An Unexpected Guest

Last night our plans to go out for dinner to celebrate passing the first year were thrown into complete disarray when we received an unexpected house guest.

We were just about to go out for dinner, so I’d taken Alice for a quick spin around the block and halfway around she started sniffing around on a grass strip.  I realized that she had found a hoglet, a baby hedgehog.

The strip of grass was about ten metres long and less than a metre wide and bordered a concrete path bounded at both ends by roads, one of them busy. Any animal there had to have reached the grass by a fluke, and was unlikely to safely cross a second time. Not only that but hedgehogs and hoglets such as this are nocturnal animals, and shouldn’t be out in blazing sunshine in broad daylight.  She was eating something on the grass so she was clearly uninjured, but still she shouldn’t be out. I called Kate and asked her to come and give me a hand.

Kate arrived with a container and we took her (we thought it was a male but later found out he was a she, so Spiny Norman became Spiny Norma) home and started calling animal shelters, to report that we had a two ounce, three inch long animal that needed help, but was happily tucking into Alice’s Pedigree chum and slurping water in a way that showed just how dehydrated she must have been. 

Never, ever, find an animal that needs sanctuary on a Friday evening. Nine phone calls later and I finally struck gold in the shape of Tony who told me from the animal’s weight that she would be about two weeks old and was probably orphaned. When I told him that the hoglet was happily eating dog food, he revised his opinion to a severely malnourished but still orphaned four or five week old. Either way, there was no chance that Norma could be released into the wild and have any chance of survival — hedgehogs normally weigh about 600g rather than 60g when they hibernate, and Tony was in West Wales. Two more phone calls later, we made contact with Secret World – who would happily take her but because she was uninjured, we had to take her in.

So having put Norma(n) in a box with a towel and Alice’s stuffed Tinky-Winky from when she was a puppy (don’t ask; just don’t – okay?) and some more food and water, we put her in the bath until we could drop her down today.

That required a seventy-mile round trip, which took (with a thirty minute stop for lunch) about three hours, so Norma really blew any Saturday plans out of the window. And we ended up settling for a Chinese takeaway last night…

One Response to “An Unexpected Guest”

  1. Joey says:

    Aw, how cute! Good for you!

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• July 10th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 1