The little visitor

Today we had a little visitor in the garden, snuffling amongst the leaves next to a hosepipe:

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Hedgehog with hosepipe.

Jolly good for the garden, hedgehogs, as they enjoy a diet of slugs and other such pests.

They’re so useful, in fact, that people have been known to steal them.

I remember an occasion in my childhood (a time that was filled with hedgehogs, in my memory) when I was playing in the garden with a chum who lived up the street. After playing at mine we went up to her house and told her dad about a hedgehog we’d seen in my garden. He asked us to show it to him, so we took him back to mine.

On being shown the hedgehog, he promptly pinched it and took it back to his own garden in the hope that it would eat his slugs. My mum wasn’t too pleased.

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Welcome, little visitor, do call again. Prime slugs are supplied free of charge.

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Categories: Blairgowrie, Hedgehog, Nature, Perthshire, Photography, Scotland, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

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42 thoughts on “The little visitor

  1. How cute! This is one of the sweetest looking hedgehogs I’ve seen. He looks like a youngster, trying to stock up before the cold weather. I hope he will find lots of slugs! That is a horrifying story of your neighbour stealing your hedgehog! I can only hope he found his way back!

    • He is rather adorable, isn’t he? I think you’re right about the age, he was amazingly unfazed by my presence with a camera, and out and about snuffling in broad daylight. I expect the pinched hedgehog found his way out of that garden and quite possibly back to where he’d been whisked from, they move about quite a bit, I believe.

  2. Such a sweet little fellow. I daresay, we could use a hedgehog or 2 in our own garden. I’ve never been lucky enough to come across one, and I certainly wouldn’t steal one from someone else’s garden. Although they’re so cute, I might be tempted.

    • If you do ever get the urge to lift one, I’d advise gardening gloves because those prickles are pretty sharp. There’s a soft little tummy underneath so the key thing is to try and lift it from there, avoiding as many prickles as possible. I’m not advocating pinching hedgehogs, mind you, I daresay they would much rather not be handled by gallumphing great humans

  3. What a sweetie! I would love to have several of these creatures snuffling around our garden. On second thought, Ikey would not make them feel at all welcome…
    How rotten of your neighbor, by the way!!

    • I wonder if Ike would come off worse for an encounter with a hedgehog, although they are pretty small and probably easily intimidated by a bounding hound. Your comment reminded me of an occasion when I lived in Pakistan and one of our dogs rather inadvisedly attacked a porcupine. The daft beast came padding into the house with spines sticking out all over her and didn’t enjoy having them removed. She wasn’t the brightest of dogs but I think she learned a lesson that day.

  4. Love the hedgehog. It looks as though he’s assessing whether or not the hosepipe is edible. Or had you left some crumbs from your afternoon tea cake?

    • I’m afraid to say that when it comes to cakes I’m not in the habit of leaving crumbs. The hedgehog didn’t seem to try and eat the hosepipe, although it did clamber over it at one point. I hope it found some tasty slugs.

  5. He is so cute! We don’t have hedgehogs in Canada, only groundhogs (which are cut too!).

  6. A delightful little post, about your delightful little visitor! Are you a fan of Creature Comforts by chance? One of my favourite series!

  7. We are poles apart , so different and yet so similar. Last week we had a visit in our garden from our resident local echidna. I will do a post on it this week. He is good for turning over the soil and eating ants. Possibly not as beneficial as a hedgehog.

  8. I love wild hedgehogs! Wish they existed in the US! People keep them as pets here, but they belong in the wild, for sure.

  9. Love your post…there was a great book out about 5 years ago called “Elegance of the Hedgehog” one of the best books I have read…this made me think of that for some reason.

  10. I was so intriqued the first time I saw a hedgehog in England. They are so cute. I just had to include one in my book. .We don’t really see them here in Canada.

    • Including one in your book was an excellent idea, they’re such a familiar part of childhood in the UK. I haven’t seen many in recent years so it was a real pleasure to see this wee one.

  11. This brought back lovely memories – when I was small, my bedroom was by the back garden and I loved the evenings when you heard the snuffling sound under the window and could see the little hedgehog waddling around.

  12. Such an adorable little visitor. How delightful!
    We had 2 visitors to our backyard this week- 2 red foxes! In the decade we have lived here, I have never seen a fox in our yard.
    There was such a commotion. The neighbour’s dog jumped into our yard to chase them. I didn’t have a chance to take photos. I expect that they came looking for water. It has been so dry here. It finally started raining yesterday, thankfully.

    • That was quite an excitement for you! I was thinking about foxes the other day and how rarely I see them. I used to see them far more when I lived in a city. I hope they weren’t too distressed by being chased by a dog but they’re possibly quite used to it. Glad to hear of the end to your drought.

  13. So cute.. I’ve actually never seen one, although I hear some people have them here as pets. I don’t think they are native anywhere in the USA. Nice photos!

    • Thank you, it’s funny to think of them as pets but then people in the UK keep all kinds of non-native animals as pets so it shouldn’t surprise me really.

  14. I always enjoyed reading about Mrs.Tiggy-WInkle so your hedgehog was a nice reminder. They are so cute and comical looking!

  15. I think this tops the incredibly incredibly cute chart today. And a lovely post for the International Day of Kindness (no, I didn’t either). Be kind to hedgehogs! The ones that are left anyway :(

  16. Every hedgehog is a bonus. We used to bump into them frequently in the garden, now it is rare. I have only met one this year, though we do see the odd dropping, so they are still around.

    • What a wonderful phrase: “Every hedgehog is a bonus”. :-) I agree. I’m glad to hear your hedgehogs are still around, I have been wondering if their numbers are dwindling generally, but I don’t know.

  17. I love hedgehogs but very rarely see one. My folks have got a family of five in their garden and they feed them with hedgehog food (whatever that is) and my sister has built them a hibernaculum for the winter. I hope they all survive and aren’t the subject of any larceny :-)

    • Five?! That’s wonderful, and the hibernaculum sounds like a great idea. What did she make it out of? I would love to have a hibernaculum with hedgehogs, or possibly snakes, in it.

      • Hello Lorna, I’ll ask her for the design spec and let you know. The RSPB website has a page on how to build one for reptiles:

        http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/gardening/reptiles_amphibians/hibernacula.aspx

        She also feeds the hedgehogs too with some special hedgehog, I’ll find out what that is too.

        • That’s wonderful, thank you Finn!

          • Hello Lorna, my sister feeds her hedgehogs on ‘Spikes Hedgehog Food’ and she laces it with mealworms to get he baby ones interested. 20g per hedgehog per night.

            She made her hibernaculum from logs. Basically it’s a wooden south facing (to keep cold wind out) ‘L’ shape placed on the soil so they can dig if they want to, and buried under a compost heap, with dead leaves and moss scattered around and about for them to drag in and use as bedding. They also benefit from a little food left in the entrance and an obstruction near the door to let them in and out and prevent cats intruding. Hibernation can be intermittent, so keep an eye on the food and when it starts disappearing feed them until it stops disappearing. A supply of fresh unfrozen water supply is important through the winter too.

            Due to the horrendous weather earlier in the year there are a lot of babies around now which are too small to survive the winter unassisted. If you see any tiny ones you can keep feeding them and even though they are too small to hibernate they can survive if they have regular food.

            There is apparently lots of information on the web, and if you email Tiggywinkles animal hospital they will reply with advice, and vets who treat wild animals do it for free.

            I hope your local hedgehogs flock in and give you lots of pleasure through the winter :-)

            • Thank you for all that information, Finn. ‘Spikes Hedgehog Food’ sounds like something from a comic! I’m delighted to hear that such a thing exists. It sounds as if your sister is extremely dedicated to encouraging hedgehogs, I take my hat off to her. I imagine the hibernaculum is a very cosy place, perfect for little visitors to nestle down in. I do hope I can assist some tiny hedgehogs at some point, I haven’t seen any since that one I saw recently although I do keep looking for them. Tiggywinkles animal hospital seems to be a splenid organisation, I’m very glad to know about them, too. Thanks again for taking the time to investigate and report back. :-)

  18. I wish we had hedgehogs! All we get is badgers, which aren’t nearly so cute.

    • Maybe it’s just the thought of what you don’t have because I’d love to see a badger up here. I’ve only ever seen one in the south of England, never in Scotland.

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