Advice on no sightings any more :-(
13th November 2018 at 1:28 pm #13066
During the summer months, we had the great pleasure of seeing 2 hedgehogs in our garden for the first time.
We started feeding them and before we knew it, they were there every night pretty much carrying out the same routine, to the point where we could almost set our clocks by when they visited!! hehe. It was a joy to see them each night and over the months you could clearly see they were both getting bigger and enjoying the food and water we were putting out for them.
Well now it’s started to get colder, we have not seen or heard our little visitors for several weeks now, I’d probably say even as long as a month ago.
The food and water bowl that we used to fill up just outside the back door is no longer being used and the 2 bowls at the bottom of the garden can go days without being touched. I have still been putting food and water in the 2 bowls at the bottom of the garden.
Although we are using proper hedgehog food (Spike), I do wonder if the local cats in the area might be eating it now. I say that because I thought I would treat our hedgehogs one night back in the summer and put a foil tray of special hedgehog food down, that looked and smelled just like cat food!! When I went out later in the evening it had gone and I was like yay, they liked it. Did the same the following night to use the last of it up, only that night when I popped out to the garden, there was one of the neighbours cat quite happily munching away at the food. So it looked like I had been feeding the local cats and not the hedgehogs!! Hehe
Or, because the food is still disappearing, do we still have our little friends visiting us and they are just staying to the bottom of the garden and not going for their usual nightly walk up the garden to the back door??
We have built a hedgehog house and placed it at the bottom of the garden near to the food bowls, but this hasn’t yet been accepted by either of them and is still empty. I did check yesterday as the small amount of food that I had placed in the entrance tunnel to the enclosed area had gone and I was kind of hoping we may of had progress with the house. Sadly not.
My question is, do people think our 2 little spikey friends have actually gone off to hibernate, or is it still too early for this to happen and they are maybe coming back to the garden every so often for a munch on the food that I am leaving out for them? Or could it possibly be the local cats in the area taken a liking to hedgehog food and I’m getting my hopes up for nothing?
We are new to having hedgehogs in our garden (only started seeing them this year) and we have loved having them around, so any advice on how we can help them or help me for that matter with how to make possible sightings or what to look out for would be gratefully appreciated.
Many thanks, Julia13th November 2018 at 7:39 pm #13072
It’s lovely to hear that you’ve been enjoying having the hedgehogs around. It is quite likely that they have gone to hibernate, although not a certainty. Around here the adults have all disappeared and there are just a couple of hoglets, left. I am happy that they’re big enough now, so will just wait to see if they decide to hibernate. Last year one didn’t!
I have found that since there aren’t so many adult hogs around, the cats are taking full advantage and in the last couple of weeks have increased their number of visits. I never knew there were so many cats around until I started seeing them on video! So it is possible that it’s cats eating the food.
I don’t think the hogs would be put off visiting nearer the house. The hoglet here last year visited in well below zero temperatures. Sometimes it’s best not to leave food near a hog house which you are hoping they nest in. They may see it as attracting other hogs and potentially predators and so it may deter them from nesting there. I would be inclined to leave the food nearer the house again and stop that at the end of the garden. You may need to move it gradually towards the back door again. Then, at least, you have more of a chance of keeping an eye on it and seeing if cats or even rats could be eating it. I usually leave food out for a couple of weeks, at least, after I’ve seen the last hog. Some people leave food out all winter in case. Leaving water out all winter is even more important in case a thirsty hog comes out of hibernation.
If they have gone to hibernate already, it’s just a case of waiting and hoping that they return safe and well in the Spring.
Good luck.14th November 2018 at 11:44 am #13081
Ah thank you for your reply. Really appreciate it.
As suggested, I’ll slowly move the food away from the house, as we’ve put the house in a lovely sheltered place that’s away from noise & disturbance when we are out in the garden.
I had a feeling our hogs might have gone off to hibernate. Both were a really good size the last time we saw them, so that was reassuring. Fingers crossed they both come back to us next year, as we have loved having them around.
I’ll keep putting a little food out for a bit longer, but my gut instinct is telling me it’s the cats & prob our Oscar too!! Hehe
We have several bowls of water in the garden, which I have seen our hogs drink from before, as well as their own bowls & We keep them topped up all the time for the cats & birds.
So, it’s let them sleep & wait for spring 😊 🦔 x x22nd November 2018 at 5:16 pm #13166
Hi, we are having exactly the same issue. We have lived in our house for 7 years and it was not until this summer (ironically when our friend was cat sitting our 2!), that she said she saw a hedgehog in the garden. The back door was open and the hog brazenly walked in and started eating the cat food! A couple of days later she spotted what looked like a hoglet. We decided at that point to put food out, and for a few days the hogs came and ate the food. We had to keep moving the food as we think two different local cats have been eating it (not ours funnily enough although we can’t be certain).
We saw the hogs on and off for around 2 months then the baby one disappeared but the lone one still visited. I then decided to buy a top of the range house and we placed it at the bottom of our garden with the entrance facing between the shed and the fence so it was out of the wind, we put some hay in and waitied. Amazingly, when I took a sneek peek the following morning, there was a ball of spikes all curled up, I was so happy. It was used for several weeks after that, the hog gradually pulling in more and more leaves, it looked right cosy.
Naturally our own cats were very curious and kept jumping on top of the house, along with the other local cats that visit and I am wondering if this is the reason we have not had a visitor for over a month now. Also there are dogs that live next door who bark a lot on the other side of the fence. We continue to put food out but like Julia, we feel it’s not the hogs eating it. I even bury it under the wild geraniums and other bushes but someone continues to find it. Not sure what else we can do, sit and wait I guess. It’s just very disappointing, they are out there someone as we’ve not luckily, spotted any dead ones. Roll on spring.24th November 2018 at 9:45 am #13180
Lovely to hear your hog story. It does sound as if the hogs there may have hibernated. Hopefully they will be back in the Spring to, maybe, take up residence in your hog house again. Sounds as if they are well catered for!24th November 2018 at 8:55 pm #13181
I have a hedgehog that visits my gardengarden every night he has a big
bowl of food waiting25th November 2018 at 7:33 am #13182
After not seeing the hog for over a month , it has been for the last 2 nights, came at 4.15 just going dark.26th November 2018 at 5:51 pm #13197
That’s good to hear tilly88. Not all hedgehogs hibernate and if the one there doesn’t it will probably welcome the food. Water is very important too.26th November 2018 at 5:57 pm #13198
There are various possibilities about why a hog has appeared after a month. Some do ‘wake up’ during hibernation and even build new nests, so it could be that. Another possibility is that it is a hog who has been used to getting food elsewhere and they have stopped feeding. Etc.
Whatever the reason, lucky hog finding you – I guess you are offering food for them?27th November 2018 at 2:46 pm #13224
Yes put out meal worms for it. not seen it since then.27th November 2018 at 5:01 pm #13225
I’m guessing you’ve missed all the information about mealworms not being good for hogs. They love them but it has been realised that they have an imbalance of phosphorous and calcium which leads to calcium being leached from the bones – causing what they call metabolic bone disease (similar to osteoporosis). In addition, they don’t have a very high nutritional value.
Hedgehogs and in particular hoglets can become addicted to mealworms and not want to eat anything else – which means they will eat mealworms in preference to the more nutritious food that they need. This is a big problem if they turn up at rehabilitators with bone problems and then not want to eat anything but the mealworms which probably caused the problems.
For all these reasons they should only ever be given as a very occasional treat and preferably not at all. It’s particularly important at this time of year that the hogs get really good nutritious food so that they can put on the two particular types of fat which they need for hibernation. So please feed either hedgehog food or cat/dog food. (peanuts and sunflower hearts also don’t have a very good balance of phosphorous and calcium and although they aren’t quite as bad as mealworms, are best avoided – except in a properly balanced mix).
For further information please see:
Please don’t feel bad about feeding mealworms before – we can’t know something until we find out – and what you offer the hogs in the future is more important than what you offered them in the past.
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