Monday, February 29, 2016

And the name of the hedgehog is...Valentine

The hedgehog went nameless for the first three weeks, similar to the old human custom of not naming a newborn before there was at least some chance of survival.

A little superstitious, you could say, and the blogster agrees. Parsing superstitions is a fun game the blogster plays with itself. **  The results tend to be mixed, win some, lose some.

So, the hedgehog was finally named Valentine because it was picked up in the wee hours of a freezing early February morning. It was out gingerly making its way across frozen grass looking for food.

Despite a mild winter, this was not a good time for a small guy like that to come out of hibernation. The very dry Spring of 2015 had pushed the schedule of a lot of the local wildlife towards the latter months of Fall, and the little guy could not put on enough weight for the winter.

Just as the blogster wondered what life on a farm had been good for, in the long run, other than giving it a headstart in corporate life when it came to wading knee deep in sh** or understanding the life cycle of bugs, the hedgehog appeared. It rolled up into a small ball not much bigger than the fist of an adult and did not protest during the ride home.   

A large cardboard box was quickly found, as were some old newspapers, once again proving that not being all too tidy may have advantages. Oh, right, superstition.

The next steps went quickly. Find a dish for water, sequester cat food, grab some more papers, put papers on the floor in the coolest room of the house, stick hedgehog in the box, done.

What now?

Picking up wild animals is, as they say in German, "verboten", or, in 1940s French,  "vers beau temps". Unless the animal needs help. Check - less than 200 g for a hedgehog in winter qualifies as an emergency.

Unless you have serious experience caring for animals - taking a dog to the groomer doesn't qualify - you should take a wild animal to the vet.

A couple of hours of reading later, we decided to check the hedgehog's health to figure out if a visit to the vet was needed right away. The little fellow showed no signs of fleas, no lesions, good. Time to see how hungry he was. The cats didn't mind giving up some kibbles, although they did mind not being allowed anywhere near the "new animal smell".

To make a long story short, he soon ate and produced digested output which needed to be checked for signs of infection and worms. Not finding anything worrisome, we decided to not take it to the vet right then.

It is over three weeks later, and we have a fat little hedgehog who will be kicked out of the house as soon as the first snails come out.

** We go gender neutral at the K-Landnews, to the amusement of some and the chagrin of other readers.

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