This morning, my son and I were walking across this big grassy area near our house. Daylight Savings just happened here in Italy on March 26th (not on the 12th like the States), so we’re back to dark mornings for the time being. The only light was the overhead glow of a few street lamps on the grassy lawn. That’s when we saw this thing, a black shape creeping along the ground ahead of us. It was small – too small to be one of the feral cats that roam our area. And it was sniffing about in kind of a rodent-ish way. My first thought was one of revulsion. RAT.

But as we drew closer, the thing didn’t flee like a rat would’ve done. And I realized it was far too round to be a rat. Perhaps some sort of rapidly moving tortoise?

Then we saw the spines.

They weren’t long and threatening like a porcupine. These were short and thick like the teeth of a comb.

It was a wild hedgehog!

Apparently, hedgehogs live in the wild throughout many parts of Europe, including here in Italy. I had no idea. They don’t exist in the wild at all back in the States and I thought they only lived in the hedgerows of Great Brittan.

So now we have our very own resident hedgehog.

The very thought of it still fills me with delight. I was raised on the stories of Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tailor of Gloucester, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, and The Tale of Two Bad Mice. My favorite character was Mrs. Tiggy-winkle – the matronly hedgehog washerwoman. I’ve named our hedgehog Tiggy-winkle in her honor, leaving off the honorific as we didn’t get close and I wouldn’t want to assume.

I’m not sure if I’ll see Tiggy-winkle again. S/he managed to stay hidden for almost eight months before we first crossed paths, so who knows how commonplace our interactions may or may not become. I’m hoping for the former. And if I get really lucky, maybe I can get her to stop by for a spot of tea.

Published by Andrea

Writer and avid explorer of all things.

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