We found this hedgehog in our cattle grid at Lake Avenue House today, we had a few in our garden about 3 years ago but had not seen any since, glad to see they are still around. It took us a while to get him out as no one wanted to get too close to his sharp strong spines.My children thought he was very cute with his little nose/snout and once he started to move we were all surprised at how fast he could go. He headed straight for our hedge and within seconds he had disappeared
The Hedgehog or in Irish Gráinneog– Hedgehogs are about ten inches long and are known to most of us ,by the strong sharp spines, which cover its back. It gets its name because it looks like a small pig or hog and it is found in hedges. The spines, which are usually white at the base, are about three quarters of an inch long and can number as many as 16,000. They act as a defence against flash-eating animals and other enemies when they get into a fight. If they are attacked, the hedgehog rolls itself into a ball to protect it soft under parts. The spines which are really sharp strong hairs, are useful to the animal not only for protecting it self but also, as a cushion if the animal falls from a height The hedgehog has a snout (or nose), which it uses to scent the insects, worms, slugs, snails and frogs, and young birds, which are its food.
It also eats fruit, eggs and young birds. If it can find no other food, it may sometimes eat the flesh of the dead animals. While the hedgehog is common through Ireland it is a very shy creature, it is found mostly in hedgerows, wood and gardens wherever there are plenty of leaves to hide under and insects to eat It can often be heard, sniffing its way through dry leaves in search of to make a clicking noise as it eats an insect or slug. Up to seven young are born in nests of grass and moss. Theses nests are on the ground in well-sheltered places, hedgerows and woods. Although blind at birth, the young quickly learn to follow their mother in search of food. After three months they are fully-grown, there are usually two litters a year.
Like the bat, the hedgehog takes a long winter break. Before it settles in for the winter, it stores up fat in its body by eating greedily and chooses a cosy, frost free sleeping place under a tree stump, a layer of leaves or even underground.