Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hedgehog habitat

Every night for the past week or more the dogs go all hysterical out in the yard during for their pre-bedtime (and sometime middle of the night, in Oli's case) bathroom break. Apparently my yard is prime hedgehog habitat. They don't know quite what to make of the funny little creatures, but the general rule of thumb seems to be: when in doubt, surround the intruder and go into a barking frenzy.

Fortunately, so far neither dog has done this.

(Yes, that's an Australian shepherd--two actually. You can read more about them, and the hedgehog, and sheep, here.)

And since we're on the subject of wildlife habitat, I can report after a late afternoon stint of sawing wood that my woodpile is--or was--home to scorpions and spiders. Haven't encountered any snakes yet, but I often see specimens of Anguis fragilis when I'm mowing.

Update: After signing out of webmail and getting ready to shut down for the night, I scanned the headlines at and stumbled across this little news item from Serbia. For the benefit of non-Slovene speakers, here's a rough translation of the lede:

In Serbia, impotence treated with a hedgehog

Kragujevac - A 30-year-old man from the environs of Kragujevec, Serbia, has barely survived massive hemorrhaging from his penis after a local healer encouraged him to have sexual intercourse with a hedgehog.

I hope the hedgehog is all right.


Blogger sgazzetti said...

Somehow I'm doubting the hedgehog is "all right".

8:39 AM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger ka-ma said...

I used to have a German shepherd that brought home a hedgehog every evening for the whole summer. Somehow he managed to hold it in his mouth without getting injured. We mercifully released the spiky guy a bit away from the house, but the next evening it was the same story all over again. After a week or so, we also discovered that it was in all probability the same hedgehog! It was like he was waiting at the same spot every evening to be picked up by the dog. Talk about friendship! And we are still wandering who was the smart one and who the dumb one!

9:50 AM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger Jean said...

sgazetti: the article doesn't say, but I also doubt the hedgehog survived. Sexual abuse of animals by humans is, unfortunately, no joke. (Along with multiple other forms of abuse.) New Scientist had an article on it about a month ago:

My sympathies lie entirely with the hedgehog in this case, not the idiot who did the abuse. I hope the "healer" who put him up to it is also prosecuted.

ka-ma: weird dog! I'm glad neither animal was hurt. I think the worst that can happen to the dog is picking up ticks and fleas from the hedgie. Not so with porcupines, whose quills detach--I had a dog who tangled with one, had to have emergency surgery to remove the quills from mouth and throat--a friend of mine's lab tried to eat an already dead porcupine, and ran up several thousand dollars worth of vet bills--large sections of his intestine were perforated and had to be removed, along with hundreds of quills from the tongue, mouth, throat...ouch.

1:28 PM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger ka-ma said...

Ufff, after reading this, I can't tell you how glad I am there are no porcupines in Slovenia! Because I am pretty sure my dog would have tried to pick one up!

12:54 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I was fascinated by this phrase in the article you cited:

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London, says it urges vets who suspect abuse to report it, "even if this may mean breaking client confidentiality

I didn't know vets were bound by confidentiality! My patients sign confidentiality waivers if I need to talk to someone about them. I wonder if a paw or hoof print could legally suffice instead?

2:01 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Jean said...

"I wonder if a paw or hoof print could legally suffice instead" :)

I'm pretty sure the client in this case is the one who pays the bills, i.e. the "owner" of the animal.

10:35 AM, September 17, 2006  

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