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A few questions and checking we are doing the right thing

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings A few questions and checking we are doing the right thing

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  • #11766

    jlc

    Recently realised we have Hedgehogs in the garden so have been leaving a plate with the ark hedgehog food in the front and back garden for the last 10 days. This has been eaten up every night so far, and we often see them eating from 9.30pm onwards. We have also build a hedgehog house in the front in a sheltered place near the food. Should we place some food in the house to encourage them, or just leave the food nearby? Also its great fun watching them, but is shining a light through the window to see them damaging for them (we do keep it as low as possible)?
    Also, we are intrigued by the number of them, at one point there were 2 feeding at the front and two feeding at the back at the same time. Is it usual for two adults to feed at the same time, or a adult and child at the same time? Anything we need to do for the small hedgehog it looks approx. half the size of the adult. Any tips or suggestions most welcome, or good book recommendations as would love to know more.
    Are they likely to hibernate in the house, or is it more likely in a hedge somewhere near. Thanks again.

    #11772

    Nic

    Hi jlc

    Welcome to the world of hedgehogs! So pleased to hear that you have had some visitors in your garden.

    Whether you leave food in your hog house or not, depends a bit on what you are hoping they will use it for. If you want them to nest in it, then probably best not to put the food in there. In fact, I would keep the food away from the house if it’s to be used for nesting, because it could attract predators. Having said that hedgehogs are on occasions quite happy to start building a nest in a house that has been used for food, as one did here last autumn.

    I would say the torch is not a good idea. They are protected by law, to some extent, and one of the things which is illegal is catching them by shining torches at them and dazzling them. So I would steer clear of the torch idea. I feed the hogs in the open very close to my house and I leave the outside light on whilst I am still up to watch them. (indoor light off in the room I am watching from) I have been doing this for years and they don’t seem to mind. I think lights going on and off (such as a security light) may be more of a problem for them, but if conditions are consistent it seems ok.

    It isn’t unusual to have two or more hedgehogs feeding together. They are normally solitary animals, but we are, in effect, changing their behaviour by encouraging them to congregate for food. Often if there is a male around, they will not tolerate another male and butt him until he rolls up. Females, although they will give the odd biff when annoyed, are usually more tolerant. It may be that you have a mother and young one and possibly the others may even be earlier hoglets. They are the ones most likely to prefer eating together.

    Assuming the large hedgehog is an adult, the small one should be ok if it is half the size. If it isn’t already it will become independent soon and go it’s own way. It should be capable of building it’s own nest for hibernation.

    There is loads of information on Hedgehog Street and my advice would be to explore that in the first instance. If you want some further reading there is quite a good site http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/hedgehogs
    They seem to have changed the layout since I last looked, but there used to be a huge wealth of information there.

    Otherwise I would recommend the book ‘Hedgehogs’ by Pat Morris. It was initially written quite a long time ago, and my copy, certainly, has a small amount of outdated information, but I believe there is a new edition which may be a bit different. It has loads of really useful information in it. If you are going to get a copy make sure you get the latest edition, as I have seen some of the older versions for sale. Otherwise if you look at the BHPS shop, there are various books about hedgehogs for sale.

    One of the hogs might hibernate in the hog box, but they do very much have minds of their own and may nest elsewhere. You might like to look at https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/the-hedgehog-housing-census-results-are-in/
    and https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/hedgehog-homes/
    The best thing to do to encourage them is to leave lots of suitable materials nearby. i.e. hay, medium sized leaves, cut long (ornamental) grasses, etc.

    Good luck. I hope you continue to enjoy the hedgehogs’ visits.

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