Our Hedgehog Tale
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- This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 2 months ago by Nic.
19th March 2021 at 1:00 pm #29846
One night last summer I was closing the curtains as we were going to bed when I heard a strange grunting noise coming from the back garden. We live in a bungalow and the window was open slightly, so the noise sounded quite loud. I ventured out with a torch to investigate, and found two hogs noisily on with what I now know to be their courting ritual in the middle of our back lawn. We had spotted the odd hog in the vicinity of our property over the years, but not in the garden before.
We live on a small estate, not particularly close to open fields or woodland, so concluded these must be urban hogs that live in one of our neighbour’s gardens, but there was no obvious route into our garden. We bought a couple of small bowls and a box of cat biscuits and the two hogs came back every night for their meal and a drink of water, and were soon joined by another pair of adult hogs.
I made a feeding station from an upturned plastic storage box, with an arch shaped entrance cut in one end. Some nights we’d watch the hogs on their early evening visits through the bedroom window, but decided it was time to invest in a trail-cam to check out what they were up to throughout the night. The camera worked great and I was capturing some really interesting and entertaining footage.
From the camera footage we worked out that the hedgehogs were coming under our large back gates from the cul-de-sac to the rear of the bungalow which leads to our garage. We watched them come under the gate, turn immediately right down a couple of steps, and along a narrow passage round the back of our garden shed before emerging onto the lawn. Wishing to expand their roaming options, I installed a small wooden ramp from the lawn up onto our raised decking then up onto a raised soil area in the bottom corner of the garden under a large tree. The hogs made full use of the assault course I’d provided and were soon enjoying access to all corners of our garden. Late in the summer our hog numbers swelled to four adults and up to four youngsters, but then as winter approached the numbers of nightly visitors started to drop off, maybe the youngsters where going their separate ways?
We thought it would be nice to provide a hog house for hibernation should one of our visitors like to become a resident for the winter, so built a cosy little rustic wood cabin and sited it under the tree at the bottom of the garden. We provided a storage box alongside the log hog cabin with clean hay and dried leaves, most of which over a couple of weeks and some very busy nights was transferred into the cabin by a large male hog (we called him Bigog). Over the next few weeks into December he would stay over for a few nights at a time, but we weren’t totally sure if he’d hibernated in there. We left fresh biscuits and water out throughout the winter in case he or any other passers by needed some sustenance, which wasn’t touched until a couple of weeks ago.
The following night we excitedly put the camera out to see who had taken the biscuits, and to our surprise it was a smaller female hog (we’ve called her Oggie), who emerged from the hog cabin under the tree, down the ramp onto the lawn, round the back of the shed, and over to the feeding station, before returning to the cabin. She seems quite at home in the cabin and around the garden and has continued to have a good feed every night since. So, we are thinking perhaps Bigog did all the hard work preparing the cabin for hibernation, but it was actually Oggie that stumbled upon it and moved in for the winter!
Who knows, if she decides to stay around we might have some little Oggie Oggie Oggies in spring!19th March 2021 at 7:58 pm #29855
That’s a lovely tale! Sounds as if those hedgehogs have you ‘wrapped around their little paws’! Fingers crossed for some hoglets going round your obstacle course, later on.19th March 2021 at 9:12 pm #29857
Hi Nic. Yes, wrapped round their little paws! This has been a difficult year for us all, and I think we owe our little night time visitors a whole heap of gratitude for the entertainment and joy they’ve brought us. Now we’re all set up with a hedgehog friendly garden we’ll hopefully be a hog garden of choice for many years to come.19th March 2021 at 9:20 pm #29858
That’s a really lovely sentiment. You’re right the hogs are brilliant at cheering us all up and they pay us back many times over for anything we may do to help them. This is a lovely time of year with them all beginning to return from hibernation. Here’s hoping for a really good hedgehog year and good luck to all hedgehogs everywhere.
Happy hog watching!
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