What to do about furry friends of hedgeys?
8th March 2019 at 2:36 pm #13919
Hi everyone! I have a regular hedgehog visitor who is currently stopping by for a snack at least 4 times a night. She’s been passing through for a few years now, but I’ve only had a wildlife camera since Christmas, so now I realise how regularly she visits. She even visited while the snow was melting, which was a worry as she obviously hasn’t hibernated this year.
Going through this week’s footage, and having gone through a bowl of Spike’s Hedgehog Food a night this week, I’ve now found that (what I’ve identified as) a wood mouse is visiting tens of times a night and hopping off with food. He must be nesting close by, as his visits are often at 15-second intervals! I’m not sure what to do – is it OK to keep ground-feeding for the sake of the hedgehog, but risk encouraging the little mouse, and likely a whole mouse family at some point soon? I think it would be wrong to take away the food source when it’s still cold outside, and the hedgehog seems to be relying on it.
What does everyone else do when they realise that they’re also feeding the less popular wildlife? I used to have pet fancy rats, which I still miss very much, so I know I’m definitely biased towards giving all the little guys a snack! But equally I don’t want to encourage wild rats for obvious reasons.
Is Spike’s food the problem? Should I change it up for some oats, blueberries and seeds as less of a temptation? I’m vegetarian so it also doesn’t sit right with me to be buying hedgehog food with animal protein in, so suggestions for any alternatives are also hugely welcome!8th March 2019 at 6:15 pm #13923
I have had a hedgehog here all winter, and at various times mice and a rat. The mice here never seem to multiply and the most I have ever seen together are 2 mice – only ever 1 rat. They aren’t here all the time, so either go somewhere else or, anyway, aren’t multiplying, so I don’t worry about them too much, as long as there is food left for the hog.
Oats and blueberries, not a good idea. I would think they would be just as attractive to mice but not particularly good for hogs. I understand your feelings – being a vegetarian, but we can’t push our own preferences onto wild animals – they will eat animal protein whether we like it or not and it is natural for them to do so. I’m not sure what’s in Spikes, I’ve never used it myself. I tend to leave a bit of cat food out during the winter as well, in the hope that mice/rats are less likely to eat it and there will be some food left for the hog. So far it has worked – and by the way, I don’t eat meat myself either.
The best thing we can do for the hogs is to improve/increase their habitat by linking gardens and making our gardens more wildlife friendly. I have seen the hog here foraging on the grass (on video) for most of the winter as well as topping up with a bit of supplementary food.
When it comes to the warmer weather and you still have a mouse problem you could have supervised feeding times. I used to do that and the hogs soon learned when was the best time to come. It was a good way of keeping an eye on them too – and leaves them the rest of the night to find wild food for themselves – which is far better for them than anything we feed them. I feed the hogs on a lit patio and watch from inside the house (darker). (they don’t seem to mind the light as long as it’s consistent – they don’t like lights that go on and off so much, i.e. security lights) Rats and cats are very easy to scare away, mice slightly less so, but the hogs tended to turn up earlier in the night and in a fairly steady stream, so that the mice didn’t get much of a look in.
Good luck. Hope the hog continues to do well.9th March 2019 at 9:21 pm #13945
We had a little mouse visit us , as long as the food was out he would come for a wee nibble. I never really minded him , neither did the hogs . The food and boxes are at the bottom of my garden , I think my house is too noisy for any mice to come in ☺️15th March 2019 at 7:13 pm #14003
Thanks for all the information both of you 🙂 I’ll continue with Spikes a little longer and tail off as the warmer weather kicks in. I haven’t seen the mouse for a couple of nights and so now I miss him!
Supervised feeding times sounds amazing, I’ll definitely try that! In the summer we sneak out to see when we hear the hedgehog snuffling around, which is lovely. We didn’t feed her then, so she was obviously happy with whatever she was finding in the borders. I’ll take note re blueberries and oats and won’t leave them out again; the blackbird seems to like the blueberries, but I’ve realised that oats can cause issues as they can dehydrate critters/ are too dry.16th March 2019 at 12:27 pm #14006
I know what you mean about missing the mice when they don’t visit – they can be quite endearing little things too!24th March 2019 at 8:04 pm #14162
I have had wood mice in my garden long before the hogs put in a reappearance back in 2015 after a long abscence.
I feed my hogs Wild Things Hedgehog Food, which they love, but I have never seen the wood mice touch this (nor cats for that matter – they did like Spikes though when I used to put this out in those first years).
What the wood mice do love is the seeds (particularly sunflower hearts) from my bird feeders (I actually saw one inside one of my bird feeders having a feast!). They have a habit of caching food and will run backwards and forwards taking seeds away in all directions as they don’t keep all their eggs in one basket (I guess this is an insurance policy in case another mouse/rat/other finds their stash!).
As I know they are around I often scatter a few sunflower hearts on the ground for them to eat/cache and enjoy watching them – as Nic says they are quite endearing – but this is more during dawn/dusk time As they don’t touch the hog food they do a good job for me in clearing up spillage from the feeders as I know the hogs will eat the seeds and also know this isn’t good for them (although its inevitable they will always find some the birds and mice leave behind).
I have seen the wood mouse loitering around sometimes when the hogs turn up but they won’t go that close to the hogs (I have read that wood mice may be on the menu if a hog could catch one?) and I think its more coincidence rather than them actively trying to pinch the hogs food.
The main thing is to keep feeding the hogs and also give them water as well and hopefully your wood mice friends won’t pose to much of a problem.
Enjoy watching both the hogs and the wood mice.
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