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Gone AWOL!!! :-(

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Gone AWOL!!! :-(

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    All the hedgehogs have vanished without trace and I am really starting to worry. In five years of hog watching I have never known them all suddenly vanish in May. Throughout March and April they were busy demolishing up to six dishes of food per night; I would estimate that there were around eight to ten of them. The two regular females were last seen on the 19th May and the last male on the 26th. Reliable cameras have been covering the entrances/exits and none have entered the garden, not even for a drink during this hot weather spell. I am hoping that the females have gone off to raise hoglets, but they normally reappear after about a week. A regular female Pumpkin has been visiting every night without fail since November 2018 unless briefly hibernating or raising youngsters…very…very worried! 🙁

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    Hi Penny

    Nice to see you back. But, sorry to hear all the hogs have gone awol. I won’t repeat all the usual potential reasons because I know you know them all.

    That’s the problem with hogs, there’s so much of their day to day lives that we can’t know about, so there’s always something to worry about with them. All you can do is hope that at least some of them return. Hopefully some with some hoglets in tow. (the females here often used to be away for a couple of weeks at hoglet time).

    I do feel for you. It’s worrying enough when one disappears, let alone all of them. Fingers crossed for some better news soon.


    If your hogs are coming through gardens do you think that someone might have put in a new fence somewhere down the line? My newish neighbour has not only put in a new fence around three sides of his garden but he also blocked up the hole where the hedgehogs used to come through to me, despite me telling him that is was a thoroughfare for the hedgehogs to feed and gain access to water. Luckily the hedgehogs made a new hole a bit further down.


    Thank you Nic, Boss Hogg,

    Things just got a whole lot worse! I was talking to a neighbour yesterday and a dead hedgehog was found in a neighbouring garden a few days ago, apparently its face was mutilated so he assumed that it had been attacked by something. I am a very lighter sleeper and with all the windows open during this hot weather, I think that I would have heard if something was attacking our prickly friends, my money is on a damn strimmer again! 🙁 We did locate a badger set nearby, but it looks as though it has been there for many a year and I don’t think most of the hogs would stray that far.

    Our garden backs onto a footpath lined with mostly hedges, so even if someone did block any holes up there would still be plenty of access. Glad to here that your hogs found a new route Boss Hogg.

    My worry is that they all disappeared after the garden centres reopened on the 20th May. Many people like myself have been busy cultivating vegetables for the first time during lockdown and may have got busy with toxic slug pellets and other poisonous chemicals; of course they may also have purchased hedgehog food there too and our lot have cleared off to pastures new now that there’s some work to be done in the garden…just typical! Thankfully the song thrush family have stepped in and are keeping the slimy devils under control, just need to keep the pesky pigeons off my cabbages!

    I am clinging to the hope that the females are busy raising hoglets, since yours disappear for a couple of weeks during this time Nick and that the males are busy stalking them…time will tell. 🙁


    Hi I’m not familiar with the reasons why Harold as I call him or her has gone awol, how can I find this information out. Please.


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    Hi Dawn

    It isn’t possible to find out for certain why Harold is missing. All anyone can do is offer some suggestions of what might be stopping him from visiting. Once the hogs have left our gardens their lives inevitably become a bit of a mystery.

    Some possible reasons are, if Harold happened to be a she, she could be off somewhere having hoglets, or someone on the route to you may have been doing some DIY on their fences and blocked holes the hog was using. Also someone else nearby may have started feeding, so that he/she may not need to visit your garden. Males have larger ranges than females and Harold might be spending a bit of time in another part of the range. All sorts of possibilities.

    Hopefully Harold will eventually return. It would be nice if there were some hoglets in tow, but then you might have to have a name change!


    So sorry to hear this Penny. I cringe when I hear the strimmers going and wish people wouldn’t use them! We too have had sad news and seem to be having hogs with back leg injuries. One of the ladies down the street who also feeds etc has caught 2 injured hogs on her camera and has stayed up and managed to get 1 to the vet. Sadly he had to be put to sleep. She is waiting up each night to see if she can catch the other one.
    I think they could both be possible regulars to one of the food stations here as the food is now untouched.
    I find it very hard when I can’t help them more and our hedgehog population is dwindling.
    I hope yours come back soon


    Sorry to hear that Harold has gone missing Dawn and your hogs are having a hard time too Simbo65, I hope they all come back soon. I had hoped with the lockdown that there would be fewer casualties on the roads and it might turn out to be a good year for them. I used to put cameras out most nights and look forward to watching their antics, but I don’t put them out so much now and have come to dread watching the footage in case another one shows up injured…of course that’s not a problem at the moment because there are still NO HEDGEHOGS! 🙁

    I had to take a young male to a carer a few weeks ago, the vet operated, but he could not be saved. He was one of Pumpkin’s offspring, a late autumn juvenile and had spent the winter in one of the hedgehog houses. After he emerged from hibernation, a small lump which he had had on his abdomen started to grow rapidly to the point where it was dragging on the floor. The vet said it was a congenital abnormality of the abdominal wall. Despite this, he had no internal or external parasites of any kind and weighed in at a healthy 763 grams – proof if ever it were needed that late autumn juveniles can survive hibernation given some supplementary feeding. All the other visiting hedgehogs looked healthy too with barely a tick between them.

    Pumpkin survived what I believe was a broken back leg back in September last year. It was an agonising time because I was certain, judging by her behaviour, that she had hoglets stashed away somewhere and by taking her to get treatment I would be condemning her offspring to certain death. I was pretty sure that there were no open wounds so I decided to watch and wait and only intervene if she started to deteriorate. Slowly her leg began to heal and sure enough a few weeks later she turned up with hoglets! The leg fully recovered, although it remains slightly larger than the other one, but she is/was able to walk and scratch normally. I am convinced that something bad has happened to her and the other hedgehogs, she never strays far and is usually picked up on camera several times a night. At the back of my mind is the dreaded “Goodnature” A24 trap or similar traps used to catch grey squirrels or rats. I love to watch the antics of the grey squirrels in the garden, yes they wantonly destroy the bird feeders, dig up my bulbs, bury their nuts in the lawn and uproot my bedding plants, but I would hate to be without them. Surely it’s better to find ways to live alongside nature than destroy every living creature that we consider to be a pest along with innocent and endangered ones in the process. 🙁 🙁 🙁


    Hello Everyone ,
    Its so sad to hear about all your stories, thankfully I haven’t had too many hedgehogs that have passed away or have needed care. I’ve only come across 2 hedgehogs that have passed away – both was road accidents . one of them I didn’t recognise and the other was pretty sad because it was the hoglets in our gardens dad. Its so sad to hear about all the strimmer accidents that you have said and about the traps. I also agree with the fact that people have been buying more chemicals because I am lucky enough that my nan lives in the close as me I was able to help her (don’t worry I kept my distance)
    because her neighbour who is also a close friend is very controlling and doesn’t ask before she does and because there front gardens are attached to each other she put weed and feed on the grass. my nan was very upset by this as she knows how bad it is and that I love hedgehog and its not very good for them. anyway I had a chat with her neighbour and she said she wouldn’t do it again so that’s good.

    We also get a lot of hedgehogs in our garden but some of them have vanished as well we think they have got hoglets but we definitely have a few males as well. I am really worried because one of our neighbours put mouse traps out in his garden and I am worried that one might have got its foot stuck in it or something – he has already caught 2 innocent field mice . Im going to tell him to stop. do any of your neighbours do this ?
    – prickles preservation society.

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    Hi Penny

    Sorry to hear no hogs back yet and about the poor one who died. I hate even the sound of strimmers, but it seems you can’t get away from them these days.

    I know what you mean about the A24 trap – another worry. Such a shame that fate and general elections worked against the petition – there are probably loads of them around now and I wonder how many people really set them up so that they can’t catch hedgehogs.

    All we can do is hope for the best. I really hope you get some hogs back soon. I would keep putting the cameras out, you never know, they might capture some images of one in the middle of the night uninjured.

    Good luck.

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    Hi pricklespreservationsociety

    Sorry to hear about the roadkill hogs very sad.

    Also sad to hear about the mouse traps in the garden. It’s sort of understandable in the house, but they don’t do much harm when they are outside. And what are the owls, etc. supposed to eat if everyone did that!


    Hi Nic, Millie,

    Sorry for the late reply, I was waiting for the mob to return and pass on some good news, but sadly not one hedgehog has turned up now for over three weeks. I have been doing some investigating and am almost certainly convinced that their disappearance is down to badgers. The badger set we discovered is only 1 kilometre away as the crow flies and we are close to the edge of the village near open fields. Yesterday I found some very strange droppings on our freshly mowed lawn, which bizarrely looked to contain cherry stones! I Googled them and very similar droppings were attributed to badgers. I didn’t think that it was possible for badgers to access our garden, but I discovered some footage on YouTube of them wriggling through cat flaps and some incredibly small gaps of just a few centimetres. I leave a substantial brick a few inches in front of one of the hedgehog holes to stop cats gaining entrance, but this has been moved out of the way several times over recent weeks, I have never yet witnessed a cat move a brick!

    It is at this time of year that young badgers leave the sett and venture off on their own; having seen their shape shifting abilities on the video footage below, I now don’t think a youngster would have any problem at all gaining access. I just hope to goodness that they are all ok and have just temporarily moved house away from the danger. Like I say, I am a bit of an insomniac and I’m sure I would have heard the hedgehogs screams if they were under attack from a psychotic badger. 🙁

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    Hi Penny

    Sorry to hear no hogs. Does sound as if badgers are the problem. Amazing video I was quite expecting the badger to get stuck half way under the gate!

    Yes, fingers crossed the hogs just voted with their feet and moved out – for a while at least.

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