Last night I found myself escorting a hedgehog home. The wee chap was toddling along ahead of me between one of our two local pincer-mobile Tesco’s and the house. They really do kick their back legs out like the ones on the road safety advert. Every once in a while he’d register I was sort of following him, pause, sniff, rear up slightly as if getting ready to curl, then continue. I’ve never seen one curl up. I get the feeling it isn’t the dramatic, anime action that my imagination has painted.
At one point he tried, as you’d expect, to cross the road. Fortuitously communicative hand gestures from me slowed an oncoming car down, and we all had a silent giggle and gawp as he trotted over to the opposite kerb, failed to mount it. Later, as he hunted round for a lowering of said kerb, our mutual hedgehog managed to lose all four legs down the gaps in a drain. It looked as painful as it did comic.
He and I both turned onto P— Close; the nearest garden was just near enough for him, though, and he disappeared into a bush only slightly less prickly than he was. I wonder if that sort of thing passes for comfort in a hedgehog’s topsy-turvy, Fungus-the-Bogeyman aesthetic.