About Animals 7

A CLEAR MOON and the HEDGEHOG

The school tradition of thinking a groundhog forecast the weather each February didn’t enfold a whisker of wisdom about the European hedgehog.

A yarn at a hedgehog site in British Columbia, Canada, spins the story that Romans decided that if a hedgehog, from its den, saw a shadow at this time of year, the hedgehog knew it was looking under a clear moon, which somehow meant a return to the den for six more weeks of winter.  http://hedgehogcentral.com

While a Punxsutawney, Pennsylvina groundhog and a Wiarton, Ontario groundhog are compelled to be in a weather sideshow at this time each year, very few people attempt to keep groundhogs as pets.

No so for the hedgehog, a wild creature not suited for milk, or bread soaked in milk.

But this is what many hedgehog pets are given, a prominent British hedgehog rescue group reports. Here in North America,  the pygmy hedgehog is now bred.

It has an undeniable cuteness factor but hedgehogs, which are wild creatures, can become discarded. Any kitten who has grown into a cat and found itself without a home can tell you that cutness is no guarantee to a life of leisure. 

Two groups helping hedgehogs in the US include

Hedgehog Rescue,  Box 148, Tigard, Oregon 97223

Information about that organization’s work is available on the links page at

http://hedgehogclub.com

which is The International Hedgehog Association, a source of connectivity among hedgehog groups.

Also listed there is The Flash and Thelma Memorial Hedgehog Rescue 

http://www.hedgieflash.org  

Some of the best hedgehog sites are in England.

Harrassment of the wild creatures there is a reality. They are chased by dogs and considered a garden (rooting among the hedges) nuisance, although they eat beetles.  (They, alas, also eat earthworms.)  

A busy animal shelter, St. Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital, in Aylesbury, England, which handles many species, was named for the Beatrix Potter hedgehog character, Tiggywinkles.

This clinic treats and releases about 3,000 wild European hedgehogs each year.  About 500 of the hedgies are overwintering.  http://stiggywinkles.org/uk

Hedgehogs, you might want to know, aren’t releated to porcupines.

That Tiggywinkles Hospital? The other rescue groups?

They could definitely use some hedge funds.

~~  

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