Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sleeping in the hedgerow

Some weeks ago at work I had a deputation of two teacher and two small children with a box containing a very weak young hedgehog they'd found in the middle of the playing field. It had no obvious injuries but was very cold and very small, so I took it in to start its care by warming it. At close of play that evening I took it home with me to continue the intensive care with hot water bottles (covered to avoid piercing!) and rehydrating fluid. As it warmed it became more active, and after a few hours was swallowing the warm fluid thirstily. It was left overnight with warmth, special invalid food and drink. When I went down in the morning I opened the box, the patient took a few paces then promptly died, which was very disappointing.

A few days ago during the bitterly cold spell there was a ring on the doorbell, and outside was my neighbour with her small daughter earnestly clutching a cardboard box. Inside was another small hedgehog they'd found and brought for me to look after. Unfortunately even warming this one up would have done no good, for it was totally frozen solid and as stiff as a board. It felt a little strange to be given a corpse.