Hedgehog in the road

Molly Toal

My wild act for day 23 started unexpectedly early. Bang on midnight to be exact.

I was woken up by my dad, shouting that he had found a hedgehog that needed help.

After throwing on a coat, I came outside to see my dad squatting in the road, attempting to coax the hedgehog into an old ice cream tub. The hedgehog was having none of it and snuffling in annoyance.

Had it been daytime or a chilly autumn night, I definitely would have said we needed to take the hog inside and get help, but this little hog seemed perfectly fine. It was awake at night and didn’t seem to be having difficulty walking.

Also, it being June, it’s prime time to see hedgehogs milling about at night while they hunt for food and look for mates.

“Leave it alone, hedgehogs are nocturnal they’re supposed to be walking around at night. Why do you think it needs help?” I asked.

“He’s lost, we need to take him to the park,” my dad said, clearly flapping. “He’s going to get run over if he walks on the roads.”

“They have to walk along the roads, there aren’t enough hedges or wild gardens for them to keep to while they hunt because we’ve put roads and buildings everywhere,” I replied sadly.

As city streets go ours is rather green but I felt overwhelmingly sorry for this little, endangered creature who, through no fault of its own, risks being hit by a car every night as it tries to get from A to B.

“We should put him in our back garden, he’ll be safe there,” my dad insisted.

“No, because he won’t be able to get out of the garden again – and he can’t live there because then he won’t meet other hedgehogs and breed.”

Eventually I managed to talk my dad out of putting the hedgehog in our garden or driving it to the local park. Although my dad had the hedgehog’s best intentions in mind, it can do more harm than good interfering with a wild animal that doesn’t need rescuing. 

We did make sure the hedgehog got across the road thought and into a thick hedge. We also put some water and meat-based dog food (fish-based stuff disagrees with hedgehogs’ stomachs) under the hedge in case it was hungry or thirsty.

I was really pleased to learn that we still have hedgehogs living locally and after this encounter my dad is now on a mission to make our back garden the new hedgehog hangout.

He’s already made a small hole in the bottom of the garden gate and the next steps are to construct a hedgehog feeding station and a hedgehog house. Hopefully our new acquaintance will come back and is the first of many hedgehog visitors.