Hedgehog Happiness

For our July meeting we were pleased to have Liz Dams from the Shepreth Wildlife Conservation Charity and the Shepreth Hedgehog Hospital come and give us a talk all about adorable but endangered hedgehogs.

Liz Dams

Liz Dams speaking about the many dangers hedgehogs face and how the Shepreth Hedgehog Hospital tries to mitigate them.

We all went back and forth between squeeing for the cute stories and feeling sad for the many tales Liz told of hedgehogs that didn’t make it. Between cars, gardening tools, dehydration, and other dangers, we learned that the British hedgehog may disappear entirely in the next decade if we all don’t band together to do more to help it persevere.

Liz told us how to make our backyards more hedgehog friendly with tips like ensuring there are gaps at the bottom of fences between neighbours because hedgehogs need to visit as many as 12 average back gardens every night to get the food they need. She said if you want to help some you know are on your property, put out non-tipping, shallow dishes of water for them on hot days (ensuring the dish is something they won’t get stuck in!), and to put out non-fish-based cat food (do not put out bread and milk as folks used to be taught, since the milk badly upsets their tummies!). More tips are available at http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/leaflets/A-guide-to-helping-hedgehogs.pdf.

For those interested in having hedgehogs in their yards, Liz said the hospital is periodically in need of release spaces for hedgehogs that have been through the hospital. The hospital’s list is closed for the winter (as most of the ill/injured hedgehogs are not fit enough to survive hibernation at this point) but will reopen in the spring. Contact them through their website and they’ll send someone out to evaluate your space to see if it is a good fit for a pair of hedgehogs to be released there.

In the meantime, the hospital is having an open day and fundraiser on August 29 in conjunction with the Shepreth Wildlife Park. They’ve shared the draft of the day’s agenda:

draft of Hedgehog Day times

Please note that this is a draft only and particulars may change. Come to the event itself for an updated version.

Our member Kimberly brought hedgehog themed cookies and cakeballs to the meeting:

chocolate hedgehogs

3D Smarties-filled cookies on the left and chocolate-covered chocolate cake balls on the right.

Several members requested recipes and/or instructions on how to make them. The cakeballs were this BBC cake recipe (but with only 300g sugar and 95g cocoa) crumbled and mixed with chocolate ganache (equal parts by weight of dark chocolate and double cream), then covered with dark and white chocolate to make hedgehog-ish decorations as per this tutorial.

The cookies are this dark chocolate rolled cookie recipe made up as per these basic instructions with Smarties inside, then dipped first in white chocolate and then in dark. While the dark chocolate was still wet, dark chocolate sprinkles were applied, and the eyes and noses were piped on with more dark chocolate.

Mel with cookies

Mel with some yummies. Lucy advised her to “Just close your eyes and eat the face” which Kimberly says is the new slogan for her nefarious baking.

Liz asked Kimberly if she’d donate some of the cookies to the Hedgehog Day bake sale and she has agreed to do so, so if you liked the cookies and want more, come on out on the 29th to the Shepreth Wildlife Park and help support the hospital. A lot of our members were interested in going so hopefully we’ll see a lot of our friends out for a lovely day together!

Photos by Melanie Reed and Kimberly Chapman.

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