The last, but certainly not least of the Magnificent Mammal collection is the hedgehog. It is such an iconic British animal that its absence in the collection would have been noticeable—much like it is in reality: hedgehog numbers are down at least 25% over the past decade, and they’ve been plummeting for the past 30-40 years. Needing a decent-sized territory in which to roam, these little critters are finding it difficult to adjust to the increasing fragmentation of urban gardens. While this can be dealt with by ensuring that holes are made in fences, an increase in garden chemicals and road traffic are harder obstacles to work around.
A few years ago, I had a close encounter with a hedgehog that showed me how endearing they can be. It was a hot day in September and I was trimming the hedges between our house and the park when I spotted a dead hedgehog. I was saddened—this was my first encounter with one and it was deceased. I went to move it off the path and deeper in the bushes so it could rest in peace, out of the way of dogs and park visitors, when I discovered that it was actually still breathing. I grabbed a shoebox and some thick gardening gloves, and very carefully scooped it up and took it inside. The cooler temperatures revived it, and I could hear it scrabbling away in the box (and looking for an exit) as I rang up veterinarians and animal rescue places in the area. Fortunately I found someone willing to collect it on a Sunday afternoon. Before it went away to be fattened up over
the winter, I couldn’t resist a few photos and giving it a name: Lazarus.
Returning to the card collection, from a silhouette perspective their rather rotund shape makes hedgehogs rather tricky! And what to show as a landscape? In the end, I decided to go with the British countryside, with some eponymous hedgerows in the background. This particular photo was taken last May on a beautiful spring evening when we went to check out a recommended bluebell wood. The bluebells were spectacular, but we also got more than we bargained for with an absolutely charming pheasant.
Miss the details about the other animals in the Magnificent Mammals collection? Read them here:
And want to see even more photos from a Wiltshire wonderland? Check back on Thursday, or sign up to have MissElaineous Musings delivered directly to your inbox—subscribe in the sidebar.