Country diary: I listen for the rapid snort-wheeze of the hedgehogs

Country diary: I listen for the rapid snort-wheeze of the hedgehogs

Stamford, Lincolnshire: Although their numbers are plummeting around the country, we are blessed to have a few on our tiny patch

I went outside to watch for bats and ended up looking at the stars. With the sky lacking the deep black of winter, midsummer isn’t usually the best time for astronomy. Regardless, the distraction didn’t last long.

It’s unnerving at first, embarrassingly so. A rapid snort-wheeze, like something struggling for breath, from my left. Loud, and getting louder, in that disquieting signature of approach. I’m not looking at the sky any more, but wide-eyed at the ground, searching for sight of the sound. It feels like it should be upon me before I even see it in the gloom.

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