The first close encounter with a hedgehog that I remember vividly - except seeing them as roadkill :-( - was many years ago at our local zoo, the "Tierpark" in Göppingen. It was winter and I was mucking out the wallaby stable. Of course in the winter there is even more hay in there than during the summer to keep our little Bennetts warm. So I was there mucking along, sticking my fork into the pile of hay in the corner when the pile suddenly moved.
Of course you already know what it was, but I didn't. I have been jumped at by rats before and automatically jumped back. But instead of a rat I saw a hedgehog, quite a big fellow too. No wonder the wallabies had stayed in the front part of the stable!
We decided to make him a new nest somewhere where he wouldn't be disturbed all the time.
I can't be sure, but I like to think it was him who came back many years to spend winter at the zoo.
Then of course there was the little fellow that was brought up by Frieda, the good soul of the zoo for many, many years. When he (or she? I don't remember) was stronger, he broke out of his box every night and wreaked havoc in the kitchen. Such a small creature, but so full of energy. She must fed him well indeed!
In my sister's garden there also used to be hedgehogs every, now and then. They scared the cats sometimes when they started grunting loudly. Served the cats right, you don't disturb a couple in intimate moments, even if cats think they're allowed to intrude anywhere and anytime.
A very close encounter with a hedgehog was when we had to "rescue" one. My sister and my mother walked me home one night and there he was sitting in the middle of the street. Sis and I both have soft hearts and we were sure he was going to get himself run over. I didn't have gloves on me of course, but at last he was sitting in a garden next to the road (I was so glad nobody came out to ask what I was doing in their garden!), probably a little confused what had happened to him now.
Yesterday a dear Plurk friend who loves hedgehogs as well, wondered if I could make an ornament from wire. This was a challenge I could not resist.
I used gunmetal and ivory colored copper wire. The problem was that the ivory colored one is coated differently which means working with it is tougher. The wire also feels not as bendable as the gunmetal one. Listening to a concert of Max Raabe and his orchestra on TV helped to keep me relaxed enough to finish it.
Today I decided to try it in a different way and with bronze wire instead of the ivory one. The bronze wire also is not as smooth as my beloved copper wire and also I used smaller hooks, so it took somewhat longer, but in the end I was quite happy with the design. I think I was inspired by my Steiff hedgehogs.
I guess I'm not done experimenting yet. I need a good way to put ears and feet on there. And then there was the idea to make some farm animals .... hmm .......
Here you see them together in their little patch of (artificial) grass and flowers.