Last sighting of 2018
31st December 2018 at 10:10 pm #13483
After weeks of no activity, during the last two nights the straw indicators across a couple of my hog-houses, and the feeding stations have been disturbed, and the dried food inside nibbled.
So tonight as a treat I put some cat’s meat in jelly inside the feeding stations, and then set up the trail cam.
First video is of a hedgehog just emerged from a hog house, then disappearing behind the nearby feeding station in the foreground.
And then she finds her way into the feeding station.
Last hedgehog sighting of 2018 – Happy New Year all.20th January 2019 at 9:53 pm #13552
Since New Year’s Eve there has been no further sign of any hedgehog activity in the garden, despite some mild weather/
With last night’s temperature below zero and a frost on the grass I was surprised to find the indicator straws across one of my hog-houses and a nearby feeding station both triggered.
(During cold inactive periods I keep the hog-houses stocked with dried food which keeps and doesn’t freeze)
So tonight I added some tinned cat food and set up the trail-cam.
With a bright full moon and a cloudless sky, the temperature plummeted again and the frosted grass sparkled in my headlight beam when I went to check at 9pm.
Sure enough both indicators had been triggered again, so I collected the trail-cam (which was covered in frost) to check.
🙂21st January 2019 at 11:40 am #13558
I have two hedgehog houses as I have two visiting hedgehogs. Last night the smaller one was up and about although it was only 2 degrees and the previous night was minus 3 in the middle of Oxford. I don’t know why it wasn’t hibernating but I put out food and water and I listened to the distinctive noise of a hedgehog eating and drinking. I know they get up in mild spells but it doesn’t seem mild at the moment. Should I keep dry food out throughout the winter or will it just attract rats?21st January 2019 at 7:49 pm #13566
I was a bit concerned about attracting rats (which is one of the ways I justified buying a trail-cam 🙂 )
I’m glad to say that I’ve only ever recorded cats, foxes, flying insects and hedgehogs at night (the feathers gang take over the day shift).
Probably because we have three cats, and foxes visit frequently throughout the night.
In any case I wouldn’t worry too much about rats in the garden (it’s when they invade the house that they become a concern).
They are intelligent, social animals, clean and good with their young, not really a problem outside (but beware when handling home-made compost that may be contaminated with rat’s urine and a risk of weil’s disease).
If you manage your garden with plenty of untidy areas, log piles etc, hedgehogs should be able to find enough natural food without leaving out that welcome extra if rats actually are a problem.21st January 2019 at 10:12 pm #13567
Hibernation isn’t only related to temperature. I had a hedgehog here last winter and the temperature went down to -6 on occasions. That didn’t put him off at all – although water was a bit of a problem. The only days he didn’t make it here for food were 2 when the snow was too deep. Once he found a way through he was back nightly as usual.
I think if you are feeding cat food, rats are less likely to eat that, although cats could become a problem instead! But as Leon says, the main problem is if they get into the house, and if handling material where they may have been. Most places probably have rats around at some stage, people just don’t know about it. It doesn’t always work, but I usually try to make things difficult for them if they get near the house. For instance if they make a bolt hole near the house I fill it in and discourage holes under fences near the house. Rats like to have their regular runs. The holes in fences for the hogs can be further away from the house. The hogs here have their main access point at the other end of the garden from my house and have never had any problem finding the food.
I agree with Leon, about making your garden more hog friendly, but in the winter the hogs are also likely to need a supplement to wild food if they don’t hibernate. So I would leave some dry food out. I have another hog this winter not hibernating and whilst I see him doing a fair amount of foraging, he also has supplementary food. Not cat food because I have several cats who visit too. Occasionally a rat gets some of the hog food, unfortunately, but that can’t be helped.
Good luck with the hogs.
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