Hedgehogs in the Garden

Late the other night, I thought I heard the crunch of leaves underfoot in the garden. When security light came on, I was seriously concerned that we might have a burglar prowling around the house. When I steeled myself to look out the window, I couldn’t see anything. And then I noticed a tuft of grass weaving rather vigourously and a loud slurping and chomping noise, as if somebody was eating very enthusiastically with their mouth open. I was pretty sure that this wasn’t a burglar, or at least it would be one that was no taller than about 4 inches (so he really wouldn’t be a problem), so I went out to investigate.

It was a hedgehog! I was so surprised to find a hedgehog in our garden, as we haven’t seen one in at least 10 years. I remember hedgehogs being quite a common visitor to our garden when I was a child, but they inexplicably vanished from the garden completely when I was a teenager. And we haven’t seen them since. I was over the moon to find that they had returned to our garden just as suddenly as they had left it, as they are such a lovely and charming animal. They have such character, trundling around the garden looking food and then enthusiastically eating it with such glee that you don’t mind their bad manners. Did I mention that they eat slugs? How could you not like an animal in your garden that enjoys eating all those pesky slugs? And are they are so cute. Here’s one of our hedgehogs eating a sachet of cat food:

I have found the hedgehogs happily chomping on the leftover bird food that’s fallen from the bird table. They seem to particularly enjoy sunflower seeds and any leftover suet pellets that the birds have tossed aside. This little chap seemed so excited by the bird food that he started chirping. Who knew they chirped? How cute.

I have absolutely loved our prickly new visitors to the garden, and I really hope they stick around.

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