Saturday, 4 October 2008
Hetty has an adoring Auntie in the village
Yesterday we caught up with a lovely lady in the village, Mandy, who is a bit of a secret animal Saint. We had turned up at the shop she works in to buy some cheese. We always take our own plastic box with us to save on unnecessary plastic packaging.
When we walked in we were greeted like Royalty, only she was disappointed to see an empty box. Mandy thought we had taken Hetty in for a visit in the box!
We spent ages chatting and she was quite sure that if Hetty hadn't have found us that day she would be dead. The temperature dropped so low during her first night in our house that Mandy was convinced Hetty would not have been big enough to survive.
I have to admit, it bought a bit of a lump to my throat to think about that.
I had been questioning (and still am) the wisdom of what we are doing. Is it right to make a wild animal dependent on you? But if we don't then Hetty would be dead. It appears that apart from lack of food and warmth she is healthy, so is it right to just let die because something has happened to her Mother?
The fact that Hetty had survived a couple of days with us and was eating was a good sign, we were assured.
Mandy has up to 13 hedgehogs visiting her back garden, and she feeds them all. Last year she noted that none of them hibernated due to the seasons getting so messed up. I remember last year we only had three frosts and the rest of the time it was damp and mild.
Mandy also told me that hedgehogs are now breeding all year round whereas they usually have two litters - one in the spring or one in the late summer. If these babies are born too late in the season then they do not have enough reserves to survive the winter hibernation.
It's a world gone mad isn't it? Many people claim climate change is not happening, but you only have to look at the animals to realise it is very real threat to our wildlife.