Sunday, 7 September 2008

You can never be too careful with Hedgehogs

Deep shame. I nearly polished off a hedgehog and all through my own carelessness. When the peas were finished and getting into a manky tangle, I chopped them off at ground level. Apparently if you leave the roots in the ground it helps to fix the nitrogen in the soil, then I untangled the spent plants for the compost bin and, in a moment of thrift, rolled up the pea netting for use next year. Ever short of space, and of a slightly slovenly nature, I bunged the pea netting out of sight in the handy little gap between my workshop and the fence and there it stayed forgotten, until a couple of days ago, when I heard a,
'Thump, thump', coming from behind the shed.

KMB peered into the gap, then gave me a stern look. A hedgehog, one of four that very sensibly live in next door's garden, was completely entangled in the pea netting.

'It's going to die' I wailed, 'And it'll be all my fault.'

'Get the kitchen scissors.' I was told.

It took ages to snip him free. The poor little chap kept trying to curl up while we prised him open gently and pulled off each piece of nasty green plastic.

Once de-stringed, we laid him gently in a shady part of the garden with a bowl of water by his side.

'He's dead,' I muttered, consumed with guilt. When he uncurled slightly this changed to, 'He's gone all floppy; he's fainted from shock.'

I won't share what KMB said to me, as it was very uncomplimentary. So I left the hedgehog alone, already wondering where to dig a deep hole to get rid of the evidence of my stupidity. A short while later slurping noises told me he'd recovered and was draining the bowl dry. It's amazing how fast they can move when they want to. One look at me and he headed for safety and was last seen squeezing through a broken fence panel, wisely heading for next door.

The green plastic netting? In the bin. One positive thing. I know now the smelly mess on the lawn each morning isn't fox poo after all. That was one nervous hedgehog I can tell you. Did he have to do that all over the kitchen scissors and my gardening gloves? After all I was trying to rescue him.


toady said...

You are so lucky to have hedgehogs. We don't even see squashed ones on the road any more. I'm glad the little chap came through his ordeal.

Faith said...

Oh so lucky you heard his thump thump. What a tale, and all the lovely photos too. Poor little thing, glad he was ok. We occasionally see hedgehogs in the garden or yard, and I'm always afraid my husb. will run one over when he leaves for work at midnight. It hard being a hedgehog!

Frances said...

Delightfully told! I think that there might just be a children's book in this.

And I can just imagine how your hedgehog is telling his/her tale to his/her own buddies.

I really like the photos, too!

Preseli Mags said...

I envy you your hedgehogs too - we haven't got any here. We did have them in Worcestershire, however, and once found one stuck in an empty can of Bounce dog food. It had gone in forwards and couldn't find reverse. We had to get the tin opener to let it out.

Cait O'Connor said...

Ah...a lovely hedgehog story. I think they have nine lives like cats do. Reminds me of my drunken hedgehog, do you remember him?

Hannah Velten said...

I think he was just showing his displeasure (all the poo)! Glad to hear he survived - probably a timely warning for me as we have resident hogs...mootia x

Grouse said...

Like Toady- never get them! They seem to visit eveyone else but I think the badgers have done for ours!

elizabethm said...

You are lucky to have hedgehogs. We never see a sniffle even though we have pretty much everything else! Glad he survived.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Never seen a hedgehog up close and personal. How exciting!