A Sad Day For Hedgehogs
10th June 2017 at 5:21 pm #6617
I have only just realised that hedgehog champion MP for Plymouth Oliver Colvile has lost his seat. As if things weren’t bad enough for our prickly friends, they have now lost their representative in Parliament. Perhaps if hedgehog rights had been included in the Tory manifesto Mr Colvile may just have hung on to his seat!
On a more positive note, I have just returned from a holiday down south and it seems that the good folk of Cornwall are very keen on their hedgehogs; the collection box on the counter in the local post office for a nearby rescue was overflowing and I did notice that they were very well represented on the hedgehog petition map.10th June 2017 at 7:52 pm #6618
That is sad. Especially as the hogs will need friends in Parliament if a new Petition reaches the required signatures for a debate. Hopefully, as there are so many people round there keen on hedgehogs, the new MP will be supportive of them too. Sounds, though, like that election may not have done the hogs any favours in more ways than one.
Hope you had a good holiday and that Simba and pals were pleased to see you back!12th June 2017 at 8:37 am #6634
Yes, hopefully the residents of Plymouth will persuade their new MP to take up the cause; things are certainly not going well for hedgehogs at the moment.
As for Simba and the gang, they have been doing disappearing acts much like your lot. Some nights are very busy and then others like last night are very quiet. They don’t seem to mind the rain, but they hate wind and last night was very windy. One of the cameras did pick up a fleeting glimpse of what I think was Simba and if it was him he’s had another paint job! Some of the others also have strange markings; it’s hard to tell on the camera footage what they are, but my money is on more paint. Glad that Digger is back and it certainly sounds as though she has some hoglets tucked away somewhere. Just before we went away I spotted this lovely little lady wandering across the road (thankfully no graffiti!) just before 7.00 am one morning. I checked her over and watched her on the garden for a while and she seemed fine, so it’s possible that she also has some youngsters somewhere and was just taking a break.
A kind neighbour waited on the hogs whilst we were away, so no need to use the automatic pet feeder, I’d got visions of them vandalising it just like the squirrels have vandalised theirs!
Oh yes… it rained all week! 🙁12th June 2017 at 9:27 am #6635
What a lovely little hog! Looks like she has a pink bit by her nostril, a bit like Erin. Very pale face and skirt, with no obvious skirt band – hopefully easy to recognise. Sorry to hear Simba may have been painted again. The problem is it sometimes actually makes it more difficult to identify them, as their natural features are sometimes obscured.
The trouble with wind and also rain to some extent, from a hedgehog point of view, is that it would not be as easy to hear and smell what is going on around.
I have a picture in my mind of your neighbour with a tray asking them all what they would like to eat tonight!13th June 2017 at 12:48 pm #6660
It turns out that the hog with the paint job wasn’t Simba but an interloper. This much younger version of the old man has all the same characteristics and manic temperament, but without the arthritis and ringworm on his left ear. The new ‘top hog’ was frenziedly patrolling the patio last night and sending larger males flying in all directions. Simba’s back legs have been giving him a bit of jip just lately so I hope that he is ok.
The light coloured lady in the photo was spotted by the cameras this morning at dawn. It’s my guess that she has hoglets and is waiting until all the boys have gone to bed so that she can dine in peace!
The new feeding station mark 3 is a great success and no cats have even attempted to break in. The only thing is it looks a bit plain and I have been very tempted to nail an ‘All-night Diner’ sign and a menu board to the side of it!13th June 2017 at 8:07 pm #6667
I hope Simba is ok too. It is always a bit sad when a new hog takes over. I haven’t seen the boss hog here for quite a while. It is just possible that he was the poor chap who got strimmed – it was difficult to tell. I don’t think I have seen him since. There are two others it might have been, who I haven’t seen either, but he used to visit more often. There is no obvious top hog now. One night it is one and one another, they don’t all visit every night. One of the ones who throws his weight around a lot, I always thought might have been old boss hog’s brother – they looked very alike. The other is the formerly gentle giant! Then there is Rascal who beats up one of last year’s hoglets but runs away if he hears any big boys arriving!
I always think, similar to you, but in reverse, that the girls turn up early here if they (hopefully) have hoglets, to try to avoid the boys, who tend to arrive a bit later. But my diner is not ‘all night’ and I think they have got to know that and realise there is no point turning up really late, unless they only want a drink!
I made the mistake of leaving a tiny bit of food out last night – forgot about the cat – hadn’t seen one for a while – and you can guess who I saw there when I looked out the window. I had made the mistake of putting a few kitten biscuits in the hog food, which is probably what attracted it! Bad move, as the cat’s don’t normally eat the hog food on it’s own. I have, though, got a little robin who’s caught on to the fact that there is new food put out late and he/she usually comes and tucks in before the hogs arrive.16th June 2017 at 10:16 am #6669
So sorry about the ‘Boss’ hog Nic, any sign of him yet? I know that they are wild animals and we shouldn’t become too attached to them, especially when their lives are so precarious, but when they visit on a regular basis and you become familiar with them, it’s very difficult not to. I try and avoid giving them names for that reason, but there are a few at the moment that are very recognisable. We now have three large males patrolling the garden. The interloper with the paint job and top of the pile, I have now established is Arnie, closely followed by Simba and then there’s Boris. Boris is torpedo shaped with very short fur and spines; he’s very similar looking to Tippy Toe so I suspect that he is the father. Tippy Toe also has a brother (as yet unnamed) who is the spitting image, but with one obvious difference. Poor old Boris just rolls up and takes the punishment from the father and son duo, but he doesn’t give in and seems to hang around for most of the evening in the hope of some female company.
The pale coloured lady, who I have named blondie, is still visiting at around 7.00 am, so I am more convinced than ever that she has hoglets tucked away somewhere. Simba on the other hand keeps turning up early just before dusk. I was serving up their dinner the other evening when I heard footsteps on the path; I turned around expecting to see a cat, only to find Simba doing a runner back through the hedgehog hole. Luckily I had set up a camera just in time…:-)16th June 2017 at 11:49 am #6670
To be honest, I was expecting old Boss Hog to be ‘demoted’ this year as he had been boss for a couple of years. Must take up a lot of energy to maintain that. It has been a different year with patterns of visits changing. He could still be around and has found somewhere else to feed. If so, I just hope whoever it is, is feeding more than just mealworms!
Poor Arnie getting painted. What I wonder is, if these people who are painting the hedgehogs even know whether it is one they have painted before, or another one. Certainly one of the ones here turned up with a different pattern after being remarked. So is whoever it is, counting the same one twice. Possible, I imagine.
I like the video of Simba disappearing through a convenient hog hole! One of the new boss hogs did something similar here last night, only it was when I was taking the bowls in. I left him a little pile of food and a bit more in one of the hog boxes, and it wasn’t long before he reappeared out the undergrowth.
Did you see Pam Ayres on one of the Sringwatch programmes. She has written a poem about the final hedgehog left on earth. Sad, funny and thought provoking.
Not sure what Digger is up to. I didn’t see her last night, which is a bit strange, but the night before she was ‘dancing’ with one of the boys. He did run off in the middle, so couldn’t have been that interested. But why is she doing that if she has hoglets? I may never know for sure. They don’t ever seem to bring them here until they are bigger and then it is not always easy to see who is with who. The hoglets seem happy to share bowls with any adult.16th June 2017 at 12:25 pm #6672
No I didn’t see Pam Ayres, I will look out for it on the I Player.
It was the same here last year with the hoglets. There was only one very young one that showed up with its mum on camera, the others were all a bit older and independent. I would love to be able to catch a mum with a trail of hoglets behind her on camera, but I wonder if all the marauding males are a bit off putting.16th June 2017 at 3:23 pm #6674
I’ve always wanted to see a mum with a trail of babies too, but like you, suspect there are two many boisterous boys around for them to risk bringing their smaller babies here. (a good bit of alliteration there, between us!) I am hoping I may catch them down the garden on the cam one day.
If you want to see Pam Ayres. She was on the lunch time show yesterday, when she read part of the poem. I think she was on in the second half of the show. And again on Springwatch Unsprung, yesterday as well, when she read a different part of the poem. The first segment she read was really very sad at the end. She said the poem was going to be in a book, so something to look out for.21st June 2017 at 4:24 pm #6733
Hi Nic & Penny
Found Pam’s poem online –
I am very fond of hedgehogs
Which makes me want to say
That I am struck with wonder
How there’s any left today.
For each morning as I travel
And no short distance that
All I see are hedgehogs
Squashed…and dead…and flat!
Now, hedgehogs are not clever
No, hedgehogs are quite dim
And when he sees your headlamps
Well, it don’t occur to him
That the very wisest thing to do
Is up and run away
No, he curls up in a stupid ball
And no doubt starts to pray!
Well, motor cars do travel
At a most alarming rate
And by the time you sees him
It is very much too late!
And thus he gets a-squasho’d
Unrecorded, but for me
With me pen and paper
Sitting in a tree.
It is statistically proven
In chapter and in verse
That in a car and hedgehog fight
The hedgehog comes off worse!
When whistlin’ down your prop shaft
And bouncin’ off your diff
His coat of nice brown prickles
Is not effect-iff!
A hedgehog cannot make you laugh
Whistle, dance or sing.
And he ain’t much to look at
And he don’t make anything.
And in amongst his prickles
There’s fleas and bugs and that
But there ain’t no need to leave him
Squashed…and dead…and flat!!
In the dim & distant past when we used to see enormous hogs (because they lived much longer perhaps) we had the pleasure of feeding a Mum & her hoglets on our front doorstep. We saw her in the garden, put out a dish of Whiskas & she brought them to it not minding us squatting right in front of them at the open door observing. A real gift from nature. Never saw them before or after so it was a truly magical occasion.21st June 2017 at 4:26 pm #6734
Hope we can make it a happier day for hedgehogs as so many of us love them so much.21st June 2017 at 8:30 pm #6736
Thanks for the poem, although it isn’t the same one she read parts of on Springwatch, although parts of it seem familiar. I looked for that one on line but couldn’t find it. It is called The Final Hedgehog Left on Earth. It sounded as if there was going to be a whole book of hedgehog poems. Hopefully, some of them slightly more cheerful. It is worth looking at the Springwatch on iplayer if you get the chance. They visited her garden as well. She has a way of reading her poems which seems to add to them. I’d love to be that clever with words!
You are so lucky seeing a Mum and her brood. Those are the sorts of memories to cherish.21st June 2017 at 10:46 pm #6738
Yes, it’s a depressing little poem isn’t it, be nice to read the one you heard.
She does manage to get humour from sad things, I love her poems. Will have a look for the Springwatch tshe was on tomorrow. Just found her official website with a few poems on, so funny.22nd June 2017 at 7:18 pm #6746
Hi Annie & Nic,
I watched Pam on Springwatch and she was very good, but like you say Nic, only read part of the poem. I think they said that the book would be available from the BHPS. ‘Meet The Hedgehogs’ was very good too….And I thought I was obsessed!
I wish I could say that one of our hog houses was occupied with a mother and hoglets, but since Simba vacated the log pile last summer there have been no new tenants. The log pile has been extended and now has full en-suite facilities with extra hay and dried leaves available close by. Both the hog houses have now been relocated to spacious plots in dappled shade with far reaching views across the lawn, but still no takers. The only tenant for the log pile has been a rather smug looking frog found sitting in the doorway and one of the hog houses seems to be occupied by a tarantula! The web across the entrance is so thick that it has slug trails across it!
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