It’s been a long time since I wrote anything on Metamorphosis. Not for any particular reason, just a quiet period and one in which my wildlife pursuits have been curtailed by minor but painful musculoskeletal injuries. So not a lot to write about.
Being unable to get out onto the marshes was a little depressing, then in July 2020 the unexpected happened…..
… my wife Ali had been expressing a hankering for a pet pygmy hedgehog. We had had quite a few discussions and I was resisting as we already have a houseful of cats, dogs, rodents, reptiles, fish, shrimps and frogs. In fact the only vertebrate class we don’t host are birds (and, technically, cartilaginous and jawless fish). I felt we had enough to do. Ali looked sad, and underneath my attempts to be “sensible” (why start now?) I felt a little guilty and mean. Little did I know that there was a conspiracy afoot.
The very next day a family of hedgehogs wandered into our driveway, in the middle of the afternoon. In fact to start with, just one hoglet, then two more appeared. A few days later a large and obviously very sick Mum appeared in front of our house. If hogs are about in the day, they are in trouble. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and sleep in the day. If they are foraging for food in the day, they’re probably starving as they are not eating, or in the case of the hoglets, being fed by Mum.
There’s been a lot going on since June 2020, and from our initial phone call to our local Hedgehog Rescue about the family that adopted us, we’ve become hedgehog fosterers, with an incubator, an indoor cage and an outdoor run. We’ve had half a dozen or so come through our hands and go on to release in the wild, and currently have two to stay over the winter. There’s a lot to tell and show, so I am restarting my writing with the stories of the gorgeous and smelly beasts who have taken over our lives, given us so much fulfilment, the privilege of being able to add a tiny bit to Conservation, and now the chance to help to save an ancient species recently scheduled as “at risk of extinction” in the UK.
And this is how the story begins …