Mutant Rampaging Hedgehogs!
14th July 2017 at 8:28 am #6955
After much suspicious activity during daylight hours over the last few weeks and little hoglet sized parcels starting to appear around the garden, we have been eagerly awaiting the first sightings of this year’s offspring, but as yet the cameras have recorded nothing of the miniature prickly balls. With at least five large rampant males patrolling the patio each evening, it probably wouldn’t be the wisest place for any self respecting mother to bring her newborns on a night out, so I can’t really say that I am surprised. However, it looks like one inexperienced mother has been very neglectful of her parental duties, after a young hoglet was found on a neighbour’s patio in the heat of the day. Thankfully there were no obvious injuries, only a few undesirable lodgers, but the youngster was quite lethargic, dehydrated and at 218 grams a bit small to be venturing out on its own without a chaperone. So once again another wayward youngster has had to be admitted to The Rehabilitation Centre for ‘Wild’ Hedgehogs. Despite being full to bursting, they just managed to squeeze her in as long as she didn’t mind sharing a double room with another inmate… And who is this neglectful teenage mother I here you ask?…well it just so happens that she (no name as yet) is the spitting image of Tippy Toe, very dark ears, a dark nose, long legs and an escape artist in training!
Bruno turned up early for his tea last night, so I got my first glimpse of this monster hog during daylight. He looks very different in the flesh, with a very dark face and a light stripe down the centre of his nose, so that given his size he could be mistaken for a badger! It was a real treat watching his nose twisting in all directions trying to work out where this human intruder was located. It was so contorted at one point that I got a great view of his pearly white teeth! Of course, once he had tracked down my position, he was off into the bushes like a shot and despite my best efforts to track his movements he did the usual vanishing trick!25th July 2017 at 10:58 am #7066
Miniature number two’s still litter the garden, so I know that the hoglets are out there somewhere, but still no sightings. TT really has got them well trained. For the past couple of weeks she has been entering the garden by a different route, usually around 9pm. I have set two cameras up most nights to try and capture her on film whilst it’s still light, but they have only captured her twice. On at least two occasions I have watched her with my own eyes glance at the camera from a distance and then take a different route across the garden to avoid it! On another occasion, I was waiting for her to arrive and take her usual route to the dish of food at the top of the garden; after about half an hour I gave up and walked into the kitchen only to find that she had already been and gone, leaving a half empty dish on the doorstep! On checking the video footage the following morning, she was captured at the usual time walking towards where I was on look out, but I had seen nothing. So, either this is more evidence of the well documented cloaking device, or I ‘should have gone to specsavers’!
At the moment, all of the patients at our local rescue are being named after Harry Potter characters, so the little one found out during the day on a neighbour’s garden has been called Nagini. Just too much of a coincidence don’t you think, maybe the carers know more about their hidden talents than they’re letting on…
I could hear a hedgehog chomping away in the feeding station the other evening, so I waited with the camera to capture it leaving. Yet again it was TT, but instead of doing a runner, she just sat and stared at me without moving for a good five minutes…not quite sure what was going on there, maybe hypnotism is another of her hidden talents!
The new feeding station mark 3 is still cat proof and even the ‘cat from hell’ hasn’t managed to break in. It was built in an afternoon with a length of 9” x 1” and 7” x 1” timber and a piece of marine ply at a cost of just over £20.00.25th July 2017 at 11:41 pm #7077
Poor little thing being called Nagini – not the nicest of characters – as I recall.
There is a young female who visits here and I’m sure she must have picked up the teleporting thing from somewhere. I look away for a fraction of a second and she had completely disappeared. Love the idea of TT practising hypnotism!
I think the Mark 3 feeding station is brilliant. One of my hog boxes has a similar entrance and seems to be fairly cat resistant but having two entrance/exits is even better.26th July 2017 at 8:46 am #7078
My Harry Potter’s a bit rusty I’m afraid, I can’t remember a Nagini; perhaps she’s a bit of a handful, I know TT used to trash her room on a regular basis! Harry’s just been released, so goodness only knows what they’ll be getting up to next. Poor Sirius is completely bald and waiting for his spines and fur to grow back, so he’ll be out of action for a while yet.
It never ceases to amaze me how they can just vanish in the blink of an eye, it’s not as though they are small creatures.
The hogs have all been arriving after midnight for the last few days (since the torrential rain) and although there are plenty of them recorded on the cameras, they are not eating much, so there must be plenty of their natural food around.
One of the cameras recorded a thrush this morning, which was nice. We used to hear them knocking hell out of the snails on a daily basis, but it’s a rarity these days and we are overrun with the slimy beasts –something else that steals the hogs dinner!
I see on another post that you’ve recorded a rat! I know that I moan about the cats, but at least they are good for something. Thankfully I haven’t seen or recorded any yet, but my next door neighbour has, urghhh!
The new feeding station was a doddle to make; even I got busy with the saw! It’s very easy to keep clean and the hogs love it. The fact that it has two entrances/exits has made a huge difference; they know that they can make a quick getaway if need be.26th July 2017 at 9:31 am #7079
Might be remembering wrong, but am thinking that Nagini was Voldemorte’s snake? I’m sure the little thing couldn’t be that bad! Love the idea of little Harry and Sirius hogs, though.
You are so lucky to have a thrush in the garden – I haven’t seen one here for ages, and, like you, used to hear them a lot. The rat was quite a while ago – fascinating to see it catching worms. It actually caught several and was more adept at it than the hedgehog that was caught on cam. I get surprisingly few rats here considering. Can still, just about, count the ones I have seen on one hand and I’ve been here years. They are just such a pest when they do appear. I remember, years ago, seeing one jumping and landing on a hedgehog, probably by mistake, but even so – poor hog. They both ran off.
I think having the two entrances/exits is the key to your new feeding station. I remember seeing two large males going into my hog box once. I’m sure the less dominant one would have welcomed an escape route.26th July 2017 at 1:57 pm #7081
Nic, you’re right, Nagini was Lord Voldemorte’s snake. Poor thing, I know that they’ve been extremely busy lately, perhaps there were very few names left to choose from.
Back to the subject of birds, we also had Mistle thrushes living in the garden for many years, until one spring I found the headless body of an adult on the lawn, just below its nest of chicks. The chicks must have also perished, because we have rarely seen one since. Because they spend so much of their time on the ground listening for worms, I suppose it makes them very vulnerable to cats- there I go again!
On a brighter note, this has been a bumper year for baby birds in the garden; we even have a green woodpecker and its chicks around at the moment. They are very shy, so I have only caught a fleeting glimpse now and again, but you can hear the parents calling to the chicks.
Sven has been incredibly busy raising his young and I am pretty sure that he is on his third brood! There was no sign of his mrs feeding the last lot, and then out of the blue arrived another batch of youngsters. She must have been busy incubating another clutch of eggs whilst poor Sven was run off his feet. I know that you worry about hedgehogs becoming reliant on us feeding them, but I am more worried about the blackbirds eating the cat biscuits! Having said that, Sven and the rest of his offspring look incredibly healthy, with barely a grey feather to speak of.
With no clips of any hoglets yet, I thought I would post this of the man himself stealing the hedgehog food and a young squirrel chasing off a wood pigeon…can’t blame it for that!28th July 2017 at 2:34 pm #7096
Very sad about the mistle thrushes. There have been a lot of baby birds here too – mostly starlings and house sparrows, but others as well. You are lucky having green woodpeckers. Years ago, the blackbirds made their nests a few times right outside the house, so I got a really good view of what was going on. With the first brood, he used to feed them and also sometimes sit on the eggs or brood the babies to give her a break. It was quite funny because she used to sit perfectly still, looking perfecly relaxed, when I went past, but if he was there he used to look very worried and jiggle around. When the babies left the nest he was totally responsible for them and she immediately got on with the next brood, which she seemed to deal with completely by herself until they left the nest. I suppose it was a bit warmer by then, so easier to leave them to get some food. Not sure he would have had time anyway with all those youngsters shrieking at him all the time.
It is not so much worrying about the hogs becoming reliant on us, although that is not ideal either, so much as that wild food is better than anything we can offer them. And if they ate a greater proportion of wild food, the less than ideal nature of what we feed them would become less important. So whilst trying to improve what is being fed, I feel we should be trying to reduce the need for it. We seem to spend more time talking about food and feeding hogs, than the most important thing, which is improving and increasing their habitat so that they can feed themselves.
I have often, even wondered about cat/dog food. The people who make it spend a lot of money on research, etc. making it ideal for cats and ideal differently for dogs. It seems to me, hedgehogs are more different to either cats or dogs than they are to each other. I supose the market isn’t big enough for anyone to concentrate so many resources into researching hedgehog food to the same extent.
I recently came across an extract from From Wildlife on line – European hedgehog:
… ‘Hedgehogs have a propensity for eating almost anything and will readily consume high fat foods (e.g. cat food, processed meats, etc.) put out in gardens and if offered in captivity. Hedgehog metabolism is geared to the digestion of high protein invertebrate prey and unrestricted access to high-fat foods can result in fatty liver disease, obesity and coronary complications as is seen among humans.’ ….
I am not suggesting that people should not feed hedgehogs at all. I am sure that supplementary feeding the hogs must, on balance, be beneficial to them, due to the insufficient amount of good habitat, especially at times of need – drought, pre and post hibernation, raising young, etc. But, ‘supplementary’ is the key word – leaving them time to hunt for themselves as well and not leaving out large amounts of ‘easy’ food all night. It probably didn’t matter so much when comparatively fewer people were feeding the hogs, but it may be too much easy access to unnatural food which is contributing to the problems of Metabolic Bone Disease, etc. Improving/expanding habitat is, as I see it, the really important thing and what Hedgehog Street is really about.
To that end, I have recently treated myself to a new shrub – deciduous – so nice leaves for hog nests, flowers and berries, and generally more wildlife friendly than the evergreen thing (which I don’t much like anyway) which it will replace. Whenever I find a hawthorn seedling, I put it in a pot to grow on and now have the beginnings of a little shrub area. Small things and easy to do, but hopefuly will be an improvement for the hogs. Even so, my small garden could never be enough on it’s own.
Not so much hoglet activity last night. I think they might be exploring further afield. I know they have to, but it is a dangerous time for them. I haven’t seen one of the girls for a couple of nights – a bit worrying with a buildng site nearby. Hope it is nothing to do with that and that she has hoglets.
Love the video, as always. Cheeky little squirrel! I liked the way the pigeon, initially, almost ignored it.3rd August 2017 at 12:25 pm #7164
Interesting that the male blackbird incubated the eggs as well, they do make fantastic parents, I often think that they could teach mankind a thing or two about raising offspring!
I have missed the starlings this year, they have been nesting under a neighbour’s clay pantile roof every year for as long as I can remember, until this year that is. I have a suspicion that last year they were on a mission to rid their property of any unwanted guests and one day had workmen round to seal up any likely nest holes. The squirrels were certainly unimpressed and spent the rest of that afternoon running up and down the ridge tiles screaming relentlessly! Of course that had nothing to do with my investment in a squirrel feeder earlier this year. 🙂
A very interesting article about hedgehogs, with some very useful information once you get your head around the academic stuff. The Purina One kitten biscuits – their favourites – are 41% protein, the highest that I have come across so that’s reassuring. We have plenty of their favourite black beetles in the garden; I once tried using one of those beer slug traps seeing as the hogs were failing in their duties. It remained empty for a few days whilst I tried to persuade hubby to part with a drop of beer, but in the meantime it filled up with black beetles.
I am also collecting hawthorn seedlings, although I don’t know what I am going to do with them all. The bird feeders are in a hawthorn tree and they love it. The dreaded honey fungus tried to have a go at it, but it just sent out new shoots. The building site’s a bit of a worry, they haven’t started building on the land that they cleared at the back of us yet, but I’m sure that it won’t be long. 🙁
After reading somewhere on the forum about hoglets struggling to get up steps, I thought that I had better provide a brick to help them get up ours. Sure enough, that night a little boy appeared and the following night a little girl, probably Nagini’s siblings, they certainly look alike.
Bruno came across a courting couple the other night and instead of trying to muscle in on the action, which would be the usual response, he decided to do the decent thing and leave them to it. He does look as though he’s been eating a few too many pies, but he was the same size when he came out of hibernation.
I bought a new bird/hedgehog bath the other day. Who on earth would have thought that the innocent looking bird on the side would prove to be such a health & safety hazard for hedgehogs!!! I thought at first that there were just two hedgehogs fighting, but it appears that the first thug was young Enzo (TT’s Sibling) who leaves the scene after a parting head butt, only to be replaced shortly after by Arnie.3rd August 2017 at 2:31 pm #7165
Oh dear! that collision with the birdbath bird looked as if it could have been painful. Poor hog! I see the hogs are refusing to roll up. I seem to be going through a spell with fewer boys visiting at the moment, so not as much aggression. The Boss hog seems to be doing a fair bit of patrolling but, perhaps all the girls are less interesting at the moment. I am amazed he is still boss hog – this must be the third year.
It’s so sad when people block the nesting holes. The birds don’t do any harm. I seem to have had a bumper year for starlings this year. Some were nesting in my roof, but there seem to be about 4 families, with 4 youngsters each. Quite a crowd when they all descend at once on the bird tables.
I sometimes wonder what I am going to do with all the hawthorn seedlings too. Might end up with a complete thicket! – my garden isn’t that big. But hawthorns can make lovely trees, although I will have to keep mine as bushes. I also seem to get a fair few dogwood seedlings as well.
Glad to hear you have some hoglets there now. Now the ones here are growing a bit, I am beginning to wonder whether there are actually 4. I have seen three at the same time, but their markings are beginning to be a bit different from each other now, so they’re getting easier to tell apart.
I have seen the hog who used to come through the building site garden the last few nights, which is a relief, but no work has been done there for about a week. At least she wasn’t buried under the last lot of cement which was poured in. I will be glad when the building work is over and things can settle down for the hogs again.
Have had a bit of a disaster with all my hog videos and photos – stupidly mostly on one USB flash drive and now it is refusing to let me access it/them and tells me it needs formatting. Of course, if I do that everything will be wiped off – about 30 GB. It was meant to be my task for the winter to pick out the best bits. I suppose the only consolation is that it isn’t a load of irreplaceable family photos potentially lost, and I have seen them all and recorded the comings and goings. I have tried different USB ports and a different computer, but no luck. Not giving up quite yet, so if you have any ideas?
Talking about cams, etc. one of my cams has picked up bats a few times, which is really interesting – luckily not on the misbehaving flash drive. To start with I thought I was seeing really big moths, but more recently I have been able to see the wings better and the ears and even one catching a moth. That cam is near a buddleia, so loads of moths around for them to eat. An unexpected bonus.5th August 2017 at 9:41 am #7182
Very frustrating about the Flash drive. I have asked the techies in the house, but no answers unfortunately.
Glad your missing hog has returned, Boris one of our regulars hasn’t been seen for over a week, which is very unusual. Simba hasn’t been around for a while either, but then he does go AWOL occasionally. Another young hog turned up last night and this one is covered in ticks, so it looks as though I am going to have to put the tick lasso to good use again…just need to catch it first!
Very lucky to catch the bats on video. We have occasionally caught glimpses of them on the cameras and like you thought that they were moths, until we realised that they were far too big. I set up a camera in front of the buddleia bush last night, but all it recorded was a couple of cats and another of their well trodden routes into the garden. 🙁 I purchased a bat box a few weeks ago, but I am still waiting for someone brave enough to put it up in the tree!5th August 2017 at 9:57 am #7183
Oops… I almost forgot to mention Sven. It seems I was right to worry about the blackbirds eating the hedgehog food. Sven has now been captured on video using the hedgehog holes to get around; he now thinks he’s a hedgehog! Why bother with flying when you can use the ‘hedgehog highway’!7th August 2017 at 11:07 am #7204
Clever old Sven! That is very funny. Perhaps he will come back after moulting with a smart new set of spines.
Well it seems the boys are back in town. Typical hogs – as soon as you say there aren’t many boys about, they turn up! I sometimes wonder whether they go walkabout at this time of the year, because I have been seeing some ‘strangers’. One that I caught a brief glimpse of last night, looks suspiciously like one that I did a sketch of in the Spring but haven’t seen since. He has quite unusual markings for round here.
One of the cams caught a ferocious looking fight down the garden – nowhere near the feeding area – so don’t think it was anything to do with food. Still catching bats on the cam, but, as yet, no hogs and bats on the same video. By the way, the cam is sort of sideways on to the buddleia, so you can’t actually see much of it, if you still want to try for bats. There is a clear area of lawn in front of it where they can swoop around. Good luck with the bat box.16th September 2017 at 9:07 am #7737
Have just had a good read of your blogs. They are great. I have just one comment to make. Whilst watching the video clip of Cute Baby hedgehog with
Simba’s attempts to entice her, who are the watching eyes going past the driveway gates several times? You are not alone, apparently.18th September 2017 at 3:17 pm #7765
It’s nice to know that someone reads my ramblings. I’m a bit behind with my updates, I’ve been a bit preoccupied with ‘mutant rampaging teenagers’, give me hedgehogs any day…Arghhhh!!!
Yes, those eyes are a bit freaky, but it’s a regular occurrence I’m afraid, the cats lurk in the background waiting for the hogs to uncover the food.
Well, it seems that the constant sparing between the regular boys Simba, Arnie, Boris, Bruno and Enzo has proved a bit much and all five have been AWOL for around the last six weeks. They were replaced for a short while by a couple of equally grumpy males. One of them was so aggressive that I had to stop myself naming him Voldemort. The boys usually dish out the beatings amongst themselves, but this thug was quite happy to knock around the ladies and the young juveniles, something which I have not witnessed before.
TT hasn’t been seen for several weeks, so I assume that she has gone back to full stealth mode now that she doesn’t have any dependant offspring messing up her nightly undercover operations. It’s very easy for the hogs to enter the new feeding station unseen, without triggering the camera so I am assuming that she is still around somewhere, I don’t want to contemplate the alternatives.
Young Nagini returned home just over 4 weeks ago a much rounder 675grams, along with a young male companion Ben. They have since joined forces with Nagini’s brother Draco (in keeping with the Harry Potter theme) and all hell has broken loose, they have certainly been living up to their names. Young Ben has been chasing off the next door neighbour’s cats and other males nearly twice his size, whilst Nagini has been seeing off any male suitors with the loudest huffing that we’ve ever heard. She only has eyes for Ben it seems, the two of them arrive together most evenings and even share the food bowl; something which we rarely see…so sweet!
As I have mentioned on another thread somewhere, I have long suspected that Bruno might be two different hogs and it turns out that I was right, so we now have a Bruno (or we did!) and a very formidable Brenda. Brenda is the hog in the photo above, so that explains why she left the courting couple to it and didn’t try and ‘gate crash’ the party! I am hoping that she has produced some hoglets, because in the last week, she has gone from policing the patio all night and scoffing everything in sight to barely being seen at all. She seems to have adopted TT’s behaviour when she had hoglets, a quick dash out for refreshments whilst the kids are asleep and back through the hedgehog hole in the blink of an eye. I’m certainly not worried about any offspring of Brenda’s reaching hibernation weight if their mother is anything to go by. Fingers crossed for little porkys on the patio very soon…
Here’s a video of their latest antics with young Ben chasing off a cat!29th September 2017 at 10:41 am #7862
Well it seems that I was a bit premature in judging our hedgehogs as being better behaved than the youth of today. Several shocking incidents over the past week, I am forced to admit, have proved me wrong. I usually leave a couple of dishes of food around the garden as well as in the feeding station, but after an influx of ravenous felines and the return of the ‘cat from hell’ I have had to remove them in the interest of the hogs safety, after a particularly nasty outburst was caught on camera. To make amends I upped their rations of kitten biscuits in the feeding station and also treated them to a dish of wet Spikes. The following morning as I lifted the lid on the diner, I was greeted by a swarm of blue bottles and a stomach churning mess! Most of the wet Spikes had been thrown out of the dish and trampled into the floor along with as many number two’s as they could possibly muster. Even the half a dozen mealworm garnish had been cast aside, whilst every biscuit had been eaten, leaving me in no doubt that this was yet another of their prickly protests.
But that was nothing compared to the shocking behaviour on the drive in full view of the neighbours! Whilst hubby was busy in the garage one night with the door wide open, he was alerted to the familiar huffing sound of the pricklys courtship dance. A bit late in the year he thought for such seedy goings on, but there in the full glare of the fluorescent lights was young Nagini and yet another male suitor cavorting around a box plant. Standing only a couple of feet away, they paid no attention to his presence and carried on regardless…have they no shame! I’m pretty sure that Nagini, at just 4 months old, is too young to produce offspring, but if not we could potentially be seeing newborn hoglets in December!!!
Meanwhile, I’m fairly certain that I spotted TT and Bruno on camera the other night and a couple of new juveniles which is reassuring, but no new sightings of the now elusive Brenda. Sven (the blackbird that thinks he’s a hedgehog!) is still in hiding with the rest of his mates awaiting his new set of feathers – or spikes – and only comes out at dusk. 🙂
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