The Diary of the Humble Hedgehog.
This month of June The Wildlife Trusts are running a wonderful initiative #30DaysWild
The aim- to ask people to do something wild every day for the month of June and to make nature a part of their lives.
I along with many others have been posting wild things to do outdoors in order to encourage a connection with nature. This below is something different. Something that will hopefully make you think about the effect we have on wildlife in our gardens where everyday should be wild and safe for our wildlife.
If hedgehogs could write diaries.
30 Wild days / 30 Hedgehog Entries
These are real admissions and real circumstances of finding here at Willows from this month of June.
They are a fraction of the total number of June admissions.
Date 30th June 2015- Admissions this month so far 70
#Day1- June 1st. June
I was lucky to be found by people that knew that something was wrong and I was picked up and taken somewhere where there are lots of other hedgehogs that need help.
I am getting better now but I would like you to read some of the stories of other hedgehogs here and to see what you can do to make our lives better.
Over the next thirty days, thirty hedgehogs will tell their stories. These are only a few stories and many, many more can be found here 2015 Admissions
#Day2- June 2nd. Rosewood
I traveled my usual route tonight through the gardens I love to visit checking out potential places to rest or make a summer nest and of course foraging for food. One of the gardens has, I think it's called a dog that comes out snuffling around. Normally the dog isn't around when I arrive or if it is I sit quietly and it doesn't bother me.
Tonight I knew something was different. The dog came over and I curled up into a ball as it sniffed around me. Then all I felt was pain as I felt the dog sink its teeth into me. It kept on biting until the human stopped it and picked me up. I am so scared that I cannot stop shaking and I am starting to feel very cold.
I am being taken somewhere and I am still shaking, I cannot stop. Something has made the pain stop and I can feel warmth but I am so tired and can't stop shaking. I don't think that I can stay awake any longer. (I died the same night).
#Day3- June 3rd. Quilley
I have been feeling very very poorly for a long time. I can't breathe very well and I have been coming out in daylight which I know I shouldn't do but I feel so poorly. I don't want to eat, I can't eat because I can't breathe.
Some humans spotted me a couple of days ago and I hoped that they might be able to help me. They watched me for a while but left me alone. Now I am feeling even worse. It is an effort to move and I have come out again in daylight and laid down on the short grass. This time the humans spotted me and picked me up, but I think that it is too late.
I have been taken somewhere that is very bright and have been given something that makes my breathing a little easier. I am now in a strange nest that is white and that makes a strange humming sound. It is warm in here which is good as I feel cold. I think I would have felt a lot better if I had been in here a few days ago but now all I want to do is sleep. (I will sleep tonight and never wake up again).
#Day4- June 4th
I have been struggling to find somewhere to make a home to bring my children up. The places I go although I can manage to forage around don't have anywhere that I can make a home. I knew that time was getting short and that if I didn't find somewhere soon my newborns would be in trouble. Yesterday I found a pile of plastic bags next to a big gas canister and I gave birth to my beautiful babies. I was so proud of them and sad that I couldn't find a better home for them.
Then something happened. Our whole home was lifted up into the air and tipped over. I fell out and so did my new babies. One of them I am sure is dead and I can't let whatever this is have the others.
We have been taken somewhere and given a strange smelling nest. My children are so small that nothing else can raise them but me.
My children have been put in the nest with me but I fear for them and the only thing that I can think to do to protect them from whatever is out there is to kill them. At least then they will be safe.
Today I killed my own children.
#Day5- June 5th
To think that only two days ago we had a beautiful family home among thick shrubs in a garden that I have known most of my life. I had built a lovely home taking care to make it the best place I could to raise my little ones. Things were going great and my four lovely little ones were already coming up to a week old. Then during the bright time of day there was a lot of noise and shaking and our whole home was ripped away from above. Everywhere as I far as I could see was flat, all of the places I love to sit under gone. My babies were calling in fright, they couldn't be exposed like this. I thought that I was going to loose them.
That was two days ago and now we are somewhere else, taken there and the animals there have given us a nest and me food and they leave us alone. I don't know what is going to happen but I have to concentrate on my babies who are getting bigger every day.
#Day6- June 6th
Me and my brothers and sisters can still smell her in the nest but we can't find her. We had only known her for a few hours and then something happened and she ran away and she hasn't come back. Her smell is fading and we can't see or hear yet and we are so small and everything feels so big and me and my brothers and sisters are afraid and very very hungry.
We have cuddled up together to try and keep warm and everyone is hungry and feeling cold and scared. Our home is feeling very cold now and I miss my mum. I am scared.
Some humans I think they are called, have tried to look after us and have put us in a big shiny white nest that is warm and has soft things to snuggle in. But, we are just too small and only a few hours old and need our mothers milk.
Two of my brothers and sisters have all gone quiet and cold and still but tomorrow our mum will be found and brought to us, although we don't know that yet. She will be a little distant but she will start to let us feed.
#Day7- June 7th
So much to do collecting everything I need to make a home and finding time to make sure that I have enough weight to look after my little ones when they come.
Tonight I had a scare. I was out early looking for some food and busily collecting more materials to make our home as snug and safe as I can when a dog started bothering me. It just wouldn't leave me alone, barking, pouncing, nipping. I was terrified but luckily it hasn't hurt me but I do so hope that it doesn't bother my little ones when they start to grow up.
#Day8- June 8th Michael
We were so happy and now our eyes were open and we could see and hear everything too we were having a great time. My brothers and sisters loved to play, we would climb over each other and ruff and tumble and all try to get to mum first to get her attention.
Mum said that we would start to go out with her soon we were all so excited. But something happened and mum didn't come back. We waited and called for her too scared to leave the nest and mum had told us not to leave anyway, it wasn't safe to.
But I couldn't wait, I needed mum and I was getting so hungry. I went to see if I could find her and I couldn't. I walked further and further until I was lost and cold and hungry. I curled up and fell asleep in front of the big human houses. There was nothing to hide under so I fell asleep on the step.
The humans found me and now I am in another nest but on my own. It is warm and the humans there feed me and I am getting bigger and stronger. But I don't have my brothers and sisters or mum to snuggle into.
The humans feel and smell warm but strange. They are gentle with me like mum was and their strange feet feel soft when they hold me to feed me. It's a little scary but I'm getting used to it. Wonder where mum and my brothers and sisters are. Wish they were here.
#Day9- June 9th Heart
There are fields and big gardens that have lots of places to forage and find food and make nests. I have been looking around for somewhere to think about maybe making a family home and there are loads of places.
Tonight I was out and about searching for food and enjoying the nice evening when I saw something shiny and went to have a look. Then something terrible happened the cold shiny thing bit me and my front leg was trapped and l could feel it biting into me.
I pulled and pulled and eventually got my leg free and I tried to run off but my front leg wouldn't work properly and I can feel that it is wet and I see can inside it.
It is hard to walk and I can't dig to forage. I don't know what is going to happen now.
I over heard the humans in the place I have been taken talking about my leg. They are very concerned and have talked about a prickly thing that will make me very sleepy for a long long time, for ever they said. I'm not sure what they mean but I'm going to be OK I'm sure.
(In a couple of days I will find out that my leg can possibly be saved. Sadly in a couple of days I also abort my unborn hoglets in the rescue because of my injuries)
#Day10- June 10th Elva
The younger hedgehogs would call me a veteran and I know that I have done well. A lot of hedgehogs don't even get to be three years old, many don't even reach two! I have been lucky in visiting a garden where the humans put food and water out which I really appreciate.
I'm still going strong though but recently things have taken a turn for the worse and I today find myself away from my lovely garden habitat and in a hospital. I didn't even know such things existed or that I would ever need one.
I was sleeping under my favourite bush when I heard a noise and the ground shook. A thump. thump sound. It kept on coming closer & I could feel the ground being dug up and then I was hit with something on my nose. They didn't see me and now I have a cut above my eye, some of my spines are broken and my nose has swollen up and is misshapen. It is also getting difficult to eat.
I spent some time under a very bright white sun on a cold hard surface while another animal felt my nose checking it all over. I think it knows that something is wrong. I hope it can help.
(Sadly I will soon find out that my snout and pallet are badly fractured and I will sleep and not wake up again).
#Day11- June 11th Dale
I was asleep where I always sleep, in among the long grass under the shrubs. My home is cosy, dry and I feel safe there.
A few days ago I was fast asleep during the bright time when something disturbed me, a loud whizzing, whirring noise. I hoped that it would go away but it didn't, it kept coming closer and closer until I could hardly hear anything else... and then, the pain.
Something sliced into the back of my head and then the whizzing, whirring noise started to move away. Something felt terribly wrong.. Over the next few days I started to feel incredibly poorly and flies started to land on me, they flew around me and laid eggs on the back of my head where it feels strange. I think the back of my head smelled quite bad too. I felt wobbly and couldn't walk properly and I started to walk around during the bright time which is frightening. Some of the big two legged creatures saw me but went away and left me. I try to stay away from the two legged creatures but I needed help. A few days later I was hardly able to walk and it felt as though things were eating me alive. I can't remember well but I think I was outside in the bright light and that time some of the big creatures picked me up and took me to where I am now.
The creatures where I am now spent a long time washing the wriggling things out of where my head feels funny. I could feel something cool where it hurts and there was a different smell. They have also been jabbing me and I can feel something cold going inside me. For a while after this happens I don't feel quite so bad. They have also been helping me to eat, I've been to weak to try to eat. I felt really cold and very ill and collapsed yesterday even though I think the two legged creatures were trying to help. I thought that I was going to die. I can hazily remember being put into a large white clean humming nest that smelt strange.
Today I work up in the strange humming nest and I feel a little bit better, I can stand up and move around a little and I don't smell quite as bad. I could sit up while they fed me this morning. I even gave two legs a little nip this morning when I was being fed.. just to let him know!
#DAY12- June 12th Hobb
A few weeks ago I was up and about in the dark time visiting the same gardens that I always visit. I had visited a few gardens and had just gone into another one to forage when I realised that I could smell one of the animals that seem to like to make a home with the the two legs.
Normally they don't bother me and leave me alone. If they are around I stay still and if they come close to sniff at me I curl up into a tight ball and raise my spines. Most of these animals have a sniff and then go away.
This night this one started to paw me and then picked me up with its teeth.and started trying to bite me. Luckily my spines protected me from the worst of the bites and I think that the sniffing animal was hurt more than me.
I was picked up and taken to somewhere that smelled of a lot of hedgehogs. I had been bitten and after the shock of being pawed and snapped at passed I could feel the bites. I stayed in the strange hedgehog nest with lots of other hedgehogs that I could hear and smell but never saw, although I could just see the tip of another hedgehogs nose sticking out from its nest when the two legs carried me and changed my nest every night. I was there for what seemed like a long, long time. I counted at least thirty bright times during my stay.
Late last night I was shown a special home that has been provided for me in a garden but a different garden from where the snapper was, I can't smell him. I went out and explored this new area and foraged in a lot of new gardens. I returned to the new nest and have slept the bright time away feeling safe. I am so happy to be back where I can smell the grass and forage for the food I like. I can't wait for it to get dark!
#Day13- June 13th Puddle
I was foraging in the gardens I travel every night looking for food and places to rest up for a while and have a scratch (which I am extremely good at and can almost reach the middle of my back with my back leg!), when I wandered over to a pond for a look and a drink.
Somehow I slipped down into the pond. I wasn't too worried because I can swim quite well and just needed to find the slope to climb out. The problem was that there wasn't one, I searched and searched and scrambled and scrambled, but I couldn't get out. I was starting to feel very cold and tired and I was finding it harder to find the energy to keep afloat or awake.
Luckily then one of the two legs came along and picked me out of the pond. I thought that I was safe then but I was put in the sun on the lawn and left there. The sun did start to dry the wet but I needed a lot more help and being out in the sun made me even more scared, I can also get sun stoke in the sun and die. After a couple of hours I was picked up again and put under a bush where the two legs thought I should be.
I started to wander around as I didn't feel right, I was exhausted and disorientated. At some point a dog found me and I just couldn't think of what to do. I didn't ball. I was so confused and I was bitten on the nose, my ears and my back.
I was really scared now and disorientated and found that I had wandered back into the pond. I spent most of the bright time (when we normally sleep) struggling to stay afloat and I was found when the bright time was not so bright clinging to some plants in the pond.
This time I was taken to where I am now. A place that smells of lots of hedgehogs and with two, two legs that also smell slightly like hedgehogs as well as smelling like two legs do. I got jabbed last night but not like the dog bites and since I have been in a very warm nest and given food.
I didn't eat that much last night because everything has been so scary and strange, I have nearly drowned twice and been bitten all over by a dog. Hopefully I will start to feel a bit better soon.
#Day14- June 14th Name Unknown
On my 'patch', the area that I roamed every night I had a big area where lots of two legs grow food. Most of the places here were good to find the things I like to eat as the two legs don't use the things that kill insects.
Several nights ago I was foraging when I wandered into a net that they use to protect some of their food. Some of the nets weren't a problem as they were above my head or really tight. But this net was low and crumpled on the ground.
I tried to get out but as I did my spines got caught and the more I twisted around the more the net wrapped around me. I got frightened and tried harder and harder to get out and the more the net tightened. I was totally wrapped in it and when having a really good go at getting out I felt one of my back legs pull, I felt a pop and then I couldn't move it, it just dangled like it wasn't mine anymore.
I hoped that one of the two legs would come along, free me and get me help- but they didn't. I can't remember how long I was in there but the bright time came and went several times. I started to feel very hungry and weaker and weaker. Flies started to land on me and lay their eggs. As the bright times came and went the fly eggs started to hatch and I could feel the wriggly things all over me. They went into mouth and my eyes and in the cuts caused by the netting when I struggled.
I was finally found today and I have been taken to somewhere where two legs try to help hedgehogs that are in trouble, but I am too tired, too weak, too ill and too injured to stay awake anymore.
#Day15- June 15th Simon, Bill & Kate
Things are strange today.
I don't think that we have been around that long but me, my brother and sister have been very happy in our home with mum. She had made a lovely, cosy, safe home for us out of grass and leaves. It was close to where some, I think she called them two legs live but they are only around in what mum called the bright time and we weren't old enough to come out of our home anyway.
Mum did leave us for short times but she came back quickly so that she could keep us warm and because we get hungry very quickly.
This bright time something happened that scared our mum. We can't see or hear yet and won't be able to for a while but we felt like the leaves and grass that our home is made out of were gone and we felt colder. Mum went away and the grass and leaves came back down.
We snuggled into each other knowing that mum would be back soon... but she didn't come back. We waited for ages trying to be brave and stay quiet but it was scary and we were hungry and getting cold because we are too small to keep ourselves or each other warm so we started calling for her.
After a long while I think what mum called the two legs came and lifted us and most of our nest up and we went in something very noisy that grrrrrr'd and then we came here to a new nest. I think that if the two legs hadn't done that we would have died.
This nest makes a purrr sound and smells strange but it is warm and snuggly inside and we are feeling a bit warmer. We are hoping that we get some food soon!
We are hoping that we get to see mum again but I don't know if we ever will.
#DAY16- June 16th Fliss, Chip, Dale, Gadget & Zipper
It's hard tell tell exactly how long I have been here as I am not able to leave my present nest. As the light from the bright time does come into here I think there have been about thirty bright times.
All of this started when I was out foraging travelling through the same gardens as I do every night. I had come to and was looking around for food in the one garden where the two legs have a four legged waggy animal called a dog (I think). This particular waggy is often around and I could recognise its smell and I could smell it before I went into the garden. If it was around I just carried on foraging for food and if it came near I would stop and tuck my head down and it always went away.
This dark time it didn't. It started to pounce and snap and roll me. It managed to bite in between my spines and got me several times. I must have un-balled a little in pain as I found that it was biting one of my paws and that the bites really hurt.
The two legs saw what was happening and they picked me up and brought me to here, where I have been since. I have a home and fresh bedding everyday and food. It isn't like being in the wild but I think that these two legs have been making me better.
What the two legs didn't know was that I was just pregnant when they waggy got me. I gave the two legs a bit of a surprise here when a couple of days ago I gave birth to my beautiful, Chip, Dale, Gadget and Zipper. My little ones are doing well and although I try to stay away from two legs I do feel safe here so I am raising my children as I don't think that they will harm them. My little ones will need me for about forty bright times. I hope that the two legs know this.
#Day17- June 17th Damsel
Hedgehogs don't like the bright time and we don't come out in it. We don't feel safe, other animals can see us and a lot of our food is easier to find in the dark time. Even in the dark time we like to be under cover and when we have to cross a big open space we often do it really quickly unless we feel really safe there.
Yesterday I went out in the bright time. There are only three reasons that a hedgehog might come out in the bright time either the nest has been disturbed and then we will quickly find something to hide under, we are very poorly or injured or in my case we are pregnant. I came out earlier yesterday as the bright time at the moment lasts a really long time so I needed the extra time with the dark time so short to find leaves and grass to make my nest better and to get some extra food.
Some of the wierd spineless two legs spotted me and they picked me up and took me on a journey. When we got there some other two legs that smelled a bit like hedgehog checked me all over, making the weird sounds I think they talk to each other with. Then the first two legs took me back and let me go just as the dark time was starting.
Phew, I am glad that I am back here as I can get on with getting ready for my family. I am also glad that the two legs looked after me as well though because I know now that if I am in trouble they know what to do. That if I am out in daylight they should help me and I'd rather be helped if I'm out on daylight but found to be OK as I could have been in real trouble. I'm also happy that the two hedgehog smelling two legs could tell that I wasn't in trouble (I think they knew that I would be having little ones soon).
#Day18- June 18th Hercules
When I stop to take a drink in puddles or from bowls left out by the two legs I can see that I have pink bits on my nose and my feet which once were brown and the older I get the more of these pink bits there are.
Recently I started to feel quite poorly and it seemed to be coming from inside me. It wasn't like getting injured and I couldn't see what was wrong but I knew that something was wrong.
The bright time before this one I found myself feeling pretty unwell and I did something that we hedgehogs never do unless something is wrong- I came out in the bright time and after a while I curled up into a ball to sleep right outside one of the two legs nests.
I was found by the two legs and picked up in the air and taken on a journey. The two legs where I am now seemed to be very interested in my poo for some reason and after looking at it through a strange thing, they have started to give me something. I still don't feel right but the weird feeling inside feels a bit different now and I ate a whole bowl of food today that they seemed to know that I would like.
I'm not sure how many of the very long sleeps I have left but I hope I am back out there soon.
#Day19- June 19th Cybele
I did something that I have never done before, I went out in the bright when the strange hairless two legged animals are around. I see them sometimes at night but I stay close to the edges of things and I don't think that they see me.
I found myself out in the bright because something felt wrong and I didn't know what to do. I found myself wandering along a black river but this river was hard and massive growling bad smelling animals came past me very very quickly. I don't think that these strange animals saw me. I huddled close to the edge of the river and followed the little bank but the black hard river was very long and seemed to have no end.
One of the hairless creatures must have seen me and I found myself going up into the air and then when I unballed I found myself in one of their gardens, I think they call them.
I was now very scared, the black river creatures scared me, being out in the bright scared me and I started to move as quickly as I could around the garden.
What happened next you wouldn't believe. I was put inside of something and then it sounded like I was inside one of the big smelly growlers.
When I came out of the box I found myself here. It is a strange place but there seem to be other hedgehogs. I have been put into a nest and I have food and water. I don't feel right still but I have felt safe enough to have a dream time.
#Day20- June 20th Bilberry
It started quite a few dark times ago. I started to feel quite poorly in my tummy and after a few dark times I just didn't want to eat anymore. The less I ate, the more strange I felt until in the last bright time I wandered out into the bright.
I normally visit a load of gardens to forage but this time I went out and followed the black river I have heard other hedgehogs talks about. In the dark time the black river has creatures moving on it with very bright eyes but the eyes are so bright you can't see the animals. In the bright time the creatures are very strange and they growl at lot. I didn't care because I felt so poorly and I just wanted to find help. I'd heard that hedgehogs sometimes visit the black river and never come back. I hoped that it wasn't true or that those hedgehogs find and go somewhere brilliant, too good to come back.
After a while I couldn't carry on and I just laid down on the black river hoping that something good would happen. That's when the long animals picked me up and brought me here. Since then I have been in a very warm nest and given food and water but I just can't seem to get up and I have just been laid here only half aware of what is happening. I'm tired now and sleep seems good, so I'm going to sleep.