by Hugh Warwick
I don\’t know if I\’ve ever read a book about hedgehogs before. They certainly sound like endearing, if slightly cranky, little creatures. The author obviously finds them very intriguing. His book tells about several studies he undertook to estimate hedgehog numbers on an island in the UK (to see if their predation of eggs was affecting bird populations) and another to find out if young hedgehogs cared for by people who found them ill or injured, had a good survival rate when returned to the wild. Interspersed are lots of personal accounts of encounters with hedgehogs, or people who care for them, rescue them, or even keep them as pets. It seems this is not a thing in Great Britian- but in America the numbers of people who kept pet hedgehogs was growing fast. After hearing in detail his visits to places where hedgehogs housed in large numbers for rehabilitation, I was rather curious what his impression of the pet hedgehogs would be. But it seems he only visited a hedgehog olympics event, and his description of that venue was rather disparaging I\’d say. It didn\’t really give me an idea of what it\’s like to have a pet hedgehog, though he criticized this practice consistently. On a different note- one chapter of the book is about his trip to China in search of Hemiechinus hughi– or Hugh\’s hedgehog- a rare species that had only been seen once or twice. I certainly learned quite a bit about hedgehogs, although I kept picturing the T.H. White\’s Urchin rather than Beatrix Potter\’s Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (frequently referenced here). I didn\’t know that hedgehogs and badgers compete for the same food source, or that hedgehogs are considered pests by some. The plucky fearlessness of these wild animals when encountering people endears them to many, and they are helpful to gardens it sounds like. Makes me kind of wish we had native hedgehogs instead of skunks, possums and raccoons… And of course, now I\’d like to read more about them, too.
Borrowed from the public library.
Rating: 3/5 279 pages, 2008
more opinions: A Striped Armchair