Too prickly to be a pet
Can a hedgehog be kept as a pet?
Wild hedgehogs should not be kept as pets, but be regarded as welcome wild night-time visitors to the garden.
They can become used to the people who share the gardens they frequent and enjoy meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits to supplement their diet and some water to drink.
Ensure they can get into the garden by creating 13cm x 13cm (5in x 5in) square gaps in boundaries. Encourage your neighbours to do the same — hedgehogs travel around a mile a night and that’s a lot of gardens.
They have recently been added to the UK red list as vulnerable to extinction, so it’s vital we do everything we can to help them. Check carefully before mowing or strimming, and cover drains where hedgehogs can become trapped.
Move bonfire piles to a new site before lighting to ensure a hedgehog is not hiding within it, and check before turning a compost heap.
Add a sloping edge or half-submerged rocks to ponds and pools. Hedgehogs can swim, but drown if they can’t escape.
You can use our prickly friends as an excuse to do a bit less work in the garden by leaving an edge or corner to grow wild, offering shade and shelter for hogs as well as a bug buffet.
Stopping the use of poisons and pesticides in the garden is another plus. Hedgehogs may be harmed by ingesting poison. At the very least it destroys their food chain.
Store sports nets out of the way and make sure plant netting is a foot above ground level so hedgehogs don’t get entangled in it. A log pile offers natural food and shelter. Plans for building a hedgehog home in the garden in readiness for their hibernation can be found at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
Fay Vass, British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Ludlow, Shropshire.
QUESTION In which countries can you buy citizenship?
YoU can buy citizenship in 12 countries: Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Turkey, Jordan, Vanuatu and the Caribbean islands of St lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Granada and dominica.
A second passport offers various benefits such as more options for living, travelling, doing business, investing and, potentially, avoiding taxes.
Perhaps the most desirable second passport is that of Malta. This small EU member state of 500,000 people, spread over three islands, offers an EU passport with visa-free travel to 158 countries and uses English as a second language.
in 2013, following the euro debt crisis, the parliament instituted the Malta individual investor Programme. To obtain citizenship, an investor must contribute € 650,000 to the Maltese National development and Social Fund, invest €350,000 in property and buy €150,000 of government-approved bonds.
Additional payments of €25,000 are needed for spouses and children under 25; €50,000 for older children and parents.
in 2013, Cyprus’s offshore financial industry, its prime source of income, collapsed in a corruption scandal.
To raise money, it began offering citizenship for € 3 million of direct investment. Russian citizens, the biggest victims of the crash, were eligible for citizenship if they had lost more than €3 million.
Since then, the price of Cypriot citizenship has been cut significantly. Today, an investment of €2 million in property is required, plus a donation of €100,000 to the government’s research and development fund and €100,000 to the land development organisation.
Benefits include an EU passport with visa-free travel to 152 countries (six fewer than Malta because it is not part of the Schengen area). The Caribbean islands are cheaper, below £500,000, and confer tax benefits, but passports are less useful. A passport from Antigua and Barbuda allows visa-free travel to only 129 countries; St lucia, 123 countries; and Grenada, 122.
Jason Grew, Wolverhampton, W. Mids. QUESTION Why was the 1831 Jamaican slave uprising called the Baptist War?
JAMAiCAN plantation owners were strongly against missionaries preaching the Gospel to the island’s 300,000 slaves, who were not allowed to become members of the Church of England.
This opened the way for Nonconformist missionaries — Baptist, Wesleyan and Methodist — to teach slaves the Bible. The Baptists William Knibb, Thomas Burchell and James Phillipo were prominent abolitionists.
Samuel ‘daddy’ Sharpe was a house slave for a Montego Bay solicitor. He took the surname of his master in accordance with tradition and was a deacon at the local Baptist church.
Sharpe became convinced emancipation in Jamaica was being suppressed by the planters. He planned a non-violent withdrawal of labour over Christmas 1832.
Strikes were planned across the St James estates. But by the night of december 27, it had spilled into violence and the militia were out in force.
The lighting of a beacon at the highest point of the Kensington plantation started a rebellion of 60,000 slaves. Cane fields and great houses were set ablaze and 14 white people were killed. The militia responded with extreme force, shooting 1,000 slaves.
Within 11 days the rebellion was quashed. Magistrates handed down 300 execution orders during a six-week trial.
Just before Sharpe was hanged in the Montego Bay square that today bears his name, he said: ‘i would rather die upon yonder gallows than live in slavery.’ His owners were paid £16 in ‘compensation for their loss of property’.
While the rebellion is called the Baptist War due to its abolitionist roots, it is also referred to as Sam Sharpe’s War or the Christmas Uprising. Slavery was abolished in Jamaica two years later.
Mark K. Knott, Canterbury, Kent.
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