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So my trail cam came yesterday, and I installed it that evening. So today I got a chance to see what was happening. Unfortunately I positioned the camera too upright and it cropped the bottom half of the subject – so none of the videos are worth posting, but it did reveal what’s going on.
I had 4 visits, 3 from a hedgehog and 1 from a cat. The hedgehog came at 10.50pm, midnight and about 4am. I think it is the same one each time and probably the same one as was using the nest box – it is obviously difficult to tell since I only caught the top half, and hedgehogs aren’t that easy to distinguish from each other. The food and water were both gone this morning.
So my best guess is this:
The hedgehog that I videoed in the nest box (see link above) was in later stages of pregnancy. After the second day of spasms, her evening foraging took her sufficiently far from my box and close to her other nest (my box had been occupied about 50% of the time prior to this, so its clear she had at least one other nest site) that she rested up there and gave birth there. This would explain the approx 14 day hiatus after she left my box and my food started to be eaten again, since she was feeding the hoglets and presumably far enough from my site that she couldn’t go very far from them until now.
If there are multiple hedgehogs, or if she wasn’t pregnant (or wasn’t a she) then how to explain the hiatus in feeding from my bowl and the continued vacancy at my hog house (2+ weeks) ?
If it’s correct, then I might expect hoglets on hunting trips with mum around the end of July and perhaps the box may be temporarily occupied by one of the hoglets (or mum again) once the family disperse.