Friday, May 4, 2012

A Prickly Subject

My trip to the UK and Luxembourg last fall was perfect. Well, with one small exception. I had desperately wanted to see a hedgehog when I was in Britain. I found myself constantly scanning roads and hedges hoping for a glimpse of one.

As Kath and I were walking along the road in Scotland we happened across this one. Unfortunately it looked like a car had had also happened across the poor thing.




I continued my search for something more inflated and, if possible, breathing. While staying at John and Gill's home, Gill told me about a hedgehog she had rescued and kept in her home for a period of time. She seemed to think nothing of it, but to this North American it sounded quite amazing. Imagine - hedgehogs just roaming about in your house! One night John took me out to a hedge at the front of their house, flashlight (torch) in hand, searching for one he had recently seen. But it wasn't to be. I was skunked by the hedgehogs.

Fast forward six months. Alexandra has wanted a hedgehog for ages. I am sure British readers of this blog will find this unbelievable, but yes, people on this side of the pond keep them as pets. When she went to the pet store a couple of weeks ago they had a newly arrived baby, not quite old enough to go to a home yet. She decided on the spot she was going to get it before someone else did, paid for it, and waited impatiently until it was old enough to bring home. When the big day arrived she asked if I wanted to go to the pet store with her. Absolutely!

This is what it looks like when you are at the counter checking out with your hedgehog.




Introducing Percy.






It took Alexandra a day or two to figure out how to hold him in her bare hands. In this picture my gardening gloves have been repurposed as quill protectors.




She has now figured out the trick to holding him in her bare hands minus the acupuncture treatment.




I'm still trying to build up the courage to pick him up. Judging by the yelp Fergus let out when he got too close, a wrong move can prove to be very painful.

22 comments:

  1. Wow, I didn't know they were as prickly as all that. I thought that was a myth :)

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    1. They aren't like a porcupine, but they are definitely prickly. The quills are little, and they don't have barbs at the ends. When they are relaxed their quills sort of lie down, making it easier to hold them.

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  2. We love hedgehogs!!!!!! I've always thought people in the UK *did* keep them as pets; only recently it's become "fashionable" to keep them in North America. We've found a breeder just north of us and we're (son & I) hoping to convince DH that a hedgehog would be a lovely addition to our family. Enjoy little Percy. He's adorable.

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    1. Hopefully some of my British readers will comment and let us know if they are kept as pets in the UK. If not, I will ask my friends in England.

      I think a hedgehog would be a great addition to your family! They don't take up very much space, and they are only free to wander around the house when you want them to.

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  3. He is so cute! I can't imagine them as pets, my sister and I caught a couple when we were little and put them in a cardboard box with some milk and bread, but Mum heard them scrabbling around and let them out (it was a big open box, so not as cruel as it sounds) but mostly they are squashed on the road here too!

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    1. You must have been sad when your mom let them go!

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  4. Percy is cute, like something out of a Disney movie. But still, Alexandra must have a very big heart to want to take care of him. =)

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    1. I was thinking more Beatrix Potter than Disney. :-)

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  5. I think hedgehogs are so cute! My brother used to want one as a pet when we were kids, probably because we all loved watching Sonic on Saturday morning.

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    1. Adults are allowed to get them. Just saying...

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  6. can't believe you are keeping a hedgehog as a pet. In the UK we just have them in the wild. They often come and eat the cats food if I leave it outside, but thats as close as they get. Here are a few UK links

    http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/
    http://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/
    http://hedgehogrescue.co.uk/

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    1. Thanks for the links! When I was visiting my friends in England last fall and told them Alexandra wanted to get a hedgehog as a pet they expressed the same surprise as you.

      We have had raccoons come eat dog food left outside our house, and they are very cute. But I think having a hedgehog eating at your back door would be even better!

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  7. Percy is so cute and I am so envious! Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks! I am sure I will enjoy him as long as I don't have to hold him. :-)

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  8. Congrats on Percy! I own two hedgehogs - Tiggy and Pippin! I think you are going to so enjoy the ownership of a hedgehog and he will steal your heart forever! In my blog (http://hedgehogknitter.wordpress.com) I have an entry where I am giving Pippin his poopy booty bath!

    Enjoy!

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    1. It is nice to hear from another hedgehog owner! I have started reading your blog, and will have to go back and find the poopy booty bath entry. Great names for your hedgehogs!

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  9. Percy is adorable!! I remember seeing one in the wild once... when I was 7, my parents packed up their 5 kids (ranging in age from 7 down to 2), boarded a plane and spent six weeks in Holland, visiting family. At my grandmother's house one rainy afternoon, I happened to look out the window and saw this prickly little thing traipsing along under the hedge. My mother explained that it was a hedgehog. I've been enamoured ever since!

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    1. Lucky you to have seen one in the wild! Your parents must have been very brave to take 5 young kids on a plane!

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  10. My nephew has been researching hedgehogs for a pet (he lives in Texas) I gave him money to get a cornsnake for his birthday last year, but after living with the snake for awhile he thought he wanted something "with a bit more personality."

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    1. A snake would be my worst nightmare! When my kids were young I told them if they ever brought a snake into the house I would leave for two weeks. :-)

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  11. Kristie,

    He or she is so cute! I've never seen a hedgehog in my life, but if I ever get to go to Scotland, I will look for them.

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    1. They are in England too, but it is hard to spot them because they are nocturnal. That's why my friend took me out with the flashlight to try and see one.

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