Glimpses of Hedgehog Life

by Unknown

A boy who was on a visit to the country once said to me, 'I do so want to find a hedgehog; please tell me where to look for one.' All I could reply was, 'It is not very easy to find a hedgehog. The likeliest place to pop upon one is near some hedgerow; you know he is called hedgehog, or hedgepig. But he much prefers darkness to light, and takes excursions after sunset.'

It may be remarked that hedgehogs must be somewhere in the daytime; this is true, but the difficulty is to discover their hiding-place, which is usually a hole or a thick clump of herbage. A search in the dark with a lantern has been tried, and has been successful, but not often; still, those who know how, manage to secure these animals, for they are to be bought in the London streets. People buy them to keep indoors, as killers of blackbeetles, or perhaps they are turned out to destroy garden insects. Somebody who has had them in his garden remarks that it is no easy task to find them, even though you know every corner, for they have such artful ways.

"Piggy lifted the heavy lid to feed upon the cheese,"

"Piggy lifted the heavy lid to feed upon the cheese,"

There are some people who think hedgehogs may do harm amongst garden plants, turning up roots occasionally in their hunts after insects, perhaps even nibbling young shoots; and this is quite possible. Piggy is of a greedy nature, certainly, and if he has the range of a kitchen swarming with blackbeetles, he will feed on them until he makes himself ill. Odd, too, are the noises he produces when he is 'on the warpath.' The sounds come partly from himself, but also partly from things he clatters against during his wanderings. One night, a gentleman who had a hedgehog heard a very peculiar noise in his kitchen; he went to see what it was, and found that the animal had stormed a cheese-dish. It had lifted the heavy lid to feast upon the cheese inside, making the cover rattle on the edge of the dish. We should not, perhaps, fancy a hedgehog capable of gymnastic feats, but it is an animal with rather a liking for a wall-climb, and has been known to mount one that was nine feet high, aided by creepers on the wall. Another has been noticed to climb an ordinary wall, laying hold of little projections. Upon a search for a missing hedgehog, he was found at the bottom of the stairs, having made a nest under the stair-carpet. Another time, the same hedgehog travelled up to a bedroom, and kept still all day; some one went to bed early, but woke suddenly on hearing a noise, and, jumping out of bed, stepped on the animal's back. In a home, Piggy usually becomes amiable, and will shut up his spines to be stroked.