What's in a name for trust's hogs?
It was business as usual over Christmas and New Year as far as the animals in residence at the Rollo Centre were concerned.
Over the whole holiday period, people still came in, cleaned out their accommodation and gave them fresh bedding and food, perhaps wearing a jazzy jumper or party hat.
During the frantic social whirl, I noticed on my Facebook newsfeed that the RSPCA had posted the top 10 cat and dog names for 2016. Ben was the most popular dog name, while Bob topped the feline charts – as if cats ever take notice of their names anyway.
As the trust has been running a winter hedgehog sponsorship scheme, in which supporters give £30 to ‘adopt’ a hog and name it, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the names people have chosen and announce the trust’s top hog name for 2016.
Apologies to any sponsor who doesn’t see their chosen name among the ones I mention, I’ll just be giving examples of the types of names we’ve had.
According to the RSPCA, names for cats and dogs followed trends in baby names and popular culture, and there are certainly plenty of hog names that new parents might use for their children.
Among the female hogs we have a Betty and an Anne, while a couple of the males are called Henry and Charles.
As with the cat and dog owners, quite a few hog sponsors seem to have turned to popular culture for inspiration, with Preston and Wallace presumably being drawn from characters in the Nick Park animation The Wrong Trousers.
One sponsor has reached back into Greek mythology for their chosen hog name of Hercules.
Other sponsors have let their imaginations run free and created something of a character for their hedgehog.
Dave the Rave, for instance, sounds a bit of a party animal; I half expect to find some hog-sized empty lager cans when cleaning out his cage one day.
And Big Bad John sounds as if he has mates on the outside who are going to spring him from his ‘prison cell’ in the trust’s recovery room at some point.
One or two people have chosen simple, yet incredibly elegant names.
Cariad is a Welsh term of endearment meaning darling or sweetheart, while another beautiful hog name is Rainbow, which I think is my personal favourite.
Finally, there are the names specifically associated with hedgehogs, such as Tiggi and Tiggywinkle.
And it is this group which contains the trust’s most popular hedgehog name of 2016, which I can proudly announce is Spike. Two sponsors have given this name to their adopted hog so we now have Spike 1 and Spike 2.
You can see some of this winter’s hedgehogs in residence wishing their sponsors a Happy Hogmanay by typing Hogmanay Berwick into the You Tube search box.