As we walk down the road, we hear a very loud animal-like shrieking sound.
Maybe a distressed rat or bird.
We walk past an industrial building and in the car-park spot one balled up hoglet, and another frantic juvenile hedgehog running alongside the curb screaming repeatedly.
I want to scoop them both up and take them home. How did two hoglets end up abandoned in a carpark? Where is their mother?
We watch the distressed baby hedgehog for a few more minutes, before my beer-comrades convince me to let them be. “Let nature take its course”, “If they’re out during the day, they’re usually sick”, they say. I suspect they are biased by the promise of beer, but nonetheless I reluctantly decide they are probably right. We leave the hoglets, and I make a mental note to check up on them afterwards.
A pint of beer later we’re heading back home and promptly head past the carpark of hog-distress. There’s a new development. One of the hoglets is gone, but the other is still active by the curb.
I still want to take him home.
Suddenly, we hear rustling. Above the curb there is the standard 1/2 metre strip of industrial shrubs, and one of them seems to be emanating a lot of noise.
I peer behind the shrub, and see an entire hedgehog family. The mystery is solved.
Two of the adolescent hedgehogs had obviously decided to sneak out at day for a bit of a party, only to discover that it really wasn’t that interesting, and that it was rather difficult to climb back up the curb to return home.
Since it’s already 7pm, we decide to let the remaining youngster be for now. His mother will be able to sort him out when she rouses in another couple of hours.
After dinner we wander back to check up on the delinquent. Again, we are greeted by the shrieking hoglet still frantically running up and down the curb.
Any minute now he’ll be busted and in big trouble by Mommy when she awakens.
We make him a ramp out of Beau’s jandals to help him climb the curb. Unfortunately, like with so many adolescents, he proves to not possess much common sense, and we need to give him a bit of gentle encouragement to help him out of the badlands and back into his familiar home turf.
Once dispatched into the garden, he quickly disappears into the shrub. A lot of shrieking and rustling ensues. Mommy promptly leaves the nest to greet him. He really is in big trouble.
But, like any good mother she still nurtures and feeds him, as he seems famished from his late day adventure.
Nonetheless, Mommy hog does not look happy. (Although that might also be because we stuck a camera into her personal space while she was having a private moment with her baby.)
Hopefully, our delinquent hoglet has learned his lesson, and won’t sneak out of the nest again any time soon.
See the full drama unfold here.