Practice Speaking English While Caring For Hedgehogs
Although this weeks podcast talks about a cute hedgehog, AdeptEnglish is all about helping you to learn to speak English fluently. The idea is to make the English lessons as interesting while you learn. If you are in a hurry and want some immediate help, then we have a great article on the adeptenglish.com website here, which gives you great tips for learning to speak English.
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Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Thursday podcast and so it’s shorter and easier than our Monday podcast. But it’s here for the same reason – to help you improve your English language. Improve your understanding of spoken English and then you will be also better at speaking English.
Well, today, I’m just going to tell you about something which happened and which made me smile and which pleased me. There’s an animal in the UK which is wild. Wild means it’s naturally occurring. They’re out there, breeding and looking after themselves in the countryside. And the animal that I’m talking about today is called a ‘hedgehog’. Now perhaps say that word to yourself a few times. I know that it’s one that can be difficult to say, if English isn’t your first language. Hedgehog, Hedgehog.
So what are hedgehogs? Well, if I tell you that they have spines or spikes on their backs, they’re prickly and they curl up in a ball, to protect themselves when there is danger, then maybe you’ll know what I mean. (And if not, go to our website and look at the picture associated with this podcast!). And just to break down the word – a hedge means a group of bushes, a group of plants, woody plants and a [hedge]hog is another word for a pig. So the name hedgehog really means ‘a little pig who lives in the bushes’. Quite a good name I guess.
We are officially a hedgehog house as we have a hedgehog in our garden
Now hedgehogs live in some parts of the world and in other parts of the world, there are none at all. Apparently – I didn’t know this until I looked it up – hedgehogs can be found in the wild in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. But there are no hedgehogs in Australia, South Asia, or North and South America. None at all. What a shame, you’re missing out because they are funny little animals and very sweet.
In the UK though, hedgehogs have been in decline. That means fewer and fewer hedgehogs each year. Apparently in the 1950s, it was estimated that there were 36 million hedgehogs in the UK alone. And yet now there are estimated to be only 1.5 million. That’s a massive decline. But they’re quite difficult to count. They’re very good at hiding and they only come out at night and not at all in the winter. Also estimating is usually done by trying to work out how many hedgehogs live within a measured area. But it may be that rather like foxes, there are more hedgehogs in semi-rural areas where there are still lots of people and actually fewer hedgehogs in country areas, in rural areas. Semi-rural usually means there are a lot of gardens, whereas rural means fields, full countryside. Rural is another word which can be hard to pronounce.
We also found a hedgehog in daytime wandering around our garden
Well, there’s no worry about foxes. If you’re wondering what a fox is, F-O-X, they’re a bit like a wild dog, but orangey brown. They’re very common. Whenever I go out when it’s dark, I see foxes. But last week, I had a very pleasant surprise. I was walking to my car, going to pick up my daughter and it was dark.
As I walked round the side of the car, my foot hit something soft on the ground. I didn’t step on it, but I wondered ‘Ugh! What on earth is that?’. And when I went to look, I could see a very round, small ball on the floor. Realising what it probably was, I got into my car and reversed the car away with my headlights on. And then, by the time I looked, the little round ball had gone.
So I was certain then what it was that I’d nearly trodden on – a baby hedgehog! So hedgehogs are living in my area and they must be very happy because they’re breeding, they’re having babies! I have seen a couple of hedgehogs before.
We have patio doors, so windows which go down to the floor and I thought I saw a hedgehog run by, run past the window, when I was watching television a few weeks ago.
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We have no idea where do hedgehogs live in the garden, but we definitely have some
And then I also saw one in the dark one evening, walking along the street, walking along the pavement, as though it was in a hurry and it had somewhere important to go.
Now I realise this is a very small sample, but as I’ve lived in the same house for quite a number of years and I’ve never really seen many hedgehogs and then all of a sudden, there they are. Hopefully, this means that hedgehog numbers may be on the rise. I hope so!
Remember our discount code for this week is NUTS158! That’s if you would like to receive a 25% discount on our courses when you buy them. That code is available only to the first 25 people to use it – so hurry up, don’t miss out.
Anyway, enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
It warms the heart to know an endangered species like the UK hedgehog is making a comeback. Modern society is very much focused on social media or the digital world we live so much of our lives in which we often forget to see what is right in front of us in the real world.
Next time you listen to your AdeptEnglish podcast lesson, maybe on the way to work or while you are out walking, look around and see what animals you can see.
We have lots of other tips on learning to speak English here.
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