Finger on the Tigger
At dusk Hannah and I found this little hedgehog wandering uncertainly up the path towards the Ranger's Office. It should have been asleep of course, and as Whinlatter is a few degrees colder than the valley a temperature rise was probably not the issue. It seemed likely from its small size that this individual had never put on enough weight to fall into hibernation properly or maybe hunger pangs woke it. Its black eyes glinted in the half light and as Nova sniffed, it froze with its spines raised. What food was this unseasonal traveller going to find in the cold waterlogged ground and winter vegetation?
As snow was forecast for the night we decided instantly it needed rescuing and after a short thought-provoking pause found pin proof gloves, and put it in a small box lined with blue paper towels for me to take home. Feeding it was going to be the first priority and luckily lovely Lorton Village Shop was still open and stocked cat food.
As soon as I got home I transferred it to a large plastic storage container, leaving it in its bedroom box for warmth and cover. There were a couple of things I did not know. I wasn't sure how much cat food to give it and I wondered whether having lived in upland chilly climes it would be fatal to bring it into a lowland centrally heated house. 'Tiggywinkles' on-line provided full answers! A hedgehog weighing less than 600g will be unlikely to survive the winter. it should be kept in the warm so that it stays awake, given water and fed about 100g a day to build up body weight. I added another spoon of meaty chunks to its dish and sat back to wait. It looked a lot for a small hog.
Black nose questing it uncurled and half opened its eyes then with a smacking of hairy lips, multiple whisks of pink tongue and a crunching of needle teeth it scrambled into its first square meal for perhaps months. And didn't stop until the plate was polished clean. Nothing under the plate either. Then with a sigh of bloat or content it did a huge pee and fell asleep where it stood.