Meet Horace and Hortensia

We adopted two hedgehogs today from The North East Wildlife & Animal Rescue Centre. They put out a call recently on social media looking for homes for hedgehogs. They had 140 of them.

To qualify for a hedgehog you have to provide them with a house in the backyard, food and water, live away from a main road, and ensure freedom to roam (i.e., they can’t be fenced in). I have had a hedgehog house in the backyard pretty much since we moved in seven years ago but none have ever taken up residence in it. Indeed when I looked at it earlier this week I realised I needed to get a new one as the wood was rotting and it was falling apart. So we got the Rolls Royce of hedgehog houses but when we went to collect our new friend today we ended up leaving with two hedgehogs so I had to dash out and get another house at the last moment.

Hedgehogs are native to the UK and have lived on Earth for about 15 million years. Compare this to humans who have only been around for about 300,000 years. But unlike humans, hedgehogs are struggling to survive and their numbers are declining. This is largely our fault as they get run over, poisoned by slug pellets and other garden chemicals, ripped to shreds by lawn mowers and strimmers, burnt in garden bonfires, drowned in garden ponds, and of course there is also loss of habitat from monoculture farming.

I never put any chemicals or slug poisons on the garden and when we put in our back fence I made sure it had corridors for wildlife. But I guess you’re wanting me to stop rambling and show pics of the hedgehogs! Here’s Hortensia, a one-year-old female.

We gave her the Rolls Royce house in the hope she might have hoglets one day.

Horace is bigger in size but also 1 year old.

Here’s Horace’s house.

Here’s Hortensia’s house.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal and only come out at night, so Victoria is unlikely to see them as we lock her indoors overnight. I’ve put the wildlife camera out so we can spot them when then emerge. They are not pets and not meant to be handled. We’re just providing a safe space for them to live and hopefully breed.

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