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Our little hog friend of last year hasn't reappeared

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Our little hog friend of last year hasn't reappeared

  • This topic has 198 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by Avatar photoNic.
Viewing 15 posts - 166 through 180 (of 199 total)
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  • #11853

    Meet Henry, my new profile picture!

    Avatar photo

    Hi Annie

    I’ll reply properly to your previous post later, but just wanted to say how cute little Henry is. Henry Hog sounds a very good name successor to Harriet Hog. He looks quite dark and ‘Digger-ish’ although he still looks quite small. Lovely little chap.

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    Hi Annie

    I was so sorry to hear about your Mum. You spoke so nicely about her. Sorry you’ve been having such a rough time recently.

    I’m so pleased that you now have young Henry to cheer you up. Re. The tail – sometimes it is just how tall they are standing on their legs whether it shows or not, but it would be nice if Henry has a companion. Really good to know he is doing so well.

    The very night I wrote last, a mouse appeared again. Would you believe it! So I’m back to getting dozens of mouse videos. As of a couple of days ago, I also have 3 hogs visiting. I spotted, on video, a small hoglet on the grass (sadly, already excessively marked even though it’s so small) and it was back last night eating some food. Really cute. Maybe it was Digger’s! It would be nice to think so. The trouble with Digger is that she has visited here almost every night (except for hibernation and hoglet breaks) for at least 4 years, so I don’t know why she would suddenly stop coming if she was still around. If she doesn’t come back, she has done pretty well and there must be a few of her offspring running around.

    I always think Splash might have been Digger’s, because she has some of her mannerisms even though she is much paler. Also the night before last, there was another hog there with Splash. I think it was the little one I saw a while back who looked like a smaller version of Splash. If so, it has grown a bit and now has some differentiating features. I don’t think Splash was all that ‘amused’ at having to share ‘her’ feeding area with another hog. Both, at different times, seem to spend a fair amount of time foraging on the grass. One of them, I think the new one ‘Mask’, spent the day in the feed box yesterday! No bedding at all. Just a few poos in there this morning!

    I also saw Splash tackling a medium sized slug. She seemed to roll it around a bit first but then started eating. She ate a little bit, went away and then went back again, a few times. I have never seen a hog eating a slug that big before. There was still some food left, so that wasn’t the reason.

    The problem with hogs, and whether they are related to each other, is that we keep hearing about quite large numbers of hogs which are being released in various places, so there is really no way of knowing. I just hope that the areas of release are properly and thoroughly researched beforehand (including making contact with any local hog watchers), to ensure that any further releases are not going to impact adversely on any existing population. I fear that this may not always be the case. There may be a healthy population in an area which is the size that the local habitat can support and introducing more may put them all at risk. It seems to me it would be desirable if there was some sort of standard by which all rescues had to abide. There appears to be a bit of a free for all, with standards varying widely and anyone being able to set up a rescue, however limited their knowledge may be. I know they are trying to help the hogs, but that doesn’t mean that, sometimes, the way things are gone about are not misguided.

    I also fear that human intervention might not always be in the long term interests of the hedgehogs. In our desire to help we may, inadvertently, be creating a less robust hedgehog who comes to rely solely on handouts from humans. Too much emphasis is put on feeding hedgehogs and not enough on improving/increasing suitable habitat for them. It would be a sad day, I feel, if hogs only exist by relying completely on handouts.

    It’s a shame about your neighbour’s fence. Near here, not long ago, they put in quite a long stretch of that really tall curbing that is sort of curved and almost seems to have a bit of an overhang. It looks as if a hog wouldn’t be able to get up it at all. That might be why I found a poor dead hog not far away from there on the other side of the road a few months ago. I thought they were supposed to be making roads better for hogs, not worse. Makes me so cross. I can’t even see why such a thing is necessary where it is.

    Your young magpie sounds a character! The blackbirds here are still missing, but the sparrows all try to crowd into the birdbath together and send water flying in all directions. The starlings also seem to have a lovely time at their daily bath, emptying an inch or two of water out of one of my tub ‘ponds’. I wonder what the poor frogs think of the invasion! I’m not sure how many there are now, but at least one spotty one and another smaller darker one. The large one sometimes makes me jump – by jumping(!) – when I am replenishing the water in the evening.

    I had to laugh about ‘how do people find time to wear all those things’. So true!


    Hi Nic

    Thanks for your kind words, ridiculously things just got worse on Mon 24th, I was heading for the railway station to go to Devon for a few days’ R&R at my friends’ vegan guest house when I tripped & went down like a sack of spuds. Result – A&E & Trauma visits, several of, then when a bed was available a grotty op on my wrist to put a plate in, bruises everywhere, stitches in my face, battered knees, a right mess. And of course no Devon. Other than that everything’s great!

    Been setting the camera the last few nights & Henry’s still visiting & being pestered by Nala, Frankie’s old friend. Hubby fed him while I couldn’t but the camera had a break. Bad choice of words. Nala blocks the camera & is clearly watching him off camera, he’s frightened of her because he does that head down forehead all forward spikes thing & waits til she goes. Nosy cat, never seen a cat so interested in a hog in my garden anyway. Frankie pretty much ignored them apart from the night he came on 2 of them unexpectedly & leapt several feet in the air & over them with surprise more than anything.

    Such a shame Digger’s not reappeared, also the hoglet markings by idiotic human.

    It’s a bit weird releasing hogs anywhere but their original homes, don’t think I knew they did otherwise after rehabilitation. On a sort of similar subject I saw or heard an item recently about honey bees advising that they don’t play a part in pollination as they collect nectar a particular way to benefit their community that doesn’t transfer pollen from plant to plant & they can upset the balance of nature preventing regular bees from having food & also the plants themselves suffering. If you introduce honey bees in a possibly plant poor area you seriously damage the success of both plant & bee is how I understood it.

    Hilarious but a nuisance we tempted your mice back by talking about them, hope they all go back to wherever they’ve been.

    Baby magpie has discovered Elaine’s dry cat food, he sits on the rail by the front door & makes high speed raids on her dish!

    I hope hogs don’t get reliant on food left for them, it’s a tough one, depends possibly on how much is left for them in an area & how much foraging they do at the same time & unless they’ll complete questionnaires not sure how to find out. Henry often deposits just one leaf in the empty dish, we decided as it’s only one each time & there are so many out there it may be a thank you note or hog currency perhaps! He spends a huge amount of time snuffling about in the leaves, must be loads of little things to eat there.

    Distinctly yuck Splash & the medium slug, what they must taste like I hate to think. I know they make an appalling stain on the carpet if you accidentally bring one in from the garden & step on it – yes, I did, no I didn’t mean to & the stain was orange & took a lot of effort to remove.

    If I was a frog in your pond tubs I’d lie low & keep very still when the rabble arrive for their noisy baths & think nasty taste thoughts to put off any bird that spotted me.

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    Oh Annie, that’s terrible – not fair at all. It all sounds horrid – and what a time for it to happen just when you were meant to be having a nice break. I hope you are beginning to feel a bit better from it all now and will get another chance to have your break at your friend’s sometime soon.

    Interesting that Henry’s wary of Nala. Splash does that with one of the cats who visits here. Naughty Splash doesn’t seem to have learned hog etiquette – that they are gentle with hoglets – and nudges the little hoglet out of the way! The little thing doesn’t seem too bothered though, which is good. It’s such a cute little thing. Growing quickly, so I hope it will be ok for hibernation. The nice thing is that with the bit of rain we had a while back, most of the marks have disappeared. I only hope it stays that way until hibernation. Sadly still no Digger.

    The releasing thing is a worry. The BHPS and others have produced a leaflet about it.
    Co-incidentally Stef drew our attention to it not long after I mentioned the problem to you. I don’t understand the thing about honey bees not pollinating. I thought that was what they were known for. Has someone suddenly discovered that they don’t? Although I can understand it maybe not being a good idea introducing them if it’s a poor plant area.

    The mice have mysteriously disappeared again. Not sure what is happening. Will have to wait and see if they re-appear now they’re being mentioned again! Although, now there are the three hogs, there isn’t so much time for them to get a look in.

    Mask, who I think is a male, tears around the place and I’m a bit worried that he is wasting too much energy running everywhere rather than putting on weight for hibernation. He tears around the grass – suddenly stops, as if he’s found something – and then tears off again. Not sure if he can really have found anything moving that fast! Splash on the other hand is looking fairly portly. Mostly, they visit separately and don’t seem to be the best of buddies.

    I agree, it’s almost impossible to know how much natural food versus artificial food the hogs are getting. Although you can get a bit of idea from their poos. If they have a mainly natural diet, they tend to look quite dark, with shiny beetle wings, etc. visible. But, if they eat a lot of cat or hog food they tend to look paler. Roughly the colour of whatever they eat. But then, of course, if they are eating lots of earthworms or yucky slugs(!) they would be paler too. I love it that Henry leaves you a leaf!

    I was beginning to wonder whether there was a leak in the pond because the water went down so much, but now the weather is cooler, the starlings don’t seem to be bathing so much and the water is barely going down at all, which is good. I think the frogs dive down to the bottom when the pond gets invaded. I don’t see them that often, they seem to be very clever at hiding. I have been beginning to see the occasional blackbird, on the camera early in the morning when it’s barely light, but still none later on.

    I hope you stay safe and make a quick recovery.


    Hi Nic

    Just a quick reply, more later. Thanks for your kind words, doing my best to get well & avoid any repetitions.

    Honeybees actually seem to be the main pollinators for certain species now I’ve had a patch of clear head to look it up, can’t imagine what I was listening to that said otherwise. They clearly said you should be very cautious of starting off a hive, possibly a best forgotten memory.

    Henry bit hit & miss this week but yesterday an empty dish & a leaf!

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    I think you can be forgiven for the odd mishearing with all your injuries! And some of it sounded quite feasible.

    Always a bit sad at this time of year when the hogs disappear. With him being a male, it wouldn’t be surprising if Henry is planning for hibernation already. I have two hoglets here now. They are so entertaining, both insisting they want the same bowl, but as they like standing in them, there isn’t really room for two! It’s busier here now than it was half the summer!


    Hi Nic

    Henry’s visits became further apart but had at least one visit this week. Frankie’s friend Nala appeared over 100 times one night, obviously watching a hog but all you could see was her & then nothing as the batteries went flat!
    Have bought some now so we’ll see what appears tonight onwards.
    Are your hoglets still active?


    Forgot to mention, horrifyingly misinformed piece in the latest RSPB magazine, have just emailed the guy whose page the article was on. It was from a family saying how wildlife friendly their garden is & how they put mealworms & water out every night & have up to 4 hogs at a time. They might be already damaged beyond recovery & also the fact the article was printed gives the lie then to the acceptability of feeding mealworms to countless RSPB members & readers of the magazine. I referred him to the forum here as it’s been discussed so many times.
    Incredibly irresponsible, can’t believe they printed it.

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    Hi Annie

    That is so irresponsible of RSPB not to check out that information before publishing. Well done emailing them. The only thing is, I fear they may take little notice of what’s on the Forum and may need something with more authority. I don’t know what can be done about it, but it really is the worst time of year for people to start feeding mealworms, when the hogs need good nutritious food in the run up to hibernation. I feel at the very least they should put a correction on their website and print a correction to it in their next magazine. But very many people will have seen it who don’t look at the website and what is worse will believe it because it was in an RSPB magazine. Here are some links which you may want to pass to the RSPB.

    Hedgehog Street link about mealworms.

    Metabolic bone disease Caroline Gould from Vale. (metabolic bone disease video can be accessed via this link)

    Little Silver Heddgehog from 2017 hedgehog with metabolic bone disease

    I wonder whether it is worth contacting Emily at Hedgehog Street (email at bottom of page). I don’t think I can really do it because I haven’t seen the article.

    Onto lighter matters! Nala certainly sounds as if she likes the limelight! The hoglets here are still out and about as is Mask, with the occasional absence. Unfortunately poor Mask looks as if he’s been blobbed again. I think he was an early hoglet as he isn’t all that big. Just the three of them at the moment – except the mouse is back and last night, unfortunately, a rat. I hope they don’t decide to do a ‘Horace’. That was quite hard work trying to make sure there was food for him and not the rats and cats all winter!

    I was cutting back my wild flower patch the other day (I do it all by hand, either pulling or cutting tougher things with small one hand shears) when a baby frog hopped out. I felt a bit mean for spoiling it’s home, but managed to catch it and move it to another nearby area of long grass. The grass had to be cut, otherwise it would just take over the whole area, at the expense of the flowers. But, it made it feel all the more worthwhile doing it all by hand. If someone had strimmed the area, the poor frog would almost certainly have been strimmed as well. It just shows, though that there can be frogs which aren’t all that close to a pond. I haven’t seen the frogs in the pond recently but I suppose it’s getting a bit cold for them.

    I have been seeing some nice groups of starlings flying around – a very mini-murmuration, but still lovely to see. Especially when they all waterfall down onto a berry bush. There is a real whoosh when they all fly over.


    A quick reply re RSPB, he answered straight away & has written a corrective piece for the next magazine as he agreed it was a terrible faux pas to have printed the misinformation. I’ll email him again & ask he gets a piece put on their website too to make it clearer.

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    That’s really brilliant, Annie. Well done. Good thing you read your magazine!


    Hi Nic

    Tried replying to you week or two ago but apparently it never happened, went through infinite pages of that stupid confirmation I’m not a robot thing with pictures that are so unclear it’s impossible to get it right & evidently didn’t!

    Henry has disappeared into hibernation I hope.
    How’s your garden doing?

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    Hi Annie

    I agree that not a robot thing can be an absolute pest. Sometimes it lets you straight through and others seems to go on endlessly!

    I just have the two hoglets left. I’m beginning to wonder if they are both going to do a Horace. That would be a bit tricky as the neighbourhood cats seem to have started arriving in force. I think I’ve finally managed to keep them out of one of the feed boxes, but I think only one hoglet goes in the boxes – so I still have to leave some food outside as well.

    My garden is almost covered in leaves at the moment (so the hoglets have plenty of choice of leaves). I usually rake them to the edges, but haven’t got round to it yet.

    Apart from the hoglets, I still have the mouse visiting. How does it manage to know when to turn up between all those cats! I don’t think it eats much, so I’m not worried about that. The birds, surprisingly are a bit quiet at the moment. Maybe the cold weather we’re being told about will change that. We have been getting some quite decent sized flocks of starlings flying around – not a murmuration but nice to see. Luckily they don’t seem to expect me to feed them all – that might become a bit expensive!


    Hi Nic

    Usually it’s just a tick in the box but last time it went completely potty with blurred images of goodness knows what.

    It’s so weird the assorted animals appear & disappear, like your cat & mouse visitors. No hog is eating the food I’m leaving out & today Chino (a neighbouring cat) helped herself to the dish & ate it all. She’s small so able to get herself into the entrance of the food shelter enough to drag it out. Fresh stuff out for tonight & clean water just in case, such a relief to find the water staying liquid in freezing conditions if it’s in the shelter as that always worries me.

    Pity both your hoglets aren’t going in the boxes, would be easier for you as well as them. Lots of leaves around my garden, leaving them where they are in the hope they’ll be carted off to wherever any hog might be making a winter home nearby.

    Today has seen the bird feeder refilled about 5 times, starlings in double numbers & also sparrows each time I looked out, they soon finished it off. A crafty young magpie has found it can get it’s head through the plastic rigid clematis netting I put over the entrance to the feeder if it hangs on the outside & help itself to beaks full of suet pellets. My pair of collared doves land before I’ve finished putting some on the fence post for them, so pretty & so keen. Blue tits in the trees joining the robins & blackbirds singing to mark their territories, nature at its best.

    Winter is arriving in a hurry I think.

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