Shorts

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!

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2 Comments

  1. Posted 20 December 2010 at 13:25 | Permalink

    Looking at the advert and the bad spelling I think this gives us a clue as to the intelligence of the vendor.

    I do hope the little feller was rescued rather than fall into the hands of someone similar.

    On a related note of ‘unsuitable’ pets I must admit I do have to chuckle when people have bought a ‘pygmy’ pig as a pet only to find later it has grown into a full size porker. I am assuming that the bewildered owner will ultimately care for their extra large porker or pass it on to someone who is able to.

  2. Posted 20 December 2010 at 14:55 | Permalink

    Thanks for raising that Hugh. My thoughts on this guy are unprintable but we knew some moron would try it.

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  • Hugh Warwick holding a toad

  • Hugh Warwick is an ecologist and writer with a particular fondness for hedgehogs. His first book, A Prickly Affair, remains the only book to have accolades from both Jeanette Winterson and Ann Widdecombe on the cover. The Beauty in the Beast is published in May 2012 and takes him on a journey in search of other animals. And in November 2012 he returns to hedgehogs with a book about the iconography of the animal.

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