Hedgehogs and badger
25th April 2020 at 1:10 am #22328
Youmay remember a couple of months ago I wrote to you concerning one of my hedgehogs killed by a rat in his nestbox. We have had no further problems with rats, but now have had a visit from a badger, who destroyed my feeding stations to get to the food. I have been having 6 to 8 hog visitors with juveniles and full grown animals coming regularly every night. Some came back the same night after the badger had been, but subsequently numbers have dropped significantly. I have read that badgers do not like the scent of male urine, and, much to my wife’s disgust have sprayed some ( with a sprayer !!!) around the feeding area in an effort to deter the badger. I haven’t seen it since on the camera ,but my hogs have largely disappeared. We have a very large area of gardens and wooded area around us so they could disperse .
There are no badger setts close by, so I don’t know where this animal lives, or how far they travel. Do you think this is a one off, and is my pee solution worth continuing, or will the hogs be deterred. I have upped security on the feeders, but from watching the badger operate , if he really wanted to I don’t think there is much that would stop him..Do they hunt hogs or just attack them if they happen to come across them? I have also installed a 500watt security light which comes on should a larger animal come by. Is there anything else you could suggest, I would be heartbroken not to see them again after feeding them for such a long time. They are such beautiful little creatures.
Sorry to have run on a bit, and thank you for your advice,
Ray Godwin25th April 2020 at 9:08 am #22329
I have at least 3 hedgehogs visiting our garden that I feed. They have been coming every night since they came out of hibernation. In the last few weeks we’ve also seen a fox and a badger visiting the garden and these too are now nightly visitors.
I’ve started putting out food for the fox and badger away from the feeding stations for the hedgehogs and they now don’t go near them at all. I do have several pieces of video footage from my trail camera of both badger and fox with the hedgehogs and nothing untoward is happening. I only have one video of a hedgehog showing displeasure at a badger being close by. The hedgehog was in front of a humane rat trap that we had left out with bait in it and the badger was intent on getting to the trap to eat the bait. He completely ignored the hog but was doing his best to get the trap. As he was too close the hog was definitely letting him know that he was encroaching upon his personal space!!
Badgers don’t actively hunt hedgehogs – their main diet is earthworms – and it’s my understanding that they will only attack and eat hedgehogs if food is in short supply.
It could be that your hedgehogs are starting to move further afield or maybe some are already in nests waiting to give birth?
Hope this helps? I can try and post the videos later.
Lisa26th April 2020 at 1:43 pm #22360
Sorry to hear about the badger. I would be inclined to put the urine around the edge of your garden, rather than just around the feeding area. I would also stop feeding until you are certain that the badger is no longer around. There have been some other posts about badgers recently. I will put one link here and another on a separe post afterwards (the forum doesn’t always like multiple links!)
I don’t think badgers actually hunt hedgehogs, as such, but if they have found an area where they have found food in the form of hedgehogs or otherwise, they are likely to visit again. Even if you were able to create a feeding station which a badger couldn’t access, they could still pick them off on their way to or from feeding areas, so it just isn’t safe to feed hogs with badgers around. It would be gambling with their lives. Badgers can make short work of hedgehogs. I have heard of someone who used to feed badger and hedgehog side by side (which to me sounds a crazy idea – badgers are predators, after all) and one day the badger suddenly turned on and killed the hedgehog despite there still being other food left. Very distressing for the poor person watching, who would have been able to do nothing about it.
You might be lucky and it might have been a single badger, possibly displaced from it’s previous home who is seeking a new one and is just passing through. I had one here once quite a while ago which only visited once and thankfully it never returned. But I would stop feeding the hogs until you are absolutely certain it’s no longer around. A badger is a greater risk to a hog than going without supplementary food for a while.
Good luck. I know how distressing it can be when we think the hogs might be at risk. Hope all goes well and that the badger has moved on.26th April 2020 at 1:44 pm #2236126th April 2020 at 2:27 pm #22362
Hi Lisa McLeish
I’m glad to hear that you are no longer feeding foxes and badgers close to the hedgehogs. Both badgers and some foxes are known to kill hedgehogs (badgers, in particular, even if there is other food available) so it really isn’t safe to feed them together. You are lucky that nothing untoward has happened to the hedgehogs, but that may not continue to be the case. Sadly, even a stroppy hedgehog is no defence against a badger’s strong jaws. All it takes is a turn of the head and a snap of the jaws.
I don’t wish to demonise badgers or foxes in any way. They are just trying to live their lives the same as hedgehogs are, with diminishing habitat, etc. It’s just a fact that some wild animals eat other wild animals and in the same way as we humans make it easier for sparrowhawks to catch smaller birds by feeding them in one place, so we make it easier for badgers to catch hedgehogs by feeding them in on place (if there are badgers around).
You may not be aware that hedgehogs have in the past been caught in humane rat traps, so please be careful. Hopefully you are already doing that anyway.
If badgers are in an area, hedgehogs will often vote with their feet and move elsewhere. Although, males have quite large ranges and so don’t necessarily visit all parts of their range every day, which could account for some absences. In general, it’s still a little bit early for females to be giving birth – the peak time is normally June and July – although not impossible.
Good luck. I hope the hogs manage to stay safe.
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