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A hedgehog family sighting in a West London garden…

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings A hedgehog family sighting in a West London garden…

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    Earlier this evening, we heard some scraping noises by our BBQ, and we lifted the BBQ cover off the patio expecting to see a rat and we’re delighted to find a hedgehog and her hoglets.. We have had a couple of encounters with the adult hedgehog over the last six months or so, and we even put a hedgehog house in the garden in a very sheltered spot last autumn.. so we were surprised to see the little family cuddled up in the corner of our patio, hidden by the BBQ and cover.. As hedgehog novices, we are worried about the little hoglets.. they looked about 2.5 to 3 inches long.. and mum looked very healthy, but we aren’t sure if disturbing them earlier will cause mum to abandon them? Plus should we just leave them to it? We have been putting a tray of water in the garden over the last couple of months, but no food as we have a very greedy golden retriever.. we have a very mature and quite a wild garden with access to both our neighbours gardens under fences.. so we think they should be fine for food. Any suggestions/reassurances would be great.

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    It sounds as if you have a nice place for hedgehogs there. It is difficult to say, re. the hoglets. They start off with white spines and apparently after about 15 days the brown spines have come through. So, if they looked normal hedgehog coloured they are probably a least a couple of weeks old. It says in the book I have (Hedgehogs by Pat Morris) that ‘if the mother is disturbed within the first few hours after birth she is likely to desert or eat her babies. Later when they are bigger, she may react to the disturbance by carrying them off to another nest … ‘ It says they leave the nest 3 – 4 weeks old. If they were cuddled up in the corner, it sounds as if they may already have been out of the nest(?) I would try to disturb them as little as possible and, if possible, leave the BBQ where it is for a while, if it is where they hide. You are doing the right thing leaving them water. Very important, especially when the weather is dry. Keep an eye out just in case they are very small and have been deserted and venture out during the day, in which case you would need to get help from a hedgehog ‘carer’ or wildlife hospital. Otherwise, Mother hedgehog should be able to look after the hoglets herself. She has obviously given your garden her seal of approval and it’s good that she has access to other gardens as well. The only other thing you can do is maybe leave them some food. I sometimes put food in a hedgehog box, which isn’t used for nesting, where a dog wouldn’t be able to access it. There are some hedgehog foods which cats aren’t really interested in – not sure about dogs, though.

    I hope they do ok and you are able to get some good sightings of them when they are out and about more. Good luck to you and the little hog family.

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