Today Toby had an inset day from school and so I spent most of the day in the garden with him. Just before lunchtime as I was pegging out some washing a movement on the lawn caught my eye and sauntering towards me was a very small baby hedgehog. Of course being a seasoned blogger I dropped the pegs and ran for my camera but when I dashed back outside I couldn't see him. Hedgehogs are quite noisy creatures though, so it wasn't hard to track him down
Now I know from all of my research when we rescued Herbert Hogwart last year that hedgehogs only come out in the day under extreme circumstances (illness, hunger etc) so I knew something was wrong. I grabbed my gardening gloves and an old crate and got him settled in the garage with some water and mashed kitten food. The plan was to keep him safe until dark and let him go again.
But an hour or so later there was more rustling from the flowerbed and I discovered he wasn't an only hoglet - there were another 2 emerging from the hedgehog house. So are these the offspring of Herbert Hogwart? Well, your guess is as good as mine but they certainly could be. And is this proof that Herbert was in fact Sherbert? Well, the evidence looks that way!
I fed them all and watched them snuffle around in the undergrowth.
Then, one by one they made their way back to bed. A couple of hours later I gently lifted the lid on the house and they were curled up together fast asleep.
There may not be a happy ending though. They shouldn't have been out in the day and there was no sign of a mummy hedgehog (what has happened to Herbert/Sherbert?) . I phoned the Hedgehog Preservation Society who are so helpful with advice and the plan of action is to leave the babies, put down food after dark tonight, watch them tomorrow and if they come out in the day time I'll be taking on surrogate mum duties again - housing them in the garage in an old rabbit run and fattening them them up to around 400gms before setting them free again!
There are a few more photos over on flickr.