Hedgehogs, Chooks, Nature, Gardening and other ramblings...
When we open ourselves to the natural world, we escape the fast-paced bustle of our daily lives. That experience, not only reduces our stress, it also grounds us, reaffirming our connection to the Earth and all its creatures.
:: I sit and drink tea in the mornings, and come out at dusk to listen as the world tucks itself in for the night :: (See MyBookshelf right at the bottom)
Just before Winter in March 2008, Golden Girl and Sethlong had 6 babies, first pink and wrinkly with soft little spines, but soon perfect little replicas of their parents.
Unfortunately, soon after they were weaned, their mother, Golden Girl, died. I found her dead early one morning under some grass and all the babies wandering aimlessly around. I couldn't find any cause of why she had died, no apparent injuries, and up until that time she had seemed perfectly healthy.
Sethlong exploring the new area
I gathered all the babies and Sethlong, the father, and moved them to a new enclosure in my bathroom court yard so that I can keep a closer eye on them. An amazing thing happened, quite contrary to Hedgehog behaviour - Sethlong seemed to take over the care of the youngsters. They would follow him all around the garden and at night I would find all 7 of them huddled together in the same box.
One of the new nesting boxes - the photos were taken at night, so I'm sorry about the quality....
It was quite a business, having to put out 7 food bowls every night, and never being sure whether Sethlong was eating the bulk of the food and whether the babies were getting enough or not.
One evening, I found Sethlong kicking out all the grass out of one of the nest boxes - couldn't figure out a reason, unless he wanted to make a new place for himself...
Sethlong threw most of the grass out of one of the nest boxes ... wonder why?
When the babies were about 12 weeks old, I took them all to our local game reserve (Krugersdorp Game Reserve), where they have a huge 4ha aviary and where I felt they would have enough space to ramble to their hearts content and also be safe from predators and the raging veld fires we experience here in South Africa every Winter.
These fires, besides being necessary for the natural evolution of things, cause massive loss of life amongst small mammals, reptiles and birds every year. Many tortoises, hedgehogs and ground nesting birds fall victim to this phenomena. But on a good note, after the fires have either been extinguished or burnt themselves out, you will see big flocks of egrets, herons and storks foraging around for crispy insects.