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Weather Watchers

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Weather Watchers

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
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  • #7386

    Can hedgehog activity forecast the weather. On Saturday night it was an overcast night, but no rain, and I put out the food and water at 2115 in the normal place, set the camera and waited. One little hedgie was already at the bottom of the path waiting for the arrival of food. The results of the camera next morning were phenomenal. 96 videos of 10 seconds each, which after selection came down to 53. Lots of twosomes, and a threesome, and we think at least four different hedgies. One Sunday night the same procedure by me, except it was blowing a gale and lashing it down. Total camera videos 13. Two of hedgies under the awning of the shelter of the camera when one can only see the top of their spikes. No visits to the feed nor to the hedgie box, which also has food and water. The remaining 11 videos were of the magpies polishing off the food, early next morning. Having trimmed the grass, and checked the hedgerows around the feed station, everywhere looked good with no obstacles to hinder hedgie progress. The day had been a fine sunny day up to mid afternoon.

    Right that is the scene set. Now my question. Obviously the weather at the time dictates whether our hedgies wish to venture out. Plus how they feel food wise, e.g. full up or comfortable. This weekend we have had a hurricane come over from USA, but dispersed itself mostly before arriving here. It brought the winds and rain, but a lot lighter than was thought. Is there a sixth sense with the hedgies that tells them to stay in, it’s going to get rough? Do they know when bad weather is on its’ way long before it happens? Do they act differently if they know bad weather is on the way?
    Anyone have an opinion on any of this?

    #7390

    Hi James,

    I have tried to fathom out our hogs and they are still a complete mystery. What I do know is, that they dislike wind more than they dislike rain. Like you say, I suspect that their willingness to leave their den on a rainy night depends on how waterproof it is and how hungry they are. We have had nights of torrential rain when every scrap of food has been eaten and then fine clear nights when most of it has been left…it seems that our hedgehogs are just as unpredictable as the weather!

    #7410

    Nic

    Hi James

    I’m not sure about forecasting the weather, but the ones here certainly respond to it. They don’t seem to like rain or wind very much, which is not surprising with them relying more on their hearing and sense of smell, both of which might be affected by rain and wind. But, as Penny says, coming to the feeding station might have more to do with how hungry they are, and they do seem to like being unpredictable.

    #7424

    Hi Nic and Penny,

    You are certainly right on the unpredictable part. Last night we had 50 videos. The night before 1 and the night before that 2. The hedgie hut was moved to a new location, partially amongst the foliage and has proved a success, being used on the first night. At the old location by the willow they never ever visited it. I was told a Southerly entrance was best for them. The entrance is now more Northerly and they are using it. We also think we know why there were less sightings. I have mown the lawn around the apple trees and of course in the process severed several of the apples. This attracts slugs, snails etc and therefore would attract the hedgies. When we took the dog out for her last minute ablutions last night, she certainly showed an avid interest towards the trees. Thank you for your comments.

    #7446

    Hi again everyone,

    To continue the story from yesterday. Last night we had only 2 video visits from our hedgies. There seems to be a pattern appearing of either a large feeding frenzy every other day or every two days. I must stress that the property I live in has no walls only country side hedgerows. To the front of the house it is open fronted onto the lane. All sorts of animals wander onto our very large front, rear and side gardens. We get badgers, foxes, muntjaks, feral cats, stray dogs, rats as well as hedgehogs. We have put our hedgie stuff to the rear of the house in a secluded spot where the hedgies tend not to be disturbed. The food is out by dusk and no lights are on. Just my camera hidden away. I cannot understand why they are not all coming on a regular basis. We know we have at least four different hedgies eating at the feeding station. Our neighbours are a fair distance from us both directions, so its’ not as though they could be going to them. I do realise they can travel a fair distance at night. The lane is quite quiet so I know there is next to no road kill. Am I being frustrated to soon at the lack of visits we are getting to the feeding station. Also I find my video camera has a time lapse on taking the video. It is only 0.5 of a second but it is enough to miss an animal travelling at pace. It also only runs for 10 seconds with a minute time lag between videos. Possibly I am missing a lot in these gaps. Does anyone have a recommendation for a better video night camera than a Digital Trail Camera.
    The other thing I cannot find out is when does mating happen in the Autumn
    time. We have not seen any hoglets from the Jun/July period feeding at our feeding station. Are they currently bedding down now for new arrivals later. What does a pregnant hedgie look like? They all appear to be the same shape and size? We have horses in the fields around us and you can tell when the mares’ are pregnant. Can anybody help me with the questions above?

    #7447

    Nic

    Hi James

    Badgers! Lovely animals in their own right, but not only will they, on occasion, eat hedgehogs, (although I don’t believe they are a preferred prey source) but they also compete with hedgehogs for much of what they eat – earthworms, etc. For these reasons, I understand, they often don’t share the same areas to live in. It might, partly, explain why the visiting hedgehog numbers fluctuate so much there, with the hedgehogs potentially having to run the gauntlet with the badgers. If the badgers are new to the area, you might find the hedgehogs gradually move out, but if they have been there for ages, it may be that they have reached some sort of balance. I’m not so sure I, personally, would be so keen to get to know individual hogs so well with badgers around, though.

    It sounds a lovely place there with all those animals visiting.

    I think, you are, perhaps, getting frustrated too soon at the number of visits. Some people only have one or two hogs visiting or none at all. In addition to the badgers, the numbers of visits may be fluctuating because it is a bit of a funny time of year. Here I find some of the regular male visitors have disappeared and others, are turning up. Some of the girls have also been missing. I hope this is something to do with hoglets, but with hogs you never can tell.

    I have my camera set for 20 second videos. I found it was getting too irritating when you could see something was about to happen and the 10 seconds ran out. Still lots gets missed – I know that because for part of the time I am actually watching as well. I often think ‘I hope the camera caught that’ but usually find it hasn’t! There have been loads videos of rear ends of hogs just disappearing and many with nothing on them, which I suspect might have been a slightly speedier hog. I don’t know much about cameras – I opted for cheap ones, which may have been a false economy as one of them has just packed up!

    You will find that there are many questions about hogs that there may not be definitive answers for. But, here last year, most of the males had drifted away by mid- September and there was mostly only one younger chap who carried on visiting most nights for the rest of the month. Most males are thought to hibernate earlier than the females. They don’t have the hoglets to bring up! Also the males tend to return earlier in the Spring. This gives them an opportunity to put on a bit of weight before the females come back and they start tearing around trying to find them, and all the circling, etc. Obviously some males hang around later because there are sometimes very late hoglets. In Pat Morris’s book ‘Hedgehogs’ he says ‘…. the hedgehogs breeding season lasts from about April until September. ‘ But also ‘ ….Many females still fail to become pregnant, even after several matings, and a fair proportion may escape becoming pregnant altogether.’ With it taking roughly 9 – 10 weeks from gestation to independence (if I have worked it out right!) they pretty much don’t really want to be getting pregnant much later than now if the hoglets are to have plenty of time to put on enough weight to survive hibernation.

    Pregnant female hedgehogs certainly aren’t as obvious as with horses. I thought one of the female visitors here was looking rather portly a few weeks ago and, I like to think, that she now looks a bit sleeker, but that may be wishful thinking. It isn’t always easy to tell – with hogs sometimes looking wider or narrower from one minute to the next. I think they usually do look a bit rounder, but they also look rounder, getting towards hibernation time.

    I hope some of this helps.

    #7458

    Hi Nic,

    Thank you for all your informative information. We are getting used to the
    hedgies very slowly, but learning a lot. Known to us is a badger set about quarter of a mile away. We have caught one on camera once at the front of
    the house, and another time actually saw one sauntering up the lane in broad day light. Very unusual. Last night we had a video of three hedgies eating together. Thought to be mother, father and the smaller one possibly one of their offspring. Again though it was a night of only 11 sightings. The food and the water however had all gone from both places. We are thinking of putting a small camera inside the feeding station to compliment the external one. We are also purchasing the book you mention of Pat Morris on Hedgehogs. Thank you again.

    #7462

    Nic

    Hi James

    It is not impossible, but the 3 hogs probably weren’t Mum, Dad and baby. They don’t tend to do happy families. The Dads normally just do their bit and then leave Mum to get on with the rearing by herself. One litter of hoglets can even have more than one Father.

    My remaining camera went totally mad the night before last and there were 991 videos! Nightmare. For some reason it looked as if it had decided to record a video at the rate of two a minute, whether there were any hogs there or not – until the batteries got too low. I couldn’t look through that lot so just had to check random ones. I haven’t dared look at last night’s yet!

    If you are getting Pat Morris’s Hedgehogs book, make sure you get an up to date version. Mine is a revised edition from 2014. I did hear there might be a newer one but not sure. It was originally published in 1983, and some of the information is slightly out of date (such as the bit about bread and milk.), but there is loads of really interesting information in there.

    If you are keen to learn loads and don’t mind if some of it is a bit academic, there is a very good website, again, with loads of information about all things hedgehog.
    http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/hedgehogs.html

    #7612

    Hi Everyone,

    I have got my copy of Pat Morris’s Hedgehogs book. It is the 2014 edition reprinted with revisions 2015. Got to page 27 so far, and learning a lot. Recent sightings at our feeder include a visit from a stoat at 0230 hours who watched two hedgies eating for quite some time. I assume he is not regarded as a predator? Yet to read about it in the book. The foxes also still attend but keep their distance. Last night and quite early, 0953 hours, we had our first video with four hedgies in it. The last hedgie to arrive kept to the outer edge of the group of three, before coming in when two had left. Assumptions being he is either a stranger to the area or from another family group. We are seeing a little more bumping and barging going on but I expect that is with them being in close proximity to each other whilst feeding. The actual feeding box is now being emptied regularly of its’ contents, as well as the open ground one, so I can see it’s going to become more expensive. To date this month I have 197 videos of the hedgies, so at this rate they will surpass August’s 540. The weather so far this month here appears to have been favourable for the hedgies. Certainly the last two nights with a large harvester moon we have been able to see them quite easily from the upstairs window. Though we have only just for the first time see four hedgies on video, when looking out and about on moon light nights we know there are more. We know it is late in the year but we would so love to see mother with her young. Will probably have to wait for that to happen next year. Anyway have a lot more reading to catch up on for now.

    #7701

    Nic

    Hi James
    You are lucky seeing a stoat, although stoats are included in the list of potential predators of hedgehogs http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/hedgehogs.html#predators .
    I imagine they would only take them when they are very small.

    Re. the hog who keeps to the edge. Some hogs are just naturally more timid, so I wouldn’t automatically assume that it was a stranger. I don’t think it’s as straightforward as that. You may not be too late to see a Mum and babies this year – keep watching!

    Hope you are enjoying the book.

    #7713

    Hi again Nic,
    Yes getting on well with the book. The hedgies seem to be very active at
    present. I have now close on 400 videos so far this month. Reference the
    weather. I read that hedgies dislike wind more than rain. Last night which
    had Storm Aileen blowing at 70mph at Avonmouth it did not seem to discourage the hedgies too much. We can see the River Avon from here,
    and I spent much of first thing this morning up-righting plants and plant
    pots. They attend the garden here come wind or rain. However we do notice every couple of days a reduction in the numbers attending and the amount of time spent out feeding. They are usually with us until 0500 or thereabouts from about 2100. I am waiting to see how they fare over the next few weeks
    as it starts to get colder. I would expect they will attend more often with the
    prospect of Winter around the corner. I do hope you are right about young
    hedgehogs. I have not seen a young hedgehog family since my mothers’ golden retriever accidentally dug one up at the old house in Manchester. The hedgies home was a small scrape in the earth beneath a load of leaves under thick brambles. It certainly was a sight to see with her small brood. The dog was so excited with what she had found. Fortunately we were there
    at the time to ensure the hedgies escaped to safety.

    #7829

    Hi Everyone,
    Yes my hedgies are definitely weather watching. The last two nights the sky has been fairly clear and the mornings now have a chill in them. Our visitors are getting less. Last night we only had two, who barged for position at times. However with the nights drawing in they were there at 2000 hours and up until 0555 hours. The previous night we had three at varying times but again they only came singularly to the table but took advantage of an early start. Then the mist hid them for an hour or two before clearing for them to come back to feed up to 0600 hours. They are visiting the hedgies house to get the food and water as well as the feeders on the lawn. They are making a mess of the paper inside and I assume one of them intends to winter in there. Once the hedge and foliage have died back I will re position the house with logs etc, so if they so wish, it can be a nesting box or winter harbour. The house is insulated with foam so they would find it warmer than normal. The outside also has a green foam adhered to it so it camouflages very well. The top is hinged so I can access it without disturbing the occupants when I replenish the food and water. Just got to try and keep the rat family out of it. No doubt as it carries on getting colder the visits will get even less. Up to now this month over 550 videos outstripping what we had for August.

    #7832

    I am down to putting out just two bowls of food each night here. The amount of video clips have also dropped to just a few as well.
    No sign of any juveniles this year. In fact from June it has been very quiet here with a maximum of just three hedgehogs visiting on a regular basis. By the looks of it I seem to be down to just the one.

    Willpar.

    #7836

    Well it seems I spoke to soon. Camera by the front door picked up a juvenile passing by last night. This is the first of the season. Looked in good condition and a good size. Just the one though, but better than none at all.

    Willpar.

    #7847

    I’m not sure I’m posting this under the right subject heading, but I hope it will be alright.

    I’ve had a hedgehog in the vicinity since late July and it has come back to our garden almost every night as I have been putting out catfood for it. I made a shelter for it with some slabs of marble which I had lying around, mostly for him to have some privacy when eating.
    I later bought a plastic box container and cut out a 10x10cm square at the bottom so the magpies wouldn’t eat its food. ( Got the idea from someone here at the forum -thanks ! )

    I have become quite infatuated with it and consequently bought a hedgehog house which I filled with some leaves, moss, grass and two pages of a newspaper which I tore up strips.

    Last Thursday ( 21st ) I collected some twigs and small branches to cover the house with for the winter. I opened the house then to check if anyone was there and he/she had rolled himself into the bedding material and was well tucked in. I wasn’t certain it was there but when I carefully poked around a little with my finger I heard a growling noise, so I quickly put the roof back on and let it be.

    The last time I saw him out was last Friday evening ( 22nd ) and it hasn’t touched the food I put out since then. Today I opened the house again but I never poked around but just closed it again. It looked like it could be in the rolled up ball of the bedding material. I covered the house with twigs, tarpaulin, fern fronds and spruce branches today so it is well insulated if there will be a cold winter and no rain/snow will seep through to the house.
    I made sure there was no obstruction of the ventilation-holes on the long side of the house though. Now I will just leave it be until spring 2018 and hopefully it will have had a good long sleep.

    My questions now are:

    Could the hedgehog have started its hibernation already ? I mean we haven’t even had frost yet.

    Will it be sleeping all winter or is it possible that it will wake up after a couple of months ? I suppose it all depends on the weather.

    It’s a juvenile born this year so maybe it’s a bit inexperienced about going into hibernation, or could it be that it feels so well fed that it is just wasting energy searching for food as it’s soon getting colder ? It’s actually smart !?

    I should probably mention too that this is a Swedish hedgehog from Norrkoping in southern Sweden.

    Sincerely,
    Paul Olsson

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