Unexpected Visitor


Henry, or possibly Harriet

Here at Shevdon Manor, we try to encourage the wildlife, not least because we’re in the middle of a town and the wildlife needs all the help it can get.

So this is Henry, or possibly Harriet, we’re not sure, and he (or she) is not normally seen in daytime, but rather heard, rootling about in the flower beds at dusk. However, in a brave moment, or possibly in search of another like-minded but oppositely gendered hedgehog, Henry (or Harriet) appeared on the lawn.

This is probably last year’s hedgehog. They only live two or three years, and need to be about the size of a Christmas pudding by the end of autumn to survive the winter.

They are much maligned creatures and have a reputation of having fleas, which is true, but not any more so than any of the neighborhood cats, and they are specific hedgehog fleas, and don’t bother humans or cats. Sadly, you sometimes see them as roadkill – cars are a major hazard where we are – as the cars run over them and rather than curl up they stand up on their legs and try to run away. They can run quite fast if the want to, but they can’t outrun a car.

They eat mainly slugs and worms, and other invertebrates, and are a friend to gardeners. If you find one, don’t feed them bread or milk – they can’t digest it – but in a dry spell, leaving a saucer of water where they might wander and on a warm day in winter they might be found foraging – a little cat food can be a welcome snack.

  1. #1 by Mike on July 10, 2012 - 8:26 am

    Thanks for the info, Silver, and the link to the PTES is http://www.ptes.org/ for those who would like to join in.

  2. #2 by silver price on July 10, 2012 - 7:39 am

    The Mammals on Roads app tracks mammals seen during the course of car journeys over 20 miles, helping to build up a clearer picture of the state of our wildlife populations. The survey started in 2001 and runs annually between July and September. Continuous monitoring of wildlife is vital to help us understand the issues facing individual species and inform decisions about how best to take action to help them. For example, data from 10 years of Mammals on Roads surveys has revealed the decline of a quarter of hedgehogs over that period, leading PTES to initiate a campaign to protect the endangered animals called Hedgehog Street .

  3. #3 by Anne Lyle on June 26, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    Lovely! We used to get them in our garden pretty regularly, since we live almost in the country, but I think the chickens may have frightened them off :(

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