Before attending University, I also wrote a trilogy of stories, with my friend Poppy, the cat, about two baby hedgehogs called Itchee and Scratchee. The books were inspired by the hedgehogs that visit our garden on a nightly basis. We are lucky enough to see them from early spring through to the end of October or early November depending on the weather.
Four years ago we had two of the tiniest hoglets we had ever seen turn up on a freezing November night. We brought them inside and put them in a box with some cat food water and a blanket to keep them warm. Unfortunately, during the night, one of them died. The next day, however, another one arrived. We named them Itchee and Scratchee.
I then researched on the internet about how big they needed to be to survive the winter. Ideally they needed to weigh at least 750 grammes. We weighed Itchee and Scratchee on a kitchen scale and Itchee, the smallest one weighed only 110 grammes, whilst Scratchee weighed in at 230 grammes. There was no way that they would survive the winter outside so we decided to bring them into the house.
That evening we bought a rabbit hutch that we found on Gumtree from Tredegar in the next valley over. We cleaned it and put some straw in for bedding and placed it in our lounge next to the radiator. We also put some cat litter into the lid of an old shoe box, hoping that they would learn to use it. Fortunately, they were clever enough to do so. We fed them on wet cat food, crunchies and meal worms and a bowl of fresh water for them to drink. After a week they had doubled in size so we were obviously doing the right thing.
We kept blankets on top of the hutch which could be folded down to prevent them having too much daylight. My friend Poppy, her kitten, Mini-me and her brother Tyger then decided to sleep on top of the hutch.
One morning, when I looked in the hutch, there was a bright green lump of jelly in the litter tray. At first I thought it belonged to the boys, some sort of Alien Goo which they used to like playing with. I later found out it wasn’t, so I researched on the internet and found out it was a sign of intestinal worms. If left untreated, the hedgehogs could have died.
Once again, I returned to my computer and found a hedgehog hospital a few miles from our home, in Pontlanfraith. I rang them and they asked us to take them over as soon as possible. Itchee was infected but Scratchee needed treatment too because they had been caged together. After a series of antibiotic injections, they were kept in an incubator where they stayed until March. They were then released back into the wild.
Since then, our hedgehog population has thrived. We now have at least 15 seasonal visitors every night. They have their own plate of food which unfortunately the rats are partial to as well. We have seen a rat and a hedgehog sat side by side munching away many times. We have also gained a new black cat, Bagheera, Baghee for short, who is fascinated by our spiky friends. We are looking forward to the hedgehogs returning in the next fortnight. Last year the first ones were sighted on 16th March.
All the books are available on Amazon – take a look by clicking on the images.
Me and Poppy welcoming Itchee and Scratchee home.
Baby Hoglets, drawn by the children of Deri Primary School and Lorna Card’s grandchildren (Tir Y Berth), and their new friends, the Owlet triplets, drawn by myself.
One evening, a couple of years ago, during the summer, we had a surprise. We were sat in the lounge, the back door was open, and we heard a strange scratching noise underneath the table. Upon investigation this is what we saw…
A cheeky little hedgehog had made his/her way inside.