Do you have any idea what this might be?

Let me give you a hint: it’s a live! And it’s awfully cute. Although it’s prickly. It speaks French. And it eats ANYthing! Absolutely ANYthing. Oh, and it smells! It smells worse than any other creature!

Can you guess what it is? Shall I tell you?

Well, allright then. Because the story is too marvellous to hold silent.

Today a week ago, my parents were on a French camp site when suddenly they heard a noise outside the tent. As if some creature was in a plastic bin. My mother urged my father (how heroic of her, aye? LOL) to see what was in the bag. But it was dark and my father careful, to put it diplomatically. So, he pricked the bag a bit…punched it a bit…and when my mom told him to kick it a bit to drive the creature out, he did. (Oh, boy…what did they think was in it that deserved a punch?) But nothing came out (if he had hit anything, how did they expect it to walk out after a kick anyway?). So, then my father threw the bag into the back of the car and later into the containers. Bag gone.

Then they drove home in two days. And when they were home, my father cleaned the car, inside and out. He vacumed and polished and when the car shone all beautifully, he drove it to us. Since my parents were staying the night, my father went out around midnight to get their bags from the car. And before we knew it, he came darting back into the house. “Come see! Come! Come see what’s in the car!”

Since they’d just told us about the bag-incident, we were expecting something with four legs and fur. The four legs were correct. The fur…well, maybe you can call them prickles fur…but a rather stingy fur…

There it was, a really cute hedgehog. Sitting on top of my mother’s bag! It had hidden somewhere in the car and had been there for four days and four nights without water or food. In a HOT, HOT car (’cause it was parked in the blazing sun for four days!). So we worried terribly for its health. We took it out of the car (and it pricked me, ouch!) and put it into a cage so that we could feed it and let it rest. Which it did, for after a huge drink it slept like it never slept before:

Do you see that cute little nose? That’s why we called him or her Cyrano!

In the Netherlands hedgehogs are protected animals and if you’re not licensed to take care of them, keeping them is illegal. But, since we were going to the Efteling really early the next day, we had no other option than to keep it for at least a day and two nights. We checked the internet for food advice and gave it peanuts and water. The next day we went to the supermarket really early and bought it cat food. It ate half a can in one day!

Yesterday I called a hedgehog shelter and I was told we’d done very well. They wanted to see it, so in the evening we took it to Nijmegen so that the little hog could be checked out to see if it was all right and if it could be set free again, somewhere in the woods. Well, Cyrano was doing awesome! Our care had brought her back up to par! They’d keep her for a night for observation, but if she was as good as they thought, they’d set her free this evening.

It felt good for our Karma, to help Cyrano. And it was so interesting to have such a lovely animal so close. We learned a lot from it. That hedgehogs smell beyond belief, for example. You can absolutely NOT keep them as pets. My husband forgot to take the cage we’d transported the animal in out of the car yesterday evening. You don’t want to know what smell has penetrated every porous element of our car!!! It’s horrible! I had a good laugh over it, but my husband is having nightmarish visions of him driving around in a suit for his job, smelling like hedgehog dung! hehehehe (sorry, I should probably not laugh about it…but can’t help it! It’s so silly! In Dutch there’s a saying: “Stank for Dank”, which means “Stink for Thanks”…meaning you don’t get any thanks, but a negative response in return. In this case the hedgehog couldn’t really help it, but the smell canNOT be interpreted as someting positive, honest!

Oh, before I forget…our French illegal immigrant Cyrano, awake and well: