15th June 2022 at 4:38 pm #37628
hi, I’ve been feeding hedgehogs in my garden for the past three years.
lately I’ve been trying to get them to set up shop in a nesting box as most of my neighbors are putting up new fences and getting rid of potential habitat; if they were based in my garden at least they would be getting fed.
things were going well until a couple of nights ago. a hedgehog that had been sleeping in the nesting box for about a week suddenly disappeared.
On one of my trail cameras there was evidence of a fox near the box which didn’t worry me too much as we often see the hedgehogs and the foxes together and they don’t seem to bother each other.
however, last night the fox came back and somehow managed to cram its whole body into the now hedgehog-les nesting box! (I had put some food in there to try and coaks back the now missing hedgehog)
I’ve seen nohedgehogs for the past couple of nights and am wondering if there’s anything I can do to stop the fox from getting into the nesting box.
what’s the smallest I can make the entrance to the box? allowing the hogs in but keeping the fox out
thanks!15th June 2022 at 8:14 pm #37666
Hi. Do you have a photo of the nestbox or know the size of the hole?
There aren’t any foxes around here, but I did have one issue with a cat a couple of years back (investigating the hedgehog home doorway and trying to get inside).
I just bought a “cat resistant hedgehog tunnel” and attached it to the doorway in a way that made the cat (and the other 3 that visit) not want to bother trying to get in again (it would have had to do a reverse c shape to enter and then bend back around to the right to enter.
I suppose I could also have made one myself easy enough . .
Not sure how wily foxes are though . .16th June 2022 at 10:45 am #37682
thanks for the reply.
I don’t have a photo; but if I had to guess I’d say the doorway was about 4inches across and 5inches high. this is about an inch higher than the door on my feeding station.
yesterday I glued a chunky piece of wood across the top of the doorway, taking the height down to just under four inches.
both the hedgehog and the fox appeared on the trail cameras last night; the fox couldn’t get into the modified nest box, the hedgehog stuck his head inside the doorway but didn’t go in.
I’m certain he’d still fit and I put some food inside so I’m wondering why he didn’t go in!
the house had been thoroughly cleaned after the fox went in, so I don’t think it’s down to fox smell16th June 2022 at 9:56 pm #37686
I caught on camera two separate incidents. The first was a hedgehog in a hedge house being attacked by a fox. I found the hedgehog and took it to the vet who gave it the all clear. Then on May 9th 2021, I caught on my wildlife camera a fox take a hedgehog. I later found it’s carcass. So foxes will eat hedgehogs.16th June 2022 at 11:37 pm #37690
yes, from what I understand a fox if hungy enough will have a go at a hedgehog. I’m in two minds about making my feeding station 100% fox proof.
on the one hand I don’t want to incorage the foxes to come to my garden, but on the other hand a starving fox is a much bigger threat to a hedgehog than a well fed fox17th June 2022 at 6:48 pm #37695
Yes, foxes will definitely take hedgehogs. Not all foxes, but definitely some. Some foxes become specialist hedgehog catchers. One method is to wait until the hog is eating and therefore unrolled, when the fox will pounce at the soft belly area. Sadly once they have learned the technique they are likely to try again. That is the reason why I am always a bit sad to see images of hogs and foxes eating side by side. Foxes are predators and cannot be trusted and a hog eating right next to a fox is very vulnerable.
But re. the feed box, one of my boxes entrance is about 4 x 5 inches, but I have a brick 2 inches high just inside the doorway. Even large hogs have no problem accessing the box. But even cats can push up the lid unless it is securely either screwed down or has something pretty heavy on top.
The hog may not have felt safe going into the box. It seems entirely possible that it still smelt of foxes, even after being cleaned. (Hogs’ sense of smell if much more sensitive than ours.) But anyway, if the fox was still around the hog may not have wanted to risk being trapped in the box. If that fox has become a specialist hog catcher, it could easily wait for the hog to come out and catch it that way. Foxes can be incredibly patient if they think they’re going to get a meal.
I think if it was me, I might be inclined to leave off feeding the hogs for a while and hope the fox moved on elsewhere. The hogs can get lulled into a false sense of security when eating food provided for them by humans – when I imagine they would remain more alert when foraging for natural food.
Having said all that, hogs will move nests – not least to prevent a build up of parasites. i.e. they don’t normally use a hog box as a permanent home. (There need to be a variety of daytime ‘nesting’ places available for the hogs). So the hog may have moved out before the fox got in the box. But hogs need several gardens – unless it is enormous, one garden is not enough. Hogs can travel as much as 2 miles a night. So the best thing to do is to encourage your neighbours to have hog holes in their fences – or at least dig accessways under the fences.
Good luck. I hope you manage to find some sort of resolution to the probllem.18th June 2022 at 11:39 am #37701
no sightings at all last night; I’m thinking maybe this is down to the extremely hot temperature? (almost 25 last night!)
I think our local hogs have access to around 5 gardens.
The house that backs on to mine has been unoccupied for the past two years and the garden is extremely overgrown (hedgehog paradise!), unfortunately the property has just been sold so I don’t expect it to remain this way for very long18th June 2022 at 7:38 pm #37706
That’s great that the hogs still have access to lots of gardens, despite some people putting up new fences.
Sad about the overgrown garden being sold. If you get the chance maybe you could let the new owners know about the hogs and also the dangers of using strimmers. This is a useful leafllet from BHPS with tips https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/gardening-with-hedgehogs/
But just in case, keep a look out for hogs with strimmer injuries – the sooner they can get to help, the higher their chance of surviving such injuries.
Hope the fox stays away and that you eventually have hogs there again. Good luck.
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