Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Unexpected Guest

Soon after arriving in England and finding this wonderful house I began researching the wildlife I could possibly encounter while performing my vocation. Walking around woods and fields in the wee hours of the morning trying to find the perfect angle and lighting means you can run into some interesting creatures. Alaska was full of adventure from large mammals, most notably bears and moose. The Azores had the elusive least weasel to try and find (which I did). England has a selection of deer (have seen both the red and muntjack varieties), the fox and badger (not seen... yet) and lest I forget: the hedgehog.

Despite being covered in 6,000 hard spiked spines, the hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) doesn't top my list of creatures to be feared while "in the wild" much to the disbelief of some of the Boy Scouts I work with. While camping on Terceira Island in the Azores, Portugal I had one crawl inside my tent and wake me while sniffing around the opening of my sleeping bag. When I realized what it was, I went back to sleep and lived to tell the tale the next day.

This guy was almost flattened by my van as I pulled out of the driveway. Luckily he survived and later in the day I was able to photograph him (or her) whilst rummaging through the flowering hyacinths for bugs and slugs. He's welcome in our yard anytime and quiet honestly would love for a group of them to move in, as long as they sleep in a place where I wouldn't accidentally run over one with the mower.



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