You may recall Horatio, Lord Nelson Hedgehog, as a rather grumpy, anti-social ball of quills.
Well, it turns out that you reach the heart of a hedgehog the same way you reach the heart of a man: through his stomach.
With men you usually have a wide variety of options when it comes to feeding. Generally you can find something they like in the meat/fish/poultry galaxy. If that fails, chocolate chip cookies are likely a winner.
Not so much with hedgehogs. If you look through the Internet, you will see that hedgehogs like insects, vegetables and certain fruits (particularly grapes). However, you should not feed your hedgehog too many fruit/vegetable treats, because it will keep him from eating his regular food. (Back to men and chocolate chip cookies)
It wasn’t an issue with the first hedgehog, Jean Luc. He refused to eat anything except his cat food. (I wonder who figured out that dry cat food is good for hedgehogs. Probably somebody who couldn’t afford Purina Hedgehog Chow.)
On the other hand, Horatio has been willing to try anything. One time. Finally my husband decided to try him on wax worms. (Of course, who works in a store that sells wax worms and has to buy them?)
Jackpot! Horatio loves wax worms. He perks right up when we get him out of the cage and sits by my husband’s feet to get fed. My husband gives him five every night, pulling each out of the sawdust as Horatio finishes the previous one.
It’s pretty strange. After the fifth one, Horatio walks away. It looks like he can count. I’m sure there’s some trigger, but I can’t tell what it is. Maybe he could win a lot of money on America’s Got Talent. I’ve never seen the show; do you have to be human to get on?
Once he’s done, he takes a walk around the living room then finds somewhere to take a nap. (He’s sounding more and more human male as I think about it.)
Kommando Kitty is not really excited about this new turn of events. She makes sure he’s within her eyesight. It may be that she’s protecting her own food. I know the cats are aware he gets a better brand than they do. (If hedgehogs don’t get the proper type of cat food, their digestive emissions are horrible. Will avoid another reference to human males.)
We have gotten used to this new routine. Probably too comfortable with it. One night I went to get him out of his cage. It was open and the gloves were nowhere to be found. (Yes we still need gloves to get him out. Sleepy hedgehogs are not happy hedgehogs.)
I asked whether someone had already gotten him. Then we realized that no one remembered putting him away the night before.
Oh no! He had escaped. Some sentinel that cat had turned out to be. We do not leave food or anything of that ilk laying around, but if it’s made of paper you’d think it was a member of the family. We live in an old farmhouse, so there are plenty of places to explore too.
He can still be pretty ornery, so we figured if we got too close he’d huff at us. Turned over everything in the front room. No luck. Looked everywhere in the rest of the first floor rooms. Apparently hedgehogs can also vanish into thin air.
When Jean Luc escaped (I accused my husband of losing him), he came out after we turned the lights off and it got to be quiet. I was laying on the sofa waiting for him and all ended well.
Not having bonded that closely with this one, I went to bed. Since I had to get up at 2:30a for work, I figured I could catch him then. No such luck. I left a note for my daughter that he was still missing and to watch out for him.
When I got home, she had left a note. Apparently Kommando Kitty went back into guard mode and found Horatio. He was down on the landing by the bag of charcoal. My daughter got him and put him back in his cage.
None of us can figure out how he would get down the three steps. Apparently he must have fallen down the first one, turned into a ball to protect himself, then bounced down the other two.
He was fine from the adventure. In retrospect, it’s pretty funny. I’m guessing he didn’t see it that way. Do hedgehogs have a sense of humor?
Next up is a bath. If you stop hearing from me, arrest the hedgehog.