Our little hog friend of last year hasn't reappeared
12th December 2017 at 6:33 pm #8433
Update on hoglet. She was out early this morning 5 a.m. again taking more nesting material into the nest. Not sure what the temperature was but it was forecast to be minus 5 or 6! 5 a.m. seems to be the magic time to start nest building.
A rat has been spotted on the cam a few times – where are all the cats when you need them! Luckily the hoglet was seen eating earlier – so it did get some food.15th December 2017 at 12:29 pm #8439
Hoglet is obviously feeling the need for extra warmth, not surprised at that temperature. Hope the new feeding box is up & running she/he is going to need it I think, specially as she hasn’t yet gone to sleep for a while.
Trying to plan the garden for next year still, the borders are great but as I have peashingle & not grass maybe one of them could have grass sown amongst the flowers then the hogs will like it better. We know they love to forage & having read your reports of them in the longer grass I think that’s the only thing I can do. The garden is very small & floods where the grass used to be thus rendering it a messy quagmire useless for anything except bathing & drinking for birds, hogs & cats but when the weather’s bad enough for flooding they aren’t around anyhow!
Not sure what the flowers would make of that though, might choke them out of the border.
When it snowed last weekend the gravel flooded higher up the garden than I’ve ever seen it, Frank started to gingerly walk through it til he realised how deep it was , flicked his paws, jumped back & went the long way round. All he had to do was jump across it, funny boy. He was heading for my London Pride which is his favourite place in both the front & back gardens to pee!
Hope hoglet is snug now & spending more time preparing to sleep.
Put a new peanut feeder out yesterday as it’s so cold, previous ones have been ignored, today long tailed tits found it. Hope they remember & come back, they make good use of the fatballs so expect they will.15th December 2017 at 6:48 pm #8441
Hoglet was out again last night. Unfortunately she doesn’t appear until late so I can’t make sure no-one else eats the food. She was last seen on the cam just before 1 a.m., which is unusual – normally it is about 6 a.m. So I am wondering whether it really is hibernation time. Either that, or she has moved somewhere else. I will be quite pleased, really, if she has hibernated, as I think rat is getting more of the food than hoglet. The other night (on the cam) rat was having a quick snack when hoglet appeared and rat shot off pretty quick, which I was pleased to see. Unfortunately none of the cats has been seen at the same time as rat.
Sorry to hear about the flooding – must be a nuisance. Have you thought of putting some ornamental grasses in the border as a compromise. Many of them are clump forming. I introduced a few this year into my flower border, as well as some yellow stemmed dogwoods, which you can keep quite small. I am really pleased with them, especially now, when there is not so much else to see. (Although, I have to admit that I originally got them because there was a special offer.) There is a huge variety, some with attractive and tactile seed heads. You could also put some amongst the peashingle. Not sure whether they would mind being water-logged, but worth a try. The roots going down might help to dissipate the water too.
Alternatively, if you are going to put grass seed down, a wild flower mix might be better and give the other plants more of a chance, although, more delicate ‘tame’ flowers might not be able to compete so well. I think even quite small patches help, so maybe you could have a small separate patch rather than mixing them all together. It seemed to me that the hogs liked medium length grass, so they could get through it quite easily, but there were more bugs, etc. in it than if it was neatly mown. Some of the, annual, wild flowers (corn-: flowers, cockles and marigolds, etc.) might not mind the peashingle and they would die down in the winter anyway, so the water wouldn’t be so much of a problem.
Poor Frank – how dare there be water on his peashingle! I keep wondering what colour he is?
I gave up putting peanuts out here. The birds didn’t seem to get through them very quickly (not sure why, as they seem to elsewhere) and I didn’t want them getting mouldy and harm the birds, so kept having to throw some away. I put a fat square out today. It has been nibbled at the edges, I didn’t see who by – I don’t think the starlings have found it yet. They normally descend in the mornings so, I wouldn’t be surprised if by this time tomorrow it is all gone. I have just got stocked up with loads of fat balls for the birds’ Christmas treat. I hope some long tailed tits come here too – such cheerful little things.21st December 2017 at 9:42 pm #8446
Hoglet really needs to snuggle up for winter doesn’t she, let’s hope rat goes away & leaves her in peace to feed in case she’s going to be active for a few more days.
Food for thought with your suggestions re flowers, already have a couple of ornamental grasses. I suppose really my borders are chock a block with plant life & when hogs were visiting they spent most of their time bumbling around in there so am probably trying too hard to fit too much into a very small garden. Just frustrated at the lack of hogs after such a good start to the year. Still thinking about it all & what to change in the Spring though.
Flooding isn’t too much of a problem with the gravel, it was much worse when it was scrappy grass as it was a quagmire of mud most of the time. At least the gravel seems to drain quickly leaving a surface that’s easy to cross by me & animals. Have seen birds in the past using it when flooded as a bath, rather nice to see as it looked as if they enjoyed it better than a man made bird bath. Having said that there’s nothing like watching a load of starlings or sparrows bathing together in the bird baths, taking it in turns to be the one in the middle!
Frank is a brown tabby, he has stripy legs & tail, his body isn’t really very stripy at all, it looks as if when they painted his stripes on they ruffled his fur before it dried is the best way to describe him. He has a butterscotch belly & the most beautiful face with a white chin & cheeks where his whiskers grow.
Quite a tall cat, very lean muscled, long tail, handsome little devil. Everyone round here knows his face but he doesn’t go to anybody except us as he had a bad start in life living rough under hedges & learned not to trust people. Sensible lad. He has us under his thumb, well trained in all ways!
Hope your little hog stays safe, have a lovely Christmas. x23rd December 2017 at 10:36 am #8450
Well the question is, is hoglet going to be a Christmas hedgehog. She was here last night briefly after 4 a.m., but neither I, nor the cam saw her at all the night before. I don’t think she is using the hog box now – recently, the last sighting each night has been her disappearing down the path. She was seen going into the entrance of the new feeding box, but turned straight round and came out. The cam hasn’t caught any other activity there but someone has been in, as one day the food was disturbed, but if any of it went it wasn’t much. I have put kitten biscuits in there, in the hope rat wouldn’t like them. Hoglet isn’t used to them here, but I thought she would eat them if she was really hungry.
Good luck with the garden – like you say, sometimes it is better not to try too hard to fit too much in and the hogs did like it before.
I imagine Frank being a bit like Thomas O’Mally from the Aristocats. He sounds a lovely cat.
I hope you, too, have (or maybe had by the time you see this) a lovely Christmas and Happy New Year.8th January 2018 at 3:43 pm #8472
Just read your missive to Penny about your hoglet still being active, surely one of Digger’s offspring to show such initiative & resistance to cold weather! Your second box has obviously been a life saver.
Have spent last 2 weeks in bed with a vile lergy, just beginning to recover enough to put the laptop on & see what the rest of you are up to.
Lot of bird activity, keep the water clear every morning when I feed them as my way of fighting back at my bug – going out no matter what the weather as the wildlife have to – & breathing some clean air.
A yellow rose in a neighbour’s garden is in bud, my hebe & escallonia flowered again when I cut them both back a little in autumn & the escallonia has only just decided to start to stop flowering. Hope some insects have been able to take advantage of them, hebe still going strong.15th January 2018 at 6:59 pm #8476
Apologies for the delay replying. Sorry to hear you had the dreaded lergy. Hope you are feeling better now. I think you are right – it’s good to get some fresh air, even if you are feeling grotty. It’s interesting what is coming into flower, but I suppose it has been such strange weather with some quite mild spells. I have some crocuses beginning to flower already, before even the snowdrops. It is nice, though, and makes me think Spring really is not far off now.
The birds are chomping their way through lots of food, rat hasn’t been seen for about a week (it’ll probably be back tonight, now I’ve said that!) and none of the cats has been seen going into the new feed box. Hoglet has been here every night. Loads of clips of rear end of hoglet (am beginning to recognise her back legs!) going into either the feed box or her nest box, but still not sure whether she is staying there for the day. I’m really pleased she has taken to the new box so well. The only time I got clips of her coming OUT of boxes was when the cam went wrong again the other night and was taking non-stop clips. About 360, so not as bad as in the Summer. Hoglet sometimes arrives about 11, but seems to know if I have decided to stay up late to see her and always arrives later those nights, so I have pretty much given up and rely on the cam. Also, I sat and looked through loads of back to back clips when the cam went wrong, waiting for her to come out of the feed box, only to next see her arriving through the arch onto the patio. Not sure how she manages it!
I am thinking that she must be Digger’s too. She has quite a dark skirt like her and although she has a paler face, is beginning to get a bit of a shape of Digger. Also there weren’t really any other females left around so late. I will have to think of a proper name for her soon! Although I’m not 100% sure she is a she.25th January 2018 at 9:27 pm #8512
I’m amazed to hear that hoglet is still active but she obviously has no intention of going to sleep at all has she?! So many clips to watch, the opposite of me with none. Haven’t put a camera out for months as all that’s ever out there is an assortment of cats. The doorbell that plays Pink Panther goes off in the night when Frank’s asleep on the bed & when I look it’s one of several cats sussing out the cat houses & pottering about where the hogs used to feed.
Sounds as if she’s one of the teleporting hogs as she appears where you don’t expect to see her!26th January 2018 at 11:37 am #8513
I agree, it looks as if hoglet is not planning on hibernating at all. I managed to see her in real time a few nights ago and it looks as if she has grown quite a bit since I last saw her (not always easy to tell on video). I know it seems as if I am lucky still having a hog around, but it is very much a mixed blessing. It is much more of a responsibility than in the Summer to make sure there is sufficient food for her. Knowing there can’t be much in the wild this time of year.
You know what I said about the rat last time … yes, it was back that very night!
Things went downhill re. Outwitting the cats too. One tabby and white, quite large looking, cat decided to have a go at getting into the new feed box. It was first seen on video getting it’s front half in and then reversed out – looked very funny. Later I saw it licking it’s lips as if it had just eaten. The bowl was empty in the morning and hoglet usually leaves some, so I was susupicious that cat had managed to get in. The next night there was a clip of it crouched just outside the box, but it looked as if it’s tail was inside the box, as if it had just come out. Again, licking it’s lips and again the bowl was empty in the morning. On one occasion hoglet went into the box and was back out again within the space of the 20 second clip, so I imagine she found the bowl was already empty. I just don’t know how on earth the cat managed to bend itself round the two partitions, but think it must have done.
It was quite worrying to think poor hoglet may not have had any food for two nights – I don’t know if she is getting any anywhere else, but she seems to spend so much time here that it seems unlikely she goes far. I had to put my thinking cap on! How to keep cat out and still let hoglet in and not put her off. I found a half brick in the garden and thought that might work. I put it in the first corner, which left a tiny gap to the side and, I hoped enough room for a hog to squeeze over the top,if necessary. I put a bit of wood one side as a bit of a step, but didn’t have anything appropriate for the other side. I hoped hoglet would persevere and make the effort to climb over the brick if she couldn’t squeeze through the gap. I also put extra food in the box and hog food as well as cat biscuits, just in case.
I was eager to look at the cam clips this morning to see what happened. First hoglet went into the box, stopped, started reversing, but then disappeared into the box. Later, I saw her on clips going in several times. Cat eventully appeared and sniffed around the box, but I didn’t see it try to get in. Rat was nowhere to be seen. A fair bit of the food had gone this morning, but there was still quite a lot left. Brilliant! Looks like it worked – last night, at least. Clever little hoglet! And, yes, I think she must be one of the teleporting hogs, too.
Sounds like you have a few cat strangers around as well. Not sure where all these cats appear from. And don’t their owners feed them?!3rd February 2018 at 11:17 am #8554
Have had a hedgehog come to feeder Thursday and Friday now. Bit of an early start to new season if that is what it is.3rd February 2018 at 6:35 pm #8555
They sometimes come out of hibernation early if they hadn’t put on enough of the sort of fat they need to survive. (Of course it could also have something to do with the strange weather this winter). If the hog looks small or narrow, it might be a good idea to weigh it and take the advice of a local hog rehabilitator. But, I imagine, it will welcome any food and water you put out for it. The worry is that Winter is far from over and there is a possible threat of snow here next week. Not sure what the hoglet here would think of that. Good luck with the one there.4th February 2018 at 8:11 am #8557
Hi Nic, came again last night. Is very well rounded, looking at the video. In fact during the night it came in around six times. It ate quite a bowl full of food.
Willpar.4th February 2018 at 7:43 pm #8560
I’d be worried about the responsibility too, you seem to have cracked it regarding keeping cat out & giving clever little hoglet a way in, well done! Frank managed to bend his way in last year when I partitioned off the catbox for any hog who fancied it, you’d think it was physically impossible because of the angles & small proportions of it but I watched him squeeze his way in, disappear inside & eventually came out – head first – again. That’s one reason cats get into so much trouble, determination to see something & they sometimes get stuck.
Wilpar, you have a responsibility too now, guess it’s lucky you saw the hog so now you can ensure there’s food every night. Good luck.
Cats are greedy so & so’s, I think some of them just eat anything anywhere no matter if they’ve just been fed. I used to put food ours refused out for the magpies in the hope they’d leave the small birds alone & Frank would go out & eat it (yum, what’s this nice food that I just turned my nose up at in the house doing out here) straight after having a meal in the kitchen. He now finds it’s left in his dish until he eats it.
Look forward to further reports of both your hogs, Nic & Wilpar.4th February 2018 at 8:48 pm #8561
Hi Annie and Willpar
That did make me laugh – Frank thinking the food was better just because you gave it to the birds! I did the Garden Birdwatch and, needless to say, there were more birds around the next day and since – as usual! Today, I saw a pair of bullfinches. Amazing. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one before. They weren’t in my garden but from the house, so not far away, and could make a visit here.
The brick in the box is holding out so far. One night a different cat made an attempt at going in. It was a smaller cat, but it seems it didn’t think it could get past the brick and reversed out again. I wouldn’t be surprised if it tries again – but meanwhile hoglet is getting plenty of food.
She seems to spend a few hours (in total) each night napping in the nest box, but I’m almost certain that she goes somewhere else for the day. She also does a bit of foraging but not sure how much she finds. I did see the rat catch an earthworm a few weeks ago when it was here, so at least there are some of those around.
Hoglet is popping in and out of the feed box all night (and sometimes until about 6 in the morning) between napping and foraging. Sometimes as many as 12 times. I have been feeding her kitten biscuits since the rat was around (haven’t seen it for a while, again), but am thinking of getting her some wet cat food, to see what she thinks of that – although I suppose it might freeze when it gets really cold. I don’t dare try the hog food again, for fear the rat will be back. What are you feeding the hog there, Willpar? Glad to hear the it’s looking well rounded and is eating well.
I am hoping to get another camera, so that I can see what hoglet gets up to when she wanders down the garden. I don’t really want to move the other one from watching the nest and feed boxes.
I have been thinking of calling hoglet Holly – if she really is a female – as she was around at Christmas, but if she turns out to be a male, not sure yet.
The first one of the males was back here at the beginning of March last year, so not long now. Not sure what hoglet will think of HER garden being invaded other hogs!5th February 2018 at 8:21 am #8563
Hi Nic, i make up my own food for the hedgehogs. Can take up a bit of time but what i make can be fed to adults and juveniles. I don’t need to do separate food when juveniles arrive. It has a crumble appearance once made up.
The main ingredient is vitalin ferret food. That is a dry food, has forty percent protein and is a dry food. I pour hot water on it and leave to soak for a little while and drain the surplus water. and leave to stand. Then i blitz around a tablespoon of dried mealworms and calci worms, not fine but course. Then i add some chicken pate` cat food. Give it all a mix and should end up with a semi moist crumble mix. The course mealworms will clean their teeth hopefully. I do break up the ferret food a bit so as it will mix with the other food.
Have had a lot of success with this food after a lot of trial and error. The mealworm content is not a lot once it is blitz, and do not sprinkle them on the ground. Sometimes i may add a pinch of neutrobal powder just to give it a vitamin “D” boost.
Over the past three nights the hog has been lucky as i had some chicken breast left over. I blitz that and it comes up just nice.
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