I have a love of many things, one of which is hedgehogs. When I lived in the country we had a pair of resident hedgehogs aptly named 'big fat Daddy one' & 'Mummy one', but I have never had the luxury of seeing a baby one up close,...well until today when I pulled up the dive & saw this wee poppet running down the road, potentially becoming a road kill statistic.
Alex was very concerned about me taking him inside to snap a few shots before we popped him safely in the garden with a plate of jelly meat
Hedgehogs are probably our most familiar garden mammals, common in city parks
and gardens as well as the countryside. They are very useful to
the gardener, as they eat many garden pests.
Hedgehogs have short, sharp, stiff spines over the back and sides,
short legs and a pointed snout. The underside is covered with dense fur and the
animal will roll into a ball when alarmed. This presents the spines towards
danger, but is the main reason why so many become road
Hedgehogs mainly eat beetles, caterpillars,
earthworms and slugs. Many people put out a saucer of bread and milk for them,
but this can be harmful as their stomach cannot digest bread, and cow's milk is
a breeding ground for germs and can cause stomach upsets. A better diet would
consist of tinned dog or cat food (but not fish-based varieties), minced meat,
chopped liver, or scrambled egg. Dog biscuits, bran and peanuts can be used to
supplement the diet and to provide roughage but sweet foods such as chocolate
and fruit should be avoided, as they are bad for their teeth. It is very
important to ensure that a supply of fresh water is always
Hedgehogs spend the winter in hibernation, as
they are unable to find sufficient food outside in the cold weather. Younger
animals may be at risk if they have been unable to build up sufficient reserves
to keep them alive. Those over 1lb.in weight will probably survive, and should
be left alone, but those weighing less are unlikely to live unless taken
indoors, given plenty to eat (see section on food), and kept warm. A suitable
place could be a large box lined with hay, crumpled paper or dried leaves. If
the hedgehog is very young, place a hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket at the
bottom of the box. Once they have reached a weight of 1-1.5lbs., hedgehogs can
be released into the wild during a spell of mild, dry weather.
hedgehogs hibernate for short periods during the coldest weather. They may not
enter hibernation until June and become active again in September or
Individuals may be seen during this time as they briefly emerge in
a spell of warmer weather.
The female makes a nest of grass,
well hidden in the undergrowth. She has 2 - 4 babies that are born naked, with
closed eyes. She suckles them and they grow quickly. They leave the nest after
about 3 weeks and become independent.
visit several gardens within an area - and as many as 10 different individuals
may visit the same garden over a period of several nights, so the hedgehog you
see in the garden may not be the same every time. Most wild hedgehogs have
fleas, but these only live on hedgehogs, and cannot be transferred to cats,
dogs, or humans.
The hedgehog is a very noisy animal and can be heard
crashing through the undergrowth or snuffling in ditches on quiet nights. To
encourage hedgehogs (and other wildlife), leave some wild areas in the garden,
and avoid 'tidying up' too much. Leave plenty of dead leaves in which they can
hibernate - and always check before starting bonfires, in case a hedgehog is
Don't use slug pellets. These are poisonous to
hedgehogs and many other animals. Injured hedgehogs should be taken to the
nearest R.S.P.C.A centre or vet. It is quite safe to pick up a hedgehog - but be
sure to wear gloves!
The School Hols seem to be zapping by at light speed. Good as I'm looking forward to returning to 'some kind of normal', not so good as I feel I haven't 'done' a lot of 'things' with the kids...get my drift?
We were very fortunate, however, to spend some time with my one of my faves and hang out for the day in Pohangina valley. There is a blueberry farm not too far from our place, and the kids and I had a total blast picking blueberries, Alex managed to fit 32 in his mouth at once...later complaining of a sore tummy!!! ( he rather fancied the sour ones!) My beautiful friend Tink, who came a picking with us (Twas her idea, bless her!) has just started her own blog 'milkface' So please pop over and say hello, she has a beautifully honest way of writing and I always enjoy reading what she has to say.
I was extremely lucky to go to her Mama's & snap some pics of her totally amazing house, it truly was like something Bilbo Baggins could live in. I had a very healing day breathing in the fresh country air, sharing delicious whole foods and sharing the company of like minded souls.
Here are some pics of their amazing whare......
And now to (finally) acknowledge the 'new year'
Like many of you amazing bloggers, I have attempted to set some 'new year' goals as opposed to resolutions.
Things that have been in the back of my mind for some time, and perhaps need the 'new year' excuse to be kicked into action?!
1: Sit my full license (I've had my restricted for 11 years would you believe?)
2: Start piano lessons (two of our children have been blessed with the opportunity to take music lessons, only to grow prematurely tired of them. I have ALWAYS wanted to be able to learn the piano, so I have decided to take it upon myself that I shall ignore the feelings of being selfish, & grasp this opportunity as an adult, with the passion I had 20 years ago, and dive on in....watch this space)
3: Go back to work....! Yes working, and NO not that full time work that some Mother's do, along with juggling everything else (I am not one of those!) But prior to having Ginny, I did part time work massaging some of the local IHC. I loved this...have missed it so much, and now that Gunny is not quite so demanding on the breast, I feel like the time is right to return.
4: Make my vege garden the mecca of green goodness! Yep my garden has suffered some neglect over the past 18 or so months, 2012 is going to be an opportunity to learn more self sufficient techniques, eat A LOT more from our garden/ local produce etc, all in the face of the current 'food bill bullocks'!