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Mr Big

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Mr Big

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    Since the darker evenings, one of the regular hogs has been visiting every night around 9.30pm. The trailcam shows he goes straight into the feeder and stays there tucking into the dog meat for around 10 minutes. He often returns more than once. There is also at least one other, smaller hog who visits less regularly. Around 10 days ago we thought the regular hog’s right eye looked rather weepy. A trailcam clip a couple of days later did not look right either so I asked a neighbour who, usefully, works for Scottish SPCA and is therefore experienced in rescuing and assessing wildlife. He said to catch the hog and bring it round to him for checking. That night, travel box at the ready, I watched out for the hog’s arrival. Sure enough he arrived at his usual time. We thought it was only fair to let him have a feed before catching him, so after a few minutes I tiptoed down to wait outside the feeder for him to emerge.

    After about 10 minutes standing in the dark listening to muffled munching sounds from inside the feeder, I was on the verge of just opening it and interrupting the meal, when I noticed a second hog sitting patiently behind me. Queueing for the feeder? Wondering if this was the hog with the ‘eye’, I quickly took the 2nd one indoors to the light. He half-curled up but the eye was fine, so I put him back on the lawn. After another couple of minutes, I gave up waiting and lifted the first hog out of the feeder and into the travel box. What a big hog! Noticeably larger than the one I’d just handled. I popped the 2nd, smaller one into the feeder to give him a sporting chance at some food.

    My neighbour commented on the size of the hog. Now, would he co-operate and uncurl. No way. He stayed tightly curled. Patience did not work, gentle persuasion did not work. Even the offer of (usually forbidden) calci worms did not entice him. Eventually it was decided that since he was a good size, had no parasites and seemed stubbornly feisty, the best approach was to release him, monitor the eye and bring him back in if it didn’t improve.

    We took him back to the feeder (the 2nd hog had vacated by now) and released him. Trailcam footage from the feeder over the following week showed him pitching up at his usual time and feeding (very) well – once almost 20 minutes of solid munching. The eye improved and after a few days looked normal with just a small pimple above it.

    We also really notice the size difference between him and the other hog(s) – on trailcam footage from inside the feeder and outside in the garden. My feeder has an extra cat-deterrent tunnel and I am surprised he can get negotiate it! Maybe he will hibernate early? Maybe I’ll find him wedged in the tunnel one morning after one too many dishes of dog meat?

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