter. It was looking rather unhappy so I sprang into action and wrapped it up in my coat and took it home. Now what? Luckily for me there are a number of websites telling you how to look after a hedgehog so I wrapped my wee hog up warm and fed it crushed cat biscuits (they also like tinned cat and dog food as long as it is not fish based!) The cat was horrified but the hedgehog was stoked with its narrow and long tongue shooting out to pick up the biscuits and lap the water. While it ate, I had to marvel at how exceedingly cute it was despite the spikes designed to repel.
According to a fantastic New Zealand Geographic article For the love of Hedgehogs by Bob Brockie we can thank a Mr Cunningham from Merivale for our Christchurch hedgehog population as he imported 12 hedgehogs in exchange for 12 weka. The wee dears escaped from his pigeon house and the rest you could say is history. This article is just one of many in our New Zealand Geographic Archive which entertains as well as educates. I mean did you know that during hibernation lines form along the hedgehog’s jaw which enables the calculation of the hedgehog’s age, much like rings on a tree? Who knew!
So what happened to Harold the Hedgehog (you have to name them don’t you) in the end? Well I waited until it was dark and took Harold back to the area I found him and released him into the section of a house that has always irritated me as it looks like it is surrounded by jungle. This time its lack of proper gardening was very useful as the hedgehog now warmed, fed and watered scurried away. Good luck Harold (or Henrietta). I hope you are happy somewhere shuffling and snuffling around our gardens eating slugs.