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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER JAN EDWARDS: The Strange Case of the Weardale WereHog

We have been in contact with Jan for ages, and it is with great pleasure that we welcome her aboard, not only as a guest blogger, but as a Co. Durham representative for the CFZ. With Davy Curtis already at the helm in the country, the two of them will make a dream team par excellence...

Not exactly a crypto-beast, but close.

She was tiny – when I first saw her she could be cupped in the palm of your hand... if you ever dared. You see, although she was only a baby, she had nerves of steel and a huge chip on her shoulder.

We called her Rosy, in the hope that having a pretty name would calm the beast within. Some hope! Within the first 24 hours she had sunk her teeth into so many hands that she was greatly feared... so muggings here was delegated as her primary carer; to be approached with the greatest of caution.
Thankfully she did not need bottle feeding. Being THAT up-close-and-personal with her would have been more than even I could cope with. You see, even though I had cared for everything from weasels to raging bulls, this tiny baby hedgehog was scary.
She would launch herself from where ever in the hutch she was rooting about in – sinking her tiny needle-teeth deep into any protruding finger she came across, growling ferociously.
She was an Autumn Orphan... a baby hedgehog who was born too late in the year and who needed help to make it through the winter. We get several every autumn, and generally, all it takes is a square meal a day, somewhere warm to sleep... and somewhere warm to be released in the springtime. Generally, hedgehogs in care only need a dish of food once a day and their cage kept clean. They try not to interact with humans – indeed they generally curl up and refuse to move till they know it is safe. In the past 10 years, I have cared for over 300 hedgehogs.... however, no other hedgehog has acted like this one.
In the fullness of time, Rosy grew from being a one-palm hedgehog to being a two-hand-big hedgehog, and on a warm April night I had the pleasure of watching her wander off into the darkness of her first night of freedom.
The next morning, a scene of devastation met the eyes of a local farmer. 2 of his sheep were found dead on the hillside, close to where the hedgehog was released.... Was this the Curse of the Weardale Werehog?

Jan Edwards, Head of Animal Care
Farplace Animal Rescue - the no-kill animal sanctuary
Farplace, Sidehead, Westgate, County Durham, DL13 1LE
tel: 01388 517397 mobile 07860 523434
Registered Charity number 1126812
Registered Company number 4397258

1 comment:

G L Wilson said...

Hi,

We've got something weird living in our composter at the end of the garden. It's burrowed in from under the next-door neighbour's shed, and has been eating some of the scraps that we put inside the composter. I mean, carrots don't liquify, decay and break down into compost overnight. Something had eaten them.

We had thought it might be rats, but we've never had a rat problem in the neighbourhood, and there are plenty of cats around to keep them at bay.

It occured to me that it might be a hedgehog or hedgehogs. I've read that hedgehogs make nests in compost heaps when they hibernate, but do hedgehog burrow? Do they, for that matter, eat carrots?

We do have a lot of hedgehog visitors during the year in our garden (when they are not hibernating in the winter, that is). We put food out for them nightly - mealworms seem to be their favourite. I've counted quite a few different individuals - you can tell they are different because the sizes vary.

So, it makes sense to me that some of our hedgehog visitors might have decided to kip here in our composter for the winter.

I'm not sure what we're going to do when we want to get the compost out of the compost. Hopefully they won't be living in there after they come out from hibernation. Perhaps if I get them a hedgehog house and put it nearby to the composter, under the hedge, they might use that instead?