It’s no surprise that we have hedgehogs in our garden, and the good news is that I get to see them pretty close, as they like to come and eat the cat food I put out by the back door.

It used to be the tinned meaty stuff that our cats wouldn’t finish, but now we don’t have any cats of our own, I’m only catering for passing trade, so I get the biscuits because they keep better. The hedgehogs don’t seem to mind, and neither do the local stray cats.

I know that currently we have at least 3 hedgehogs who visit. A big one, a medium one and a tiny one. That’s about the limit of hedgehog’s age knowledge and it sounds like I’m in danger of slipping into a fairytale, so back to the story.

Yesterday afternoon we went in the garden about 2pm for day 3 of the annual hedge cut. Around 3pm I went to get us a drink only to discover the small hedgehog under the step of the boiler house looking pretty sorry for himself.

Where he’d come from I don’t know because he wasn’t there when we first went out. I offered him a drink and a few cat biscuits. I didn’t know what was wrong with him but wondered if he might be dehydrated. It was a very warm day, and judging by his size this could have been the first really hot day he’d ever seen, so I was hoping for heatstroke rather than anything more serious.

When I next checked on him he had eaten a biscuit and had a drink and even moved a few inches, but he was now lying with his head on the ground tilted to one side. Not a good look for a hedgehog.

This is how things continued for the next few hours, a little drink and a little walk, but no more biscuits. I did wonder if he was lame in some way but at one point I saw him move and all his legs appeared to be in working (or perhaps that should be walking) order.

By 8pm nothing much had changed. I was sat watching TV when I heard the unmistakable sound of a Magpie near the back door. Surely it couldn’t be attacking my poorly little hedgehog. I got outside just in time to see the magpie fly away and my little friend disappear into the undergrowth.

Is he OK? Will I ever see him again? Only time will tell.