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A hedgehog in the garden and a busy road

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings A hedgehog in the garden and a busy road

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  • #11046
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    Dear all,
    last night I discovered we had a hedgehog in the garden. He was sitting under the bird feeders munching on the seed the bluetits scattered on the stairs. I gave him some cat treats (freeze dried duck) and replenished water in the birdbath.

    And now I have a series of questions:
    1. we live on the very busy road (busy during the daytime) – should we relocate the hedgehog in order to prevent him from being run over?
    2. Our garden in a walled garden, so his only route in and out would be under the gate, I guess, which is about 7 cm above the ground – is this enough space for the hedgehog to get in and out?
    3. Fleas! Years ago, a hedgehog was killed near a house I used to live in, all the cats from the neighbourhood went to investigate. All cats brought innumerable number of fleas in to their respective houses. I have two cats; they are house cats but we take them out into the garden twice a day. Are they likely to get fleas from the hedgehog?

    Please, advise.

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    Hi NG

    You are lucky to find a hedgehog in your garden! Well done for giving it some cat treats and water. It isn’t so easy for them to find some of their normal food in this hot dry weather and especially water. Either cat/dog food or hedgehog food is ideal to give them as some supplementary food. The hog was obviously hungry if it was eating what the birds left.

    Your questions:

    1. My feeling is that the hog would be better off staying where it is and where it knows. If it was released in an area that it didn’t know, it would be just as likely to end up crossing the nearest road anyway. Sometimes a busier road is less dangerous than a quieter one, as they may be more likely to avoid it. They may cross a quieter one because they get a false sense of security. Sadly there are dangers for hedgehogs wherever they are.

    2. Hogs can get under quite low obstacles as long as they can stretch out sideways, although they usually recommend a cd sized hole. A very large hog or a pregnant female might find it more difficult and you may like to make it a bit easier. Is it at all possible to make a hole in the wall anywhere? That would be the ideal thing, so that your garden could become part of a hedgehog highway. If the hedgehogs are able to move easily from garden to garden, they have less reason to go anywhere near the road. So they have increased habitat and are, hopefully, safer. If you could encourage any neighbours to do likewise, it would be good for the hedgehogs.

    3. Fleas. There are apparently loads of different types of flea, some of which are host specific, including hedgehog fleas. Compare spiney hedgehog to fluffy furry cat. If a hedgehog flea found itself on a cat it probably wouldn’t stay long – the habitat would be totally unsuitable for it. My feeling is that it would be unlikely for your cat to pick up fleas unless it was in close proximity to a hedgehog and possibly a dead hedgehog at that, otherwise why would the fleas choose to leave their host species. In the unlikely event that they did pick any up, they probably wouldn’t hang around for long.

    Hope that helps and that the hedgehog continues to visit.

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    Thank you, Nic! Now, the next dilemma: the garage where the hedgehog seems to live will have to be cleared (we store our wood there, and the new lot of wood will be coming next week). I have just ordered a hedgehog house and some hay and I am planning to try to persuade the hedgehog move there. Do you have any advice on how to negotiate this particular problem?

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    Not sure you’ll be able the persuade a hedgehog to do anything! They very much have minds of their own!

    But, it’s a tricky one. Normally a hog is best not disturbed in a nest, especially if it might be a female with babies, which it could be at this time of year. Females with very young babies can be very sensitive and abandon or even eat their babies. If you are sure the hog is in the garage, is there any chance you could temporarily store the wood anywhere else?

    If there is really no alternative, and in the hope it isn’t a nursing female, the only thing I can think of for you to do is, have the new hog box ready in place, try to do any clearing, very carefully, as late in the evening as you can. Then if you find a hedgehog put it into the box with enough ‘bedding’ for it to hide in. I think if I was in that position, I would probably keep it shut in until dark, so it would need water, but for as short a time as possible. (Although it could be a problem if it is a female and has youngsters elsewhere – they sometimes have a nap away from the youngsters) It is possible that it will not continue to use the box afterwards, at least for a while.

    If you find there is a nest with young ones, I would really try not to disturb it. Keep an eye on it, from a distance and make sure the Mother hasn’t deserted the young ones. Seek advice from your local carer. You can get the number of the nearest from the BHPS 01584 890801 . They will need help if deserted.

    If it’s a hog just using it as a place to spend the day, it might move on quite soon anyway. You might be able to get some idea of whether it’s a nursing female, by keeping an eye out to see how often it goes backwards and forwards. A female would be likely to go back to any nest much more often than a male would.

    Good luck.

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    An update: Hilary moved into the hedgehog house!On the downside – my husband lifted the house to check if there was anybody there; now I am just hoping that Hilary would forgive us and stay put.

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    Fingers crossed!

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    No sighting of Hilary for the last two nights, and the food has not been eaten :/.

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    Did you ascertain that she was definitely a female? If so, it’s possible she is having babies somewhere. They usually do disappear at that time. When hubby lifted the house, was there a nest built inside? I suppose it’s possible she has babies in that house, so you need to be very careful not to disturb it now, in case. But she may just have been staying there short term and have a nest elsewhere.

    There are numerous other reasons why they might ‘go missing’, and many people have been experiencing that ‘problem’ this year. I would keep leaving the food out, because if she has had babies it will be useful for her to know where she can get food relatively easily.

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