Question about eating habits in October
12th October 2018 at 8:10 am #12436
Hello, I have been feeding the hedgehogs in my garden and, in the last couple of days, their intake has drastically reduced. I think there was one main visitor (Hogwell, who nests in our garden) and two others who visit. I was putting out 200g wet food every night and they were eating the lot.
On camera, Hogwell still visits the station but hardly eats anything (just a couple of tablespoons). Is this normal at this time of year? Hogwell weighs 770g.
Many thanks.12th October 2018 at 8:59 am #12437
The last week or so has seen the amount of food consumed drop by more than half of what I was previously putting out (I expect when they were taking it all I could have put out even more and it would have been eaten!)
I’ve also noticed that not much food is being taken when the feeding stations are visited.
The hogs have stopped going in and out of my hog-houses, but I’m still seeing hog activity on my trail-cam.
I’m thinking that some have now gone to sleep, but visitors are still exploring, looking for somewhere to bed down later.12th October 2018 at 10:31 am #12438
Whereas last year I’d have three or four hogs at once, all tucking in happily, I have not had a single hog eat anything all year! I released four I collected from a wildlife hospital and they immediately bogged off to next door’s garden (I’ve got the neighbours involved with hogs) and are scoffing away there! One night, (and I need to whisper this) I even put out half-a-dozen live mealworms thinking they can’t possibly resist those but they ignored them completely. I’m now only getting one visitor most nights and the two types of hog food (Ark Wildlife and Spikes Dinner) and the water bowl are just treated as obstacles to climb over on their way through. Little darlings!12th October 2018 at 11:11 am #12440
I used to have organic garden vegetable plots in my garden and had plenty of hogs visiting without the need to feed them.
I eventually found the work digging and weeding too much for my aging back and grassed over the vegetable plots.
Coincidentally? I started seeing less and less hedgehogs and their ‘presents’ with none at all spotted in 2015 and 2016.
In 2016 I started letting areas of my garden grow wild as an encouragement to wild-life (and far less mowing!).
Last year, I spotted a few ‘presents’ and early this year two hedgehogs making a lot of noise beneath the rosemary bush bought a surge of happiness and delight.
Having mourned the disappearance (my neighbours also reported they had not seen any for a while), I was determined to do all I could to help them, so set up feeding stations and eventually some hog-houses.
I’m convinced that allowing parts of the garden to grow wild, substantially increasing the insect life has been responsible not just for hedgies returning, but now the bats spend longer hunting over the garden, and I’ve had some great aerial displays from dragon-flies on a summer evening, hunting over the tall grasses and wild-flowers despite not having a pond.
Hedges, bushes (all with lots of dried grass stuffed beneath them), wild-flower beds, log-piles and ‘untidy’ areas mown just once a year and water dishes seemed to be appreciated. 🙂12th October 2018 at 12:35 pm #12441
I’m sorry to say, that releasing hedgehogs into an area from elsewhere can sometimes do more harm than good. It can impact not only the hogs that have been released, but also those that were already in the area. BHPS and others have recently produced these guidelines:
The good thing is, though, if your neighbours are feeding hogs, there are still some around, so it seems very likely that they will venture back into your garden at some stage. Whether or not it is before hibernation, at this stage, is another matter!12th October 2018 at 12:42 pm #12442
It may be that ‘Hogwell’ is winding down how much he/she eats in preparation for hibernation. 770g is heavy enough to give him/her a good chance to survive hibernation, although there are never any guarantees. It is a dangerous time for them and a worrying time for all us hog lovers. All we can do is hope they are ok and reappear again in the Spring. Good luck.12th October 2018 at 11:18 pm #12450
Thanks Nic but for reasons unknown, the wildlife hospital said they couldn’t return them to where they came from and whereas (as I said) we had several last year, this year we’ve never seen more than one short visit per night and that’s not every night. (I have two cameras out). My neighbour didn’t get any before we released and they do seem to have taken up residence with my there – he has filmed four at once several weeks after release so we think the released ones are still about. Our infrequent, non-eating visitor still wanders in from the field the other side of my house so they haven’t chased him or her away.13th October 2018 at 5:22 pm #12452
I am glad to hear the hogs are still around. It is completely not your fault at all, but some places are releasing hogs other than where they came from for misguided reasons. That is why BHPS went to the lengths of producing the information. If the situation arises again and/or you get the chance it would probably be helpful if you could draw that guidance to their attention.
It isn’t only about misplacing other hedgehogs, it can be about introducing diseases etc. into a new area – please read the guidance for further details. It is important for hedgehogs as a whole that this guidance gets to those who need to know about it.14th October 2018 at 12:05 pm #12461
I’m quite happy to take the blame 😉.
I was told they couldn’t be released where they came from and perhaps should have asked why not. However, this hospital has been around for years and despite having a huge variety of wildlife they’re caring for, I just assumed they would know what they’re doing with all species. They’re well out in the countryside so could have just released them where they are but for some reason – perhaps the reasons you mention – decided not to. I was asked about our location so perhaps she thought we were their best chance. I think they’d been there for some time so hopefully any disease would have shown up whilst they were in care. Anyway, two months on, they do seem to be thriving so all seems well this time.
If it happens next year, I will press for more information.14th October 2018 at 12:41 pm #12463
Hi- Re release. As I have mentioned before our local wildlife rescue had said that it is good to mix hedgehogs from different areas to increase the gene pool.
(Nic- Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier on this but our gorgeous dog has been ill and we had to make that tough decision all animal lovers hate to make).
Anyway I am going to a hedgehog talk tomorrow hosted by the above wildlife centre and have printed off the advice given by BHPS to give to them and hopefully they will follow it.
On a happy note (and the hoggies are really helping with the sadness) we have 2 hoggies sharing the hedgehog house- Big Daddy who is enormous and Cyclops who is smaller and missing an eye. We were tempted to catch him but he is doing well so we have decided to minimise stress and there is the possibility that it has already been treated. They really do bring me such joy!14th October 2018 at 6:44 pm #12464
You really don’t need to take any blame – you weren’t to know and were acting in good faith. I suspect the rescue people were too, but that doesn’t necessarily, mean they weren’t misguided. I think the BHPS and the hedgehog experts they have gathered together to write the guidance will be more knowledgeable in certain areas than the average rescue place. Hopefully, they will have accessed the guidance from elsewhere, but better that they have it twice than not at all! Having said that, these hogs may have been from the very few where there were circumstances that they could not be released in their home area.
As far as the hogs there are concerned, it is as it is, so I really hope they continue to do well.14th October 2018 at 7:09 pm #12465
So sorry to hear about your dog. I know, so well, how hard that decision is to make and what a large empty space losing a much loved dog can leave. So pleased the hogs are still around to distract you a bit.
I have heard the gene pool argument before, but fear it is quasi-science. It does, however, make it more difficult, for those who believe it, to be persuaded by the BHPS, etc. Guidelines. As I said to lewisdad, there are a very small number of hogs who cannot be released in their home areas, but I suspect most can – if not in an actual garden, at least within their home range. I just hope that all rescue places at least read the guidelines. There are some very knowledgeable people behind them. If I took some hoglets to a rescue place, I would be horrified to think that the same ones might not come back to where they belong.
I hope Big Daddy and Cyclops continue to do well. Hedgehogs don’t have particularly good eyesight anyway and tend to rely more on their sense of smell and hearing, so hopefully Cyclops will do o.k. I agree, hedgehogs are an absolute delight to have around!15th October 2018 at 10:19 am #12471
Its sounds like you are trying to do the right thing – and I know there is lots of variable advise out there – but I think its more responsible of the rescue to look for suitable release sites for hogs in small batches of 1 or 2, rather than large release volumes – which happens with some rescues – you can imagine when they’ve had hundreds each winter, what that looks like on a scale of practicality! many hogs also cannot be released back where found though and advice is that you don’t release them in areas where there are known predators, tormentors or dangers.
we released a one eyed female from a rescue back in the summer – we haven’t seen her for a while now – but we have a large wooded predator free area at the back of our garden, with lots of undergrowth to hide in – and I conclude that she’s probably found her feet out there and has hopefully raised a litter of hoglets of her own. here’s hoping anyway – and its right that she was given the chance at freedom again – I’m sure that would have been her choice if she had had her say on it.15th October 2018 at 11:32 am #12472
Sorry to hear about your dog simbo65, yes the hogs do have a way of helping you cope and putting a smile on your face…I just wish they wouldn’t keep going AWOL!
On the subject of release sites, I was very saddened by a BBC program that was aired a few weeks ago- the Lincolnshire edition of ‘Inside Out’ I believe. On the face of it things looked wonderful for a large number of rehabilitated hedgehogs that travelled a substantial distance to be released into the idyllic – previously hog free! – sprawling grounds of a stately home. I just couldn’t help wondering as to why the apparently ‘predator free’ utopia didn’t already have its own hedgehog inhabitants, but even more disturbing was the fact that these hedgehogs would not be returning to their native Lincolnshire town, leaving a very large hole in the local population and the residents of Scunthorpe wondering where on earth have all their hedgehogs disappeared to? 🙁15th October 2018 at 2:17 pm #12477
…I wonder if that’s where all of our hedgehogs have got to? Whilst I have been beside myself fretting over what terrible misfortune they may have fallen victim to, I have now got visions of them waltzing around in Barbour jackets and sipping champagne in the grounds of some country pile. 🙂
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