As I was driving home from work yesterday I spotted a very small hedgehog merrily walking down the middle of the road. Thankfully my car is a tip so there was a towel on hand to wrap it in and whisk to safety. I popped him (gender is unknown but I am going with male) still curled in a ball in the towel into my garden and went inside for some dog food.
While he was wolfing down his Pedigree Little Champions homestyle beef, pasta and veges I Googled what to do. He was out in broad daylight so something was up. I found the number for NZ Hedgehog Rescue and left them a message. I then watched the imaginatively named Hedgie as he strolled along the width of the garden into a patch of (the bane of my life) vinelike weed. Hedgie seemed pretty sprightly and had eaten a meal so I headed inside.
NZ Hedgehog Rescue called me back and inquired about his size – just slightly bigger than a tennis ball when curled up. The lady informed me that he was too small to survive on his own and asked if I could take him into the rescue centre. Without a trip to the North Island on a plane I could not and thus became a hedgehog carer. I am to get his weight up to 700 grams so that he will be insulated enough to survive a Dunedin winter. Hedgehog Rescue said Hedgie was probably out searching for his Mum who was likely to be dead.
The first task was to locate him in the bushes. My dog went crazy trying to find him and I also scrabbled around, agitating the dogs who live over the back fence. When I couldn’t locate him I retired inside hoping to spot him later creeping about for more Little Champions. Sure enough, once the sun had gone down there he was, feasting.
Hedgie was bundled up and placed into his new enclosure – a plastic tub with one of the dog’s blankets shredded up and some strips of newspaper. The poor chap spent the evening trying to escape, attempting to climb the walls and, when that failed, trying again with slippery, wet, feet courtesy of his water dish.
I tried to weigh him on the bathroom scales but he was too light to register. Mr Pigalina is out of town so has not yet been exposed to the madness in person. When he is back one of the first tasks will be an official weigh-in.
(Hedgehog watch day 1)