We have quite a few animals in the site garden. Mostly cats, not pets but strays. People in the site leave out food for them but they are still a sad, scrawny, unspeyed bunch that continue to reproduce and increase the sad scrawny stray population. Unfortunately there was one pedigree cat among them, which I am ashamed to say belonged to a nephew before he decided he couldn’t care for it and dumped it in the garden here. I haven’t seen that one this year. A pedigree British blue was never bred to be a stray and, taken from it’s mum as a kitten, could never be taught the survival skills needed that the stray kittens are taught here.
We don’t have dogs in the garden, thank goodness. There are dogs about that seem to roam in packs and bark incessantly at 3am. I’m not a dog person but I really fear stray dogs here as they do hang around in packs and can become quite territorial and aggressive.
This year though we discovered the garden also has a tortoise. We’ve only seen it once, much to the delight of the boys who have two as pets back home. Coming here as often and for as long as we do means that pets aren’t really practical. Having to find someone to take care of them while we are away can be a bind for the people we ask. Tortoises though are fairly easy to look after so even mum is fairly happy to have them dumped on her.
Here they are, our pets and a plastic cheese grater.
Anyway, back to the garden. Last week, my boys and I discovered something even more exciting than the resident tortoise. On our way to a night swim they pointed out something shuffling about in the garden. It turned out to be a hedgehog. The younger two had already seen a real hedgehog at school, when someone brought one in, along with eggs with chicks about to hatch and caterpillars in chrysalises mutating into butterflies as part of their spring educational stuff. They had never seen one in the wild though, and I had never seen one at all–that I can remember. So we all crept over and said hello, freaking the poor thing out so it froze, but didn’t curl up into a ball.
The Turkish word for hedgehog is Kirpi. The boys didn’t know that for some reason so I told them. Lai lai was particularly excited and kept talking about the kirpi. Except, he spoke so fast that I misheard him. The boys fell about laughing when I turned to Lai lai and said ‘it’s a kirpi not a kepekli pig.’
Kepekli in Turkish roughly translates as bran. Pig, well that’s obviously English. But now it’s stuck.
We don’t have a hedgehog, we have a kepekli pig in the garden.