A Nighttime Guest
Hedgehogs have long spines. They are related to moles and shrews, over 100 million years primitive and like to dine between 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. And they snuffle.
Gary Snyder and his wife awoke hearing grunting, pig-like noises. They investigated and discovered two hedgehogs, well, courting. It fascinated Gary Snyder so much that he went outside, but the noisy things rolled up into two spiky balls.
He was able to pick them up carefully; pleasant surprise, they were not afraid of humans. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, but they actually see quite poorly at night. Instead, they use whiskers to feel around and rely on their long snouts to sniff out prey. Their sharp spines help hedgehogs feel safe and at home in the dark. There are 15 kinds of hedgehogs around the world, but they are primarily found in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.
Snyder took to them and decided to do his own research. He found out they know every inch of their territory, having patrolled it since their youth as little independent hoglets. They travel long distances from their safe places like under logs, leaf-litter and among rocks or burrows, where they can sometimes be seen throwing earth behind them in a frenzy with strong claws and hind limbs. With luck, these insectivores live to 12 years, but Snyder found out they were not surviving very well.