It was a long and cold Winter and many of our small birds and mammals paid the ultimate price. Numbers are drastically down of both animals and birds and like many I have been placing out extra food – not only for the birds but also for creatures like hedgehogs. It is surprising how just a few extra ounces of weight on a hedgehog may be the difference of their survival during any cold snaps.
Well, I had placed out some dried fruit on the slabs by the small shed and had hurried back to cut up an apple, crumble some digestive biscuits and raid the cat food. By now the light had gone and suddenly it was pitch dark … I hurried down towards the bottom of the garden just about making out the outline of the path from the dim light at the back door. I placed the food in little heaps in a row - then turned around to go back to the house. It was much darker on the way back and I couldn’t see the garden path. All of a sudden my foot (I was wearing open toe mules) jammed into something that felt like a pin cushion. It was so painful I winced out loud and realised that I had walked into a hedgehog.
Once back inside, I realised that my foot was now pouring with blood and I could see where each of the spines had penetrated … I had no idea that hedgehog spines were so sharp!
I bathed my foot … and then felt so guilty wondering if I had hurt the hedgehog at all … so back down the garden I went and saw him busily chewing on some apple. Back inside I went – and to try and make myself feel less guilty I came out with yet more food and placed it as though I were laying a little animal banqueting table right before him (I am assuming that this hedgehog is a him, as he was quite a large size).