Unsurprisingly, I find that I am at the receiving end of a great deal of hedgehog-related strangeness. But not all of it warrants a posting, or, as is happening at the moment, it is arriving while I am in the middle of something that is making my brain hurt … like now. I am writing about the house sparrow – a fantastic bird being advocated by an amazing gentleman. But there is just so much information that I need to squeeze into so little space and the bit that is making my head hurt is trying to make the links work … so a little deviation is called for to lighten things up for me.
In no particular order, here are some hedgehoggy things we should all care about:
1. Actually, this is not to lighten things up but to say ‘told you so’ … someone has been found trying to sell a European hedgehog in Kent – the actual ad has been taken down and they have been reported to the police and the RSPCA, but an archive of the ad is here. I am often asked why I am concerned about the push to sell pet African Pygmy Hedgehogs in Britain, and this is one of the main reasons. Either unscrupulous or mind-boggling stupid people will try and sell on our own wild animals. If you want a real hedgehog thrill, then try and get to see a wild one, where it belongs, in the wild.
2. There is a lot about the latest crop of pop stars that has passed me by, but I have now heard of Lady Gaga. Apparently this most eccentric of individuals has a commendable fondness for hedgehogs. Well, that is what I thought when I first read the headline, but it turns out that, and as this is something I read on the web, it is quite possibly no more reliable than a posh-boy Lib Dem promise, Lady Gaga had a rider for her concerts demanding two baby hedgehogs to be present back stage in her changing room. And I thought I was a bit over the top asking for a cake.
3. I was giving a talk to the Kent Mammal Group and was given the most amazing story – a woman told me how she had recently failed her driving test because she had stopped for a hedgehog in the road. Apparently you should not stop for anything smaller than a cat. So would that make it okay to run over a chihuahua?
4. Hedgehog carers all over the country are having to feed an enormous number of animals this winter – so if you find yourself unable to get away over Christmas, or your guests don’t arrive … why not donate some of what you would have spent to the sanctuaries? The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has a list of just a few in each county on their website. These are not necessarily going to be the closest, but you can ask them if there are any nearer you.
5. And finally – something to gladden your hearts and excite you into a late Christmas purchase … the wonderful woman who made our wedding rings many years ago has just made some hedgehog earrings. When she told me I was nervous as she is a friend and many of these sorts of things are dire … but they are wonderful. Her name is Bridget Wheatley and her shop is also online.
The little hedgehog is fantastic – she has only just designed it and made a few. If you are interested, get in touch with her (through the website) and ask for a hedgehog or two for your loved one’s lobes!