Shock in the night with Hedgehog and Badger (hedgie okay)
16th August 2017 at 10:45 am #7257
Hello this is my first post.
We’ve been feeding hedgehogs in our area for a long while now and we seem to have quite a few of them. However I never thought the following was something we would ever encounter.
We are in the suburbs in a built up area. Last night just before 2am I was woken up by horrendous screaming sounds, at first I thought it was cats fighting. But I quickly realised it wasn’t. I jumped out of bed and looked out of the window. We live in a cul de sac and outside our house there was a huge badger attacking a large rolled up hedgehog. I shouted and clapped my hands, the badger looked up at me and thought about stopping then started again, I repeated my actions (because this was the quickest way to get the badger off other than leaving and running downstairs which would delay the release time) The badger leisurely ran off to around 30 feet away looked at me again then disappeared. I dashed downstairs and grabbed a towel and rescued the hedgie who was firmly curled up. Brought him in, no visible damage put him in the bottom of our summer house with water and food and left the door open to observe and sit and wait to check him out. He was terrified, finally when he uncurled an hour later he was fine and no obvious injury. He stared to anoint himself all over then went under the unit to hide. He left the summerhouse a couple of hours later unhurt. The badgers cannot enter our back garden but it’s not good to know they are around in the front. Not something you expect in a built up area in suburbia.16th August 2017 at 4:22 pm #7264
Welcome to the Forum. Sounds like that hedgehog had a lucky escape. Not what you want to happen at 2 a.m. I understand that badgers are becoming more common in urban areas, but it does emphasise the importance of the hogs having access from garden to garden, without having to go outside. Such a difficult decision whether to go downstairs or stay and shout, but sounds like you made the right choice for the hog.
Keep an eye out for the hog just in case the badger broke the skin – not easy to see, with all those prickles! – in case it feels poorly later on. You may not recognise that specific hog, but if you see a hog looking unwell, get it checked by a hog rescue or vet.
Glad to hear your garden is safely badger proof and hope you don’t see any more badgers anywhere near any hogs. If your gardens aren’t already linked by hog holes that would be a useful thing to do – as long as the gardens you are connecting to are badger proof too.16th August 2017 at 7:45 pm #7265
Hi, thanks for that valuable info. Don’t worry we will keep our eyes peeled, there was no blood on the floor where it happened, on the towel or in the summerhouse where he’d been. Couldn’t see any blood on the hog or spins either, but like you say it is difficult to see but he did uncurl eventually. The fact he was so incredibly vocal saved his life, as he woke me up. Luckily it wasn’t such a difficult decision to shout and clap out of the window first before going downstairs. As going downstairs straight away would have added quite a bit of time on to him having to endure the attack. Although at the point I found him the badger hadn’t been able to unroll him as yet. Regards hedgehog holes, we have one between our garden and our neighbours, the hedgehogs made it themselves a while ago before we realised we had any visiting. There’s also one between us and our other neighbours, past that point we’ve not found anyone that is interested in hedgehogs I’m afraid. But I’m trying to spread the word.16th August 2017 at 8:25 pm #7266
Opposite us there’s a green area that is surrounded by more gardens, several of the hogs come across that area to get over here. We have a sign in our garden saying beware hedgehogs crossing here to alert people in the street that didn’t know there were hedgehogs around, hopefully to stop them being run over by cars. In our neighbourhood several have been run over this year on the main road which is a couple of streets away. 24 years ago we used to feed a larger number of hogs when we lived at the other side of the village. We moved here and took the decision not to feed them given we felt there are more roads around. The hogs found us fairly recently by the residual bird food from our feeders and it snowballed from there. Many many years ago when I lived at home as a child, my Mum rescued hedgehogs and other injured wildlife. We saved and treated quite a few, between herself and the local vet and hog rehabilitation lady that used to be in our area. Once we found out we had hogs again we had to start to feed them to give them a chance, we have babies in the area now and we have quite a few hogs, several trays of food are eaten every night. They especially like spikes dry amongst their dinner, not so seen on spikes semi dry. They are such wonderful little creatures that need all the help everyone can give them. Every year I also alert as many people as I can to check bonfires for hogs too. We are about to ask the council if they will consider putting up a hedgehog sign on the main road near us too.17th August 2017 at 8:32 am #7274
Thank goodness you managed to save that poor hog, sounds like you intervened just in time. Before we realised that we had hedgehogs, there had been a couple of occasions where there was awful screeching in the night and just assumed that it was cats fighting; I do wonder now if it was hedgehogs under attack. The garden is badger proof, but I have seen a few killed on the roads nearby so it’s always a worry.
I would be interested to hear what your local council have to say about a hedgehog sign. I know that some people have campaigned successfully for them, but our council, although sympathetic, said that they were unable to help. Apparently, there are no hedgehog signs available in the Department for Transport list for them to use. I wrote to the minister for transport Chris Grayling, asking for one to be put on the list, but he said that because hedgehogs didn’t pose a hazard to motorists, there were no plans to make one available. I don’t recall any incidents involving armed mobs of ducks, frogs and toads assaulting motorists, but they have their own Department for Transport signs!
Good luck. 🙂17th August 2017 at 10:18 am #7279
Hi, I had googled hedgehog noises and listened to them prior to hearing this poor pog, that helped with recognition. There were distinct differences in this case, although I shot out of bed as soon as I heard the poor thing in any case. Regards the sign, I know such signs have been implemented in some areas of the country, that’s where I got the idea from. I would say it was down to local parish councils but I bet you have to supply the sign yourself. Although call me cynical I doubt it would work anyway, people either love animals and watch out when driving or they don’t. We have signs in our cars and one in our garden, might make people think hopefully.17th August 2017 at 5:02 pm #7306
Sounds as it you are well placed if any hedgehogs have health problems, with your experiences with your Mum rescuing hogs.
Re. Linking with other gardens – they don’t have to be interested in hogs, just to not mind if they go into their gardens – and why would anyone mind – but then I am probably biased!
Re. the hedgehog crossing sign. I contacted our local council a while ago. As you suggested, it was apparently the parish council who had to ask for and pay for any sign. The obstacles, otherwise, were that it would need to only be a temporary sign (they seem to be more concerned these days, than they used to be, about excessive ‘street furniture’) and also suitable siting (bearing in mind it being a temporary sign). There didn’t seem to be any problem about getting a sign made – as long as someone else was paying for it! It seems that hoglet time – so round about now – seems to be a peak danger time, with another one when the clocks change in the autumn, so it may help, even if it had to only be temporary.17th August 2017 at 8:46 pm #7310
We will always help any animal in distress if we can. Sadly we don’t know everything though, so use the vets if needed and for hogs a hog rescue locally if needed as well, they are much better placed with facilities than us. Regards the sign, it really does depend on the individual councils, they all seem to have widely varying rules. Sadly again I’m biased re holes, but seems some do not want any holes in their fences around here! Mind you, they are not all gardeners and many gardens are mainly paving and stones so not that helpful to wildlife. Although we live in suburbia we are only two streets away from fields and there’s literally a few thousand houses around here, so they will get to travel most of them. Hogs really do seem to be making a come back around here, they’ve been absent for a number of years now there’s lots of them. We have a couple of babies around as well as four giant hogs. Hopefully fingers crossed it will keep on improving for them. I love badgers as well, I just really hope that we don’t have anymore badger visits for the sake of both badger and hog.29th August 2017 at 3:33 pm #7494
This is also my first post and I am so glad you raised this issue “snufflewoofs” as my wife and I have the same problem in and around our garden. The following will describe how we got to our current predicament.
I absolutely adore wildlife so when my wife and I moved into our current property I went about creating a wildlife garden for us both to enjoy. This included building a wildlife pond, landscaping, putting up various nest boxes and feeding the birds. The wildlife soon flocked to the garden and this included a particularly sociable hedgehog that we called “Harry”. Very original I know but we thought it suited him fine. My wife took a particular shine to him so we bought him a feeding station so he could eat in peace as well as providing places for him to nest and rest up during the daylight hours. We both absolutely adored him.
This was all very successful and over the next 3 years or so he was joined by other hedgehogs and baby “Harrys” soon came along. Everything was going swimmingly and we were both very happy until the start of this summer (2017).
My wife and I were both woken up by a terrible screaming noise which I now know too well. As we have foxes in and around where we live I assumed it was those fighting. I did get up and have a look out of the window but I couldn’t see anything. I so regret not going down and having a look and I will always carry that guilt. The next day I went down to the garden and I could see straight away that “Harry” had been attacked and eaten. All that was left was his skin with the bristles attached and his jar bone. It was awful and my wife and I were really upset. I swore to myself that it would never happen again.
I did some research and worked out it was a badger that had attacked and eaten him. I know it’s all part of nature but I continue to carry a great deal of guilt over the incident. So from that day forth I secured the garden as best I could from badgers and vowed to leap out of bed if ever I heard that terrible scream again. Unfortunately I have……… Several times! 🙁
We have several hedgehogs in the garden still that visit for food etc. and they have been attacked several times since but not in the garden. We have a public footpath that runs parallel to our garden and it’s always along there now.
What can I do to stop this? I am researching it on the internet to find a solution but I feel so powerless. I’m sure with the excellent knowledge on this website there must be some suggestions that I could try? Any advice would be greatly received.
Like I say I love all wildlife but I am really starting to resent the badgers.
My wife and I are exhausted because we don’t sleep properly as we have half an ear on what’s going on about us. Not sure how long we can carry this on but we are determined to help our friends as best we can.
I may add that we have seen the badger/badgers scurrying away when we have went running up the public footpath after hearing the screaming. We are pretty sure no badger set has been disturbed locally as we live on a housing estate that has been in situ for nearly 30 years. Like I say any help would be greatly received so I can enjoy a nights sleep again!
Many thanks! 🙂30th August 2017 at 9:54 am #7501
Hi Paddy penn
First of all, I was really sorry to hear that Harry was killed by a badger. It was clearly very distressing for you and your wife and a difficult position you find yourselves in.
In the last few years two particular hedgehogs which visited here have lost their lives. The first a named breeding age female, was attacked by a dog which managed to get into my garden – not the dog’s fault, but it’s owner’s – it shouldn’t have been running around at night on it’s own. The second was attacked by a strimmer – used by a human. There is no knowing how many more hedgehogs have been killed as a result of action by humans. These two incidents were extremely distressing – all the more so because they were not natural events. But it was, and remains to be, my choice to name the hogs and get to know them as individuals, potentially leaving myself open to additional heartache.
One thing for sure is that it isn’t the badgers’ fault. Badgers might have more legal protection than hedgehogs, but it doesn’t stop them from being persecuted. Ultimately, most of the problems badgers have are caused by humans too. They are doing what comes naturally to them. I don’t believe hedgehogs are a prey species of choice for a badger and the fact that they are killing them, might indicate scarcity of other suitable food sources for them. The over-riding problem is lack of suitable habitat to support both hedgehogs and badgers. Your wildlife garden is a start, but there needs to be more. But we all need to accept that nature can be cruel. Wildlife kills each other, however distressing it may be for us.
So, what can be done about it? As I see it, the only thing you have control over is whether to stop the badgers getting into your own garden whilst still allowing access for hedgehogs. You could link as many other badger proof and wildlife friendly gardens as you can, so that the hogs don’t have any need to venture outside them. But it has to be their choice. They are wild hedgehogs and need to be free to come and go as they please. You cannot control what happens outside. You may have to let nature take it’s course which in the long run could possibly be that either you have badgers around or hedgehogs around, but possibly not both. Or, they may, with the help of your garden and others, reach some sort of balance where populations of both can live side by side.
You may already have seen them, but the following are two links re. badgers and hedgehogs from Hedgehog Street.31st August 2017 at 2:58 pm #7521
Thank you so much for your kind words as they really do help. So sorry to hear about the loss of 2 of your visitors as well. It must have been tough especially as they were both non-natural like you say. So frustrating! 🙁
I read your reply with great interest and I certainly agree with the majority of it. When you think about it, us humans are pretty retched. The amount of natural habitat we have lost in the past 50 years is a national scandal. If this is not addressed soon there will be no natural world left for future generations to enjoy. Most governments are scared to address the root cause of this but I am not going to get political here.
Unfortunately like you say nature can be so cruel but it’s all part and parcel of the circle of life. The thing is I cannot just ignore those screams so will continue to run out in my PJ’s like a mad thing and chase the badgers off.
Another quick point is that the badger population has grown by 88% since the 1980’s and the hedgehog population has continued to plummet. I know a lot of this is to do with urban development but the rising badger population must be having an impact. We humans are once again creating imbalances in nature where there are winner and losers. Unfortunately it looks like the hedgehog is going to be a loser although I dearly hope not.
All the best.3rd September 2017 at 10:51 am #7544
Hi Paddy penn
I know there are lots of figures bandied around, about badger populations. I’m not sure how accurate these figures are, any more than the figures for hedgehog populations, due to the difficulties in assessing the numbers, etc. 88%, on the face of it, sounds a lot, but is fairly meaningless on it’s own – from what baseline, where do these figures come from, etc. In any event, I don’t believe one species should be played off against the other. Both species face problems with habitat loss, etc. Both are used as pawns in various arguments and, as PTES say:
‘ …. hedgehogs face many other challenges and it would be wrong to focus on this issue and distract from others. ….’.
I seriously don’t think hedgehogs need to be the losers if we can improve and expand their available habitat and that badgers must come very low down the list of problems hedgehogs, in general, face.
I hope you are managing to get some sleep. I know it must be really difficult to ignore any potential screams, but it could really turn you into a ‘mad thing’ if you are (a) constantly listening out for them and (b) permanently ready to jump out and run to the rescue, whether you are actually in a position to rescue them or not. You say you have already protected your own garden. Better that you try to get a good night’s sleep so that you are fit and able to try to recruit all your neighbours to the hedgehog cause.
Although, I have to admit that this crazy hog person ‘supervises’ most of hog feeding time (from inside the house) which means that I would know if any problem visitors arrive. But I only feed for a few hours each night – it is supposed to be only ‘supplementary’ feeding, after all – and it gives me a good opportunity to get to know the hogs and their behaviours (from a respectful distance).
I do wonder whether some wild hedgehogs are becoming too habituated to humans. We are predators and it could lead to them becoming too trusting of other predators. It might be something to be extra cautious about, especially if there are badgers around. In his book ‘Hedgehogs’ Pat Morris says in relation to a study of over-wintered youngsters and particularly in relation to their predation by badgers:
‘ …. The risk might have been increased because our animals were accustomed to being caught and handled. They might have been insufficiently wary of ‘attack’ and several barely bothered to roll up when they were caught for weighing each night. This would be dangerously casual behaviour when accosted by a badger. ….’
He also went on to say:
‘ … The killing was probably the work of one badger passing by, as all the predation took place within a few nights. ….’ This might be a slightly reassuring thought for you.
I don’t know enough about badgers to know, but there have been a few people on the forum recently saying that a badger has appeared in their area. I wonder whether it is a time of year when badgers go ‘roaming’? Do you know whether it is more than one badger? It would be nice if it disappeared as suddenly as it came. But, whatever the reason for it’s presence, I still think the way to go is to link as many gardens as you can to create a big hedgehog safe space – badgers or no badgers.5th September 2017 at 10:28 am #7561
I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve also experienced a badger attack. Other than blocking badger access to your garden but still maintaining access to hedgehogs, I don’t see any other solutions. Badgers can climb as well, although how well will depend on individual badgers. It’s a tough call really, like you, we also love badgers and were really surprised to see one in suburbia. However we want to try to help hogs. So we asked ourselves do we feed in our secure garden which brings the hogs around the area in possible badgers range, or don’t feed. Okay not feeding may help keep them out of our area a bit, but not much as I would think they would still try to find food around this area anyway. Badgers have a large territory area so they will be around the whole village I should think. Although we managed to save that one hog that was attacked outside our house, we are currently worrying about all the others we were feeding. The other night I could hear the same sound in the far distance, wasn’t cats or foxes, the barn owl can compete but I felt sure that was a badger attack but it was an awful long way away.
Up until one week ago we had at least nine, possibly more hedgehogs appearing each night (hard to tell the others apart to know for sure the exact figures) Now all of a sudden we don’t have any visiting at all for the last week, all I’ve done is worry constantly about their whereabouts. Okay some could be pregnant with a late brood somewhere, but that still doesn’t account for all the others. We sleep with the windows open so would hear local attacks, but this sudden lack of all the hogs is worrying. There’s no evidence of any killed around on the roads that we can see. When the hogs were visiting they were all healthy eating well and moving fast. Just vanished, I’m actually trying not to think about it too much as my mind has come up with all sorts of reasons as to their whereabouts and most are not good reasons. It pays not to get attached but in our experience of feeding wildlife we’ve found that impossible.5th September 2017 at 1:31 pm #7562
I like you am starting to worry. Although I haven’t heard any badger attacks, I occasionally see the odd victim on the roads around the village so I know that they are close by and we are only about a quarter of a mile away from open fields. Six of our regular hogs with names have gone missing over the last 4 to 6 weeks. Five of the hogs were boys and I know it’s possible that they have all wandered off further afield in search of the ladies, but they all vanished around the same time. Previous to this they would all be picked up on camera every night, I have only noticed one casualty on the roads nearby, but none of them have been seen since! We still have around six hogs visiting including three juveniles, one of which is an extra one that I brought back from our local rescue or a B.O.G.O.F. as Lynda the carer put it! Thankfully, the two rescued juveniles Nagini and Ben seem to hang around for most of the night so don’t venture too far afield and the garden is most definitely badger proof.
I have a friend in a nearby village that used to feed hedgehogs and foxes, but hasn’t seen any since their camera recorded a badger killing a hedgehog over a year ago. I have seen many dead badgers on the main roads around our local town three miles away, it used to be a rarity, but now it is commonplace. Whenever I have visited our hedgehog friendly vets with an injured hog, people from the town have taken a keen interest in my prickly patients. All of them have commented on how they used to regularly see or feed hedgehogs, but haven’t seen any for a couple of years or so. If you think about it, it would only take one rogue badger that developed a taste for hedgehog to decimate an entire local population…it really is becoming quite a concern. 🙁5th September 2017 at 4:44 pm #7563
I just came across this article in The Telegraph from 2013 and it makes very interesting reading with regard to increasing badger numbers and the effect on hedgehogs and other widlife.
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