Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One of the World’s great questions answered….

I found the answer to one of the great unanswered questions of civilisation the other day – right in the middle of the A59, one of the busiest days in the country.

Is it "How did they build the pyramids"? No it is not.

Is it "Can I really turn base metals into gold"? No it is not.

Is it "Do they actually get any viewers to watch ‘Dance X’ on Saturday night TV?" No it is not.

No, no, the great question that can now be struck off the WGQ list is "Can you really get hold of a hedgehog with your bare hands without running the risk of a fistful of puncture wounds?

And the answer is – yes …. and no….

So I’m tootling along the A59, minding my own business when I see the little prickly fella wandering along the centre line.

One thing’s for certain – it will get run over, it will not see another prickly sunrise, it will die within the next minute unless I do the right thing.

I bumped the car up onto the pavement and got out. There was a lull in the traffic – and the guy behind me had sort of decided to straddle the highway in an attempt to block the route while I did my lifesaving best. I tippy-toed up behind the hedgehog, put my fingers underneath and lifted him up. He curled around my fingers with his soft underbelly. I reached the safety of the pavement and waved a wave of thanks to the bloke in the car behind me with my brand new prickly muffler

So what to do with the little fella then? I had to get him off my hands pretty quick. A likely spot was found, a nice woody hedge bordering the pavement – and a Victorian garden beyond. I wound myself up sort of like Fred Flintstone about to deliver one of his stone bowling balls. I bowled. There was a steep incline just beyond the hedge, he rolled all the way to the top, and then rolled all the way back again, straight past me and almost back into the road.

A deft bit of footwork saved the day – I thought about a bit of keepy-uppy but decided against it. I would have to lift him again - but this time without the luxury of getting my fingers into his soft underbelly.

I picked him up. Every single little pointy point stabbed into my hands – it was like handling a red hot bag of nails, without the bag.. I started to shift him from hand to hand – like he was a mega-hot giant jacket spud or something.

Where to put him? Anywhere, just somewhere quick….

I ran up the drive of the Victorian garden, full to the brim with 100 year-old trees. I reckoned this was where he came from. A startled lady, resplendent in a big flowery hat and a trowel in her gardening gloved hand looked up from her work in the flower-beds.

"This is yours, I think"

I gently placed ‘Hedgy’ under a bush and left.

And my hands? On the throb-o-meter around regulo 184 – and in my wildest dreams, who’d have thought that me, Mr Hetrosexual 1973 would be writing about having a load of hot pricks in my hot sweaty hands?….

29 comments:

Laura said...

Alfred, you are more than OK.;)

I rescued a turtle once, who was in the middle of the road (down in Florida). I too blocked traffic. I also wisely counseled the turtle not to try it again. Hopefully, he remained safe to see another day.

Red_Fred said...

Your friend 'Prickles' and his relatives, used to be called hedge-pigs. He does seem to have a piggy sort of attitude

David said...

You're a hero, well done. Saved someones tyres from certain puncture.

Anonymous said...

Well managed, you are a life saver, too many of them get squished. We either need slower cars, softer tyres or God could make their prickles harder..

krip said...

Well there goes the chance of another free meal down the drain.
Hedgehog pie. Mm..mm..mmmm
Did you know that pykies bake them rolled up in a clay ball. Apparently, when extracting baked hedgehog, all the spines stay in the clay.
I was going to say "I bet you felt a right prick", but that would be childish, wouldn't it?

William Gruff said...

Hecghogs are infested with fleas and other parasites.

Alfie said...

So is the House of Commons :-)

Paul of Suffolk said...

That last paragraph should ensure a few extra hits to your blog I suspect !

arnold said...

I quote " I thought about a bit of keepy-uppy" Until witnesses arrived
just after the soft under belly finger action you animal lover you.

Jay said...

Ah, but you see what you forgot is that hedgie's spines are modified fur. All you needed to do was stroke those pricks firmly in the right direction!

Hmm. This is going from bad to worse, isn't it?

William Gruff - most hedgehog parasites are apparently hedgehog specific, so they might bite you, but won't hang around to breed. So that's good, huh? Although they do sometimes get coccidiosis, which is not so good. Still, washing your hands before eating your lunchtime sandwiches should keep you safe enough.

scribble said...

I do love your story about the hodgeheg! I know exactly what you mean, having rescued quite a few over the years, that have been too small to hibernate (they need to be a min of 2lbs to get through winter). Warmer weather means they breed at the wrong time and often don't make the weight requirements. The exception to the pricklyness is when they are new born, they have 'milk spines' then and are soft!! P.S. New to your blog, really enjoy it!

Scribble said...

P.S. Just to be a real anorak on the subject and in response to William Gruf, yes, they do have fleas but they stay on the hog unless it is dying or dead, at which point they look for another host, which could of course be you, or me!

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