Last week, I came home from Glasgow at about eleven o'clock in the evening and found this wee hedgehog lying on the doorstep.
It wasn't moving and was lying on its side, which I thought was a bit odd. Hedgehogs are supposed to curl up, aren't they, not just go to sleep any-old-how? The front door light makes it seem rather bright but it was actually dark outside (as you would expect at that time).
I left it for ten minutes and it didn't move at all. We have a significant cat population and although I didn't think many moggies would want a mouthful of needles, there were also the Rooks and Magpies to consider, so with mittens on, I picked it up and brought it into the house.
It curled up... sort of... but this was a pretty poor attempt at self protection, so after consulting various websites, I found a cardboard box and an old towel and installed it in the utility room with the door closed where Boristhedog wouldn't be overly interested in the smells.
In the morning it was a bit more lively, so I weighed it - just popped it in a bowl on the kitchen scales.
One website informed me that this meant it was about five to six weeks old and it wouldn't yet be weaned so I rang the SSPCA and they promised to send someone out to see it. I didn't want to put it back outside in case it had been orphaned and was too young to fend for itself.
About an hour later an SSPCA person arrived and had a look... there was nothing to worry about. "It" was a "he", and he was well hydrated and by now, quite active. He was about 8 weeks old and perfectly capable of coping on his own.
Back he went into the box, along with dog food and water, until the evening. Hedgehogs seen in daylight are in trouble, so it was important to wait until it was dark (ish).
He doesn't look very big does he?
Five minutes later he was gone. I watched him positively racing across the garden in search of food and adventure. He had quite a turn of speed!
About ten minutes after he made his bid for freedom, another, larger one appeared at the back door. This is an excellent reason to leave the grass and the undergrowth a little on the untidy side, I think.
I'm now wondering about buying some proper hedgehog food - I mean, I feed the birds, so why not feed the hedgehogs?