Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Prickly Visitor

A few weeks back I was taking some rubbish out to the bin, when I heard a strange rustling in my tiny back garden. My first thought was that it might be one of the neighbours cats trying to catch a mouse in the dark. However, it was an unusual sound and curiosity got the better of me (impossible to shake off that zoology training). I decided to investigate with a torch but failed to locate the culprit. All was revealed a couple of weeks later when popping out in to the back garden one Saturday afternoon I was taken aback to find a hedgehog happily snuffling around.

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I always knew there had been a good reason for neglecting the gardening for such a long time :). Actually this has just resulted from lack of time and a very busy work schedule but the build up of leaf litter had obviously proved attractive to the prickly visitor.

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Having never had opportunity to photograph a hedgehog before I was quickly back in to the house to grab the camera and the rarely used 70-200mm lens. It was good fun lying down in close proximity, but out of flea jumping distance, to the hedgehog as it foraged through the gravel.

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I was amazed to find the hedgehog in my tiny garden which is surrounded by a high brick wall. However, I subsequently learnt that despite their unlikely appearance that hedgehogs are very good climbers.

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After about 15 minutes of snuffling around the hedgehog wandered off to the back corner of the garden to disappear in to an 'igloo' of bamboo leaves it had constructed.

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I have this habit on when I encounter a new species with the camera I like to turn to the books and find out more about them. 'Horace' as he was now known looked to be a young hedgehog so I decided to give him a bit of helping hand to reach his minimum hibernation weight. Apparently cat biscuits and a bowl of water would provide a good dietary supplement and so over the next couple of weeks I occasionally put out a few cat biscuits and bowl of fresh water. Both hedgehog and the neighbours cat seemed very happy with the free meal handouts.

'Horace' put in a few daylight appearances but only during one such outing did I decide to take a few more photos.

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It appears the hedgehog has now moved on to another garden but it was a real pleasure to act as a temporary host. There are couple of interesting points from this experience which are that a bit of neglect in the garden can do wonders for attracting wildlife and I would urge all to dedicate a corner for this purpose. Secondly and more importantly with autumn rapidly approaching, piles of leaves and stick for bonfires will be very attractive to a hedgehog so please check before striking the match.

10 comments:

holdingmoments said...

Lovely shots Richard, of one of our best loved creatures.
I read somewhere years ago, about their climbing abilities. When climbing a brick wall, apparently when they reach the top, they curl up into a ball, and just drop to the other side. Amazing.

Bob Bushell said...

A lovely pictures Richard. He was happy snuffling about.

Dominic Gendron said...

Very interesting serie of images. This little beast is so cute ;)

Pat Ulrich said...

terrific shots of this delightful creature!

sebi_2569 said...

superb; bravo

Idaho Birder said...

Fun narrative and great photos! Your my top favorite nature photographer in the blogosphere!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

What a beautiful little creature and the third one from the bottom, looking at you is so delightful~ Bravo~ Mary

Luuuuuua said...

f,f,f,frumoase toate,felicitari

Anonymous said...

Rather nice blog you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Julia Smith

Rich Steel said...

Many thanks for your replies. It was very nice to have a bit of wildlife in my tiny urban garden. However, I am glad he has now left as I have two Spoodle puppies tearing around the undergrowth.

Cheers

Rich

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