Personal Update: The Blind Hedgehog

Last Sunday I returned home after being away for several weeks. The cats were very happy, Slabbe has been following me along everywhere to make sure I don’t disappear anywhere again for a while. As I write this post he’s sleeping on a chair next to me:

It’s been a busy week back home. Unpacking, putting everything back in order, taking stock of what new things need to be fixed around the house and in the gardens. There’s a lot to do when you’ve been away for a long time!

The chickens have been receiving feasts in the shape of leftovers and their favourite snacks (peas, corn and sunflower seeds) since it’s getting a bit cold and dark:

A true delicacy for chickens!

It’s not just the chickens who find the weather cold and dark, though. A few days ago there was a small, wobbly hedgehog walking around in the garden around mid-day. Hedgehogs are normally only out and about after dark here, so this was quite strange. As I approached it wasn’t afraid of me the way it should either, and I quickly realized the little fellow had lost both its eyes and gone completely blind.

Fortunately there’s a number you can call if you find a hedgehog in distress on this island – the hedgehog is actually somewhat of a national symbol for this region, and sadly they’re in decline. And so after a quick call we were instructed to take the poor thing to the home of a veterinarian specializing in hedgehog care.

Fortunately we had prepared a box to move chickens in a while back, so that came in handy now!

After half an hour drive we got to the vet, who could confirm both eyes were long gone and that it was a little girl, likely born too late in the year. It was way too small to survive outside in the cold, so she would send it to her friend who has a shelter for small hedgehogs and let it live there for a while. It’s uncertain whether it will ever make it on its own in the wild, so it may get to stay in the shelter and have a litter of hedgehogs there instead.

The little creature was truly a fighter – somehow, despite being born so late in the year and not having any eyes, she had survived long enough for the wounds where her eyes had been to heal completely, and despite her small size and the cold she was still quite energetic.

Now we’ll be on the lookout for any of its littermates (hopefully with intact eyes) that may need assistance in the cold winter to come. Sure is interesting being back home!

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