As we mourn the passing of the hedgehog into rarity, we should read John Clare’s poem, ‘The Hedgehog’. (1793-1864)

The hedgehog hides beneath the rotten hedge /And makes a great round nest of grass and sedge, /Or in a bush or in a hollow tree;/And many often stoop and say they see/ Him roll and fill his prickles full of crabs/ And creep away; and where the magpie dabs /His wing at muddy dyke, in aged root/ He makes a nest and fills it full of fruit,/On the hedge bottom hunts for crabs and sloes/ And whistles like a cricket as he goes. /It rolls up like a ball or shapeless hog/ When gipsies hunt it with their noisy dog;/I’ve seen it in their camps – they call it sweet,/Though black and bitter and unsavoury meat.