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Return of my regular

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Return of my regular

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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    My resident hog came out of hibernation this week and went straight for her (I think it’s a she) food. She is still only half emptying her bowl, but this is true to form, she tends to get an increase in her appetite as she becomes more active. This is the fourth year she has been with me. Last year I had a visitor who stayed a couple of months before moving on, the two did not get on well so tended to eat separately.


    That’s good news. My hedgehogs came back last week. Again I assume it’s the same ones.
    I have 2 coming for food, the one is huge already. However, I also have a fox and 2 cubs so I need to get an extra feeding station so they don’t miss out on precious food.


    We were begining to wonder if we would see any visitors this year. Last year, we had 3 different spikey friends in total throughout the year, having had just the one the previous year. A little one arrived quite late in the year (November 10th was the first time we saw him) but seemed to get bigger and bigger each night.
    Anyway, thought we heard something the other night (we do have rats, unfortunately, side effect of putting food down for the hedgehogs I guess, and not being too far from a canal) and then saw on Saturday afternoon what we were pretty sure was hedgehog poo on the decking. Saturday night, lo & behold, there he was, wandering around the garden and tucking in to the food we had put down and drinking. Very hungry and thirsty. Checking the night camera on Sunday, I see that there were 2 hedgehogs on the steps at about 3:30 in the morning, and then last night we saw 2 different hogs, one early, about 8pm (which we think is the original visitor from last year and 2 years ago) and then later on a different one which we are taking to be the little one who arrived in November. Not really expecting to see the third one who appeared in the summer last year as they did not get on – a lot of huffing, which ended up with a headbutt and that was the last we saw of him/her.
    No idea whether our visitors are boys or girls, but there must be a girl around somewhere as the little one would not have appeared in November 🙂
    So happy to have them back.


    Good to hear that others’ hedgehogs are returning following hibernation. We saw our first hedgehog in 20+ years last June, out foraging for food during the day. Not knowing a great deal about hedgehogs we bought a number of books on the subject and, of course, soon became aware that they do not usually venture out during daylight hours unless there is something wrong. This one, who we believe was female, appeared to be blind (at least in one eye as it was permanently closed), although she was otherwise active and seemingly okay. We believe that the mealworms we put out for the birds, having fallen from the table, had attracted her (we now know that mealworms should be avoided). The sight of this little hedgehog started something of an obsession, with us putting out fresh food and water every night. You can imagine our delight when more hedgehogs appeared; we believe there were two litters last year and on one occasion we counted eight all feeding in our garden – not bad for suburban Birmingham! Our first hedgehog had a special place in our hearts though, being so tame and with a sweet little face. Sadly it was not a happy ending for her; she had ventured across the road one night and was run-over. We were absolutely heartbroken and scooped her up and buried her in a little blanket in our garden. Many I’m sure would think we were mad but we couldn’t bear to leave her there and thought that her final resting place should be under the hedgerow. On a more positive note, the numerous hedgehog houses made by my dad and placed under the hedges and shrubbery appear to have helped, especially given what has been a fairly hard winter here. We have seen five hedgehogs out and about since April, with a large male chasing a couple of females to mate. All are being fed a mixture of Spike, Vitakraft, cat meat, chicken and cat biscuits. Our kind neighbours are doing the same. Sadly we heard of another fatality near the same spot as the last one a couple of weeks ago. I’m praying that they remain a rarity; the road is generally quiet at night but it is still a case of Russian roulette. We are hopeful of more litters and that overall numbers can be increased. I leafleted homes on a couple of nearby roads last year, using info provided by Hedgehog Street, to try and raise awareness. It is impossible to do all roads so I have concentrated my efforts on those with houses whose gardens are large and back onto park and woodland. Admittedly the people living on those roads are generally more middle-class, whom I believe will be more receptive to our conservation efforts. The big thing for me is that access between gardens is improved. I absolutely detest the trend for close-board timber fence panels and concrete gravel boards, so am trying to encourage people to use hedgehog-friendly fencing (or preferably just hedging). In the meantime, we are hopeful of more litters this year so fingers crossed. I really hope that the national picture improves as a result of everyone’s collective effort.

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    Hi Laurence

    It’s lovely to hear your hog story, but sad to hear about the fatalities. I think I would have done the same as you if I had found one of my hog visitors had been run over.

    Sounds like you are doing a good job trying to get more hog holes. That’s the best way to keep them off the roads.

    Good luck with the hogs this year. I hope your hog visitors have lots of hoglets to boost the numbers.


    Thanks Nic.

    It is so nice to hear from like-minded people on this subject. Will keep you posted on progress as the year unfolds.


    As above, I have had problems with rats attracted to both hedgehog and bird food. Luckily I, and my cat, have virtually eradicated them but I have had to remain vigilant. Access to the birds’ feeding station is now much more difficult from the ground and I rely on ground feeders to clear up the fallen scraps. In theory I should see no hogs as my garden is surrounded by 6′ high stone walls with just one small gap for them to enter. However in the last 30 years I cannot remember not having a resident and frequently nesting mothers producing litters. Much to my cats’ entertainment as they watched the hoglets scurry around the patio.

    I used to have a slugs and snails problem, hundreds would come out at night to be crunched as I walked on the lawn. Now my Hostas are unmolested, all without the use of pesticides in a chemical free garden.

    My current hog has taken to emerging later at night, and still tends to eat less on nights after a hot day, and eschews the hog houses other than to feed from the bowl I place in one to keep it away from rain and the birds’ It seems to prefer the underside of the garden shed, where it hibernates in the winter. They tend to find my garden an Ideal habitat with areas of dense shrubs, through which I rarely venture, and log piles to provide grubs and insects. There is a large water bowl, which has to be shared with the birds which like to bathe in it.


    The last couple of mornings, when checking the hoghouses, I have found leaves piled up inside. Perhaps early signs of nest building? Just in case I have placed a large pile of dried leaves nearby.


    oooo lovely!! this is my first hedgehog year -but we seem to have at least 3 visiting regularly – and I am impatient for babies!!

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    Hi Katzeye

    Hope it is a nest. It’s a good idea to put some long grasses out near the leaves. I had a hoglet here who didn’t hibernate and he made a nest in a box I normally use for feeding. Mostly filmed on video – the cam was right opposite. I had some long ornamental grasses and I cut some of them and left them behind the box. He took them in and they were all woven in amongst the leaves. They helped to keep it all together and the right shape.

    He didn’t use the nest full time, but as a place to go and shelter in the warm between snacks on the cold winter evenings.


    No further progress on the nest front but will continue to monitor. The food continues to be consumed.

    This reminds me of a previous occasion about 20 years ago. One fine day in the garden, I noticed a hog attacking the edge of my lawn without much success, as it had recently been mowed. In order to distract it I gathered a handful of long grass from the wildlife section of the garden and placed it in front of the hog, which promptly grabbed it and dragged it beneath a nearby Hebe. I gathered more grass, and the process repeated many times for around half an hour. The hog built a large dome like mound about 2 feet across and 1 foot high, entirely of grass. At this point I felt that having replicated the work of Kublai Khan, it was time to leave the hog to enjoy its new temporary home.

    A day or so later, whilst sitting out enjoying the sun I heard strange noises, consisting various grunts and squeaks, emerging from the nest. As did my cat, which sat transfixed staring at the source of the commotion. Together we witnessed the birth of a litter, which later turned out to be 7 hoglets. Just as well the nest was so large.

    On another note I had the task of guiding three mallards across our village High Street last weekend. There is large lake nearby, home to many waterbirds, and at this time of year some leave the environs of the water to find a quiet place to nest. Mostly however, they choose peoples’ gardens rather than the bustle of the local shops. Luckily the vehicle drivers stopped patiently as I herded the birds along.

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    Hi Katzeye

    It must have been fascinating to see a hog making a natural nest outside. 7 – that’s a lot of hoglets. I am assuming you meant that was the number who left the nest? I should think Mum hedgehog had her work cut out with that many!

    Well done with the ducks. They do sometimes choose some very silly sites to nest in. I remember once some ended up in a very small area left between buildings, so very high walls all round. There was no way out for the ducklings, so they had to be transported in a box to the other side where they were reunited with a very agitated Mother duck. I think it’s the sensible ones who choose gardens!


    Hi Nic

    I felt myself to be fortunate to witness this. As the nest was entirely made of coarse grass it soon dried out and was recycled by worms in late summer.

    I counted 7 young when I peeked inside whilst mother was feeding in the early days after their birth. They all left the nest but they tended to scatter throughout the garden at dusk so one rarely saw more than 2 or three in the same place. I would sit on the patio in the evening with a drink, and if I kept still it was not unusual for mother and/or hoglets to climb over my feet. As I left the door open one would enter the house and attack the carpet, I kept a pair of gardening gloves handy so I could pick it up and return it outdoors. They all dispersed quickly, as usual, though mother stayed put and hibernated under the garden shed. I would like to think that some survived their first winter.

    I had one mother who did not build a nest but just took residence under what was then a small lilac bush. Knowing where to look, it was possible to see mother and young (about 4 if I can recall). I would check them out in the early evening on returning from work. The young were even then quite restless and vocal, though it was several hours before they would venture out for food.

    Sometimes I have no idea where the nest is, as I do not hunt them out for fear of disturbing them. There are ample nesting sites in the garden, most of them difficult to get to for me.

    The waterbirds from the local lake do cause concern amongst those people who live nearby and do not know their habits. They tend to think that they are lost and in need of rescue and have to be advised to leave them be, they have abetter sense of direction than us and they have moved away from the lake for a good reason. It gets very busy there at this time of year with summer visitors both human and avian.

    BTW the three ducks in the village were two males and one female, all adult. I do not know what sort of relationship they were in. 😉


    Finally, after three or four years residence in my garden, a hog has moved into one of my hog houses. During this recent hot weather feeding has sometimes been erratic, with some food left in the bowl but the water bowl, which doubles as a bird bath in the daytime, has been well used.

    My cat drew my attention to the resident this morning; and lo, there in the front chamber was a large, sleeping hog. The rear chamber is packed with leaves and I did not examine this too closely for fear of disturbing anything which may be there. Time alone will tell whether this is a formal occupation or a temporary sleeping arrangement, though I am hoping that having discovered the delights of this accommodation, it takes up more permanent residence. It is ideally situated in a well sheltered quiet site free of direct sunlight. It does not, however, have a sea view!


    Sounds an ideal ‘des res’ even if the balcony and sea view are missing! Doubt the hogs poor eyesight makes this a required feature anyway!

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