Good morning from a very wet Malawi – We really do need webbed feet at the moment as it has rained continuously for over a week now. This is better than drought but all the grass and crops are looking rather yellow and waterlogged at the moment so we do need to see a little sun.
We have had no electricity for a week now as our transformer keeps blowing fuses and Escomm has to come and fix them only for them to blow the very next time we have a power cut which occurs a couple of times a day. Last nights repair was at 1 am and whilst Louise and I were traipsing through the mud and rain to shine torches for Escomm staff we passed though “hedgehog alley” so named as this is the favorite spot in the paddock for hedgehogs and we were delighted to see a Mum with her new brood of babies.
Over the years we have rescued numerous hedgehogs from busy roads and translocated them to the garden and paddocks around the house, with 35 acres of protected land and the college farm right next door where there are quite a few fallow fields and lovely areas of bush land it is an ideal relocation area for small creatures such as tortoises, hedgehogs, night apes, owls etc all of whom remain in the area and provide us with some lovely viewing moments on our wanders.
On our walks during the day we often come across all the little hedgehog tracks crisscrossing along the paths and see the mongoose family running between flower beds and bushes and the monitor lizard family popping into the pond for a swim. At night we see the hedge hogs, numerous scrub hares, owls that we have reared and released and on occasion duikers that come into the paddocks to graze in a safe area. Animals really are very adept at learning where they are safe and the smaller ones really do adapt pretty well to co-existing with humans. Roads and cars though really do pose a problem with tortoises and hedgehogs whose defense is to either curl up or retreat into their shells which really does not help against motor vehicles speeding along the roads which is why we try to remove them to safer areas whenever we come across them which does sometimes cause some serious delays on the road as you can find 9 or 10 on the road in a single trip back from town.
As a child I was very privileged to witness the birth of 3 little hedgehogs that were born pink with soft jelly like prickles but in under an hour they were grey and the prickles had hardened into prickles just like Mums. A lot of the African names for animals are very descriptive and I love the Chichewa name for a hedgehog which is Chisoni which translates into pity or compassion as when a hedgehog brings its prickles down over its face before curling up it looks as if it is mourning.