I was ecstatic on Thursday night when Joel picked me up at the station and produced two pictures of a little hedgehog in our garden.
I've never had a hedgehog in the garden or had the opportunity to feed one. I was really excited and hoped that he would still be there when we got home. We headed straight out into the garden and sure enough there he was curled up at the edge of the lawn, in amongst some weeds. I insisted we head out to the shop to buy some dog food to feed him. So, rather than eat our own dinner we wandered down to the shop - closed. We wandered further to the next shop [another 10 minutes walk away] and I deliberated over the different flavours of Cesar! We finally settled on Rabbit & Turkey and Turkey & Chicken - yum. We got home and whilst Joel prepared the human meal, I prepared the hedgehog meal. A saucer of dog food accompanied by a saucer of water. I sat it on the paving stone next to the little critter.
Over the next couple of days we noticed that he seemed to have been eating some of the food, but that he was still sleeping and hadn't really moved. We checked on him a few times and he still seemed to be alive but not very reactive to our prods.
On Saturday morning I decided that he was no longer responding to the occasional prod, but since I don't really know much about hedgehogs I thought I would leave it a day - stuck out some more food and changed the water. Sadly the next morning it was apparent that something else had been eating the food and that the little hedgehog had died.
Donning my gloves I carefully lifted the wee guy and discovered that he had a badly injured back leg, which had possibly led to his demise. I took him across the street to an area of scrub and laid him to rest deep within - to return to nature.
My first encounter with a garden hedgehog was pretty shortlived but I look forward to welcoming another hedgehog to the garden... after all, I still have a tin of Cesar in the cupboard...!