Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Two hogs eating nicely together...

...well, at least there wasn't too much pushing and shoving going on.

These photos were taken tonight, when a lot of food has been hoovered up although I haven't personally seen any other hogs out there.

I need my video camera back again. Unfortunately there's no news on that at the moment.

Scratchy or not?

I was just about to post that Scratchy did put in an appearance later on last night, but now looking at these photos I'm not so sure.

This little hog is smaller than Tuesday night's earlier hedgehog visitors and is about the right size to be Scratchy. He/she also has some of the markings on the back.

However, unless I'm mistaken, it seems to have a darker snout than Scratchy, and - big giveaway this - wasn't scratching.

Possibly this is Scratchy and the itching problem has resolved itself (the ticks fell off?).

Of course, ALL hedgehogs are welcome, but if this isn't Scratchy, I do hope that she is alright.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

I'm glad to say, the hogs are still very much in evidence

The hogs have been fed well in my absense and turned up tonight at approx 8pm. Looking out the window I saw three of them out there at the same time. I decided to take a few sneaky photos whilst hanging out the window and luckily they didn't seem concerned by the camera flash.

This hog is investigating a dropped clothes peg from off the clothesline. No, it's not edible, but I suppose a hedgehog needs to find out these things for itself.

This other hog has left this food bowl in a right old mess. Eating all the mealworms and chucking out everything else, I reckon! Note the markings on the hog's back - however this is not Scratchy - this is a bigger hog and its markings are quite different.

Is it just my imagination or are the hogs getting fluffier? I suppose they might be growing a winter coat ready for their upcoming hibernation period.

Note there appears to be a tick near this hog's ear. I'd be a bit concerned about trying to treat that, with it being so close to the hog's eye.

I don't want to disturb them too much, I'm going to keep checking to see if Scratchy turns up. Stay tuned.

Not quite what I was expecting

I've just returned home from nearly two weeks in Wales. Try as I might, I wasn't able to get any very good footage of local wildlife. One day I went for a long walk around the whole of the valley for a couple of hours and was disappointed and upset to see a dead badger and a dead fox. Not the kind of thing I was looking for at all. On the return stretch of the walk there was a lovely moment when a buzzard took off from a nearby tree and flew across my path, but by the time I'd raised my camera it was too late and the moment - and the bird - had gone.

I saw a few buzzards in the graveyard, and a unidentified bird of prey on the wall just outside the house - it may have been a young buzzard or a red kite. I didn't get the best look. I did capture some bad video footage (not really good enough to put here - not unless you really want to see it), but by the time I'd pulled the net curtain out the way, the bird had seen me and decided to take flight.

The nicest animal photographs I managed to get were of these rather magnificent highland cattle whilst on a walk near St David's. These were not quite what I was expecting to see in Wales.

I realise they are hardly "wildlife", but who is going to argue with me posting this next photo of this adorable-looking calf?

I did visit Bob in the village, but unfortunately Freddie the fox did not put in an appearance for us.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The One Show

Great to see hedgehogs featured on prime time TV on BBC's The One Show last night. They brought attention to the sad fact that hogs are now an endangered species, so it's good that the message is getting out there and people might stop taking this fabulous little animal for granted.

See: (while it's still available - check the last 5 minutes or so).

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Buzzard in the graveyard

I'm currently in Pembrokeshire staying at my parents' house and looking after Monty the cat whilst my parents are away. Unfortunately because of some writing commitments, I've not been able to get out and about with the camera. However, today I did notice this large bird at the far end of the graveyard.

The next picture is taken from the front wall of the chapel. The bird is still a good 100 metres away from where I was standing. As soon as I tried approaching closer, it saw me and flew off, confirming that it was indeed a buzzard. There are many buzzards to be seen in this part of Wales. You can often see them circling in the sky, and occasionally perching on the tops of telegraph poles. However, it's rare you get a photo opportunity with one, as most telegraph pole sightings are when you're in a moving vehicle.

And here is a close-up:

I phoned home earlier. Apparently the hogs are getting through a whole tub of mealworms every night! My replacement battery for the infrared camera is yet to turn up, possibly it's held up by the chaos of the current postal strike. I'm still here in Wales for a week yet, so don't expect any more hedgehog videos or pictures for a little while yet. I'll try to get some other wildlife pictures if and when the chances arise.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

A quieter Sunday night

After a very busy Saturday night in the garden, with lots of hogs visiting all night (sorry, no pics), tonight seems a bit quieter by comparison, although I expect more hedgehogs may well turn up after I retire for bed.

As usual, Scratchy puts in an appearance. In the photo above she's noticed that I've opened the window so as to take a photo of her.

Thankfully the lure of a bowl of nuts, sunflower hearts and mealworms was greater than her desire to run away rather than be photographed, and she continued tucking into the food as if I wasn't there. I very gently shut the window and left her to it.

In other news, I've had an email back from the company that sold me the trail camera saying that they will exchange the battery and charger if I return them. I'll try to get those into the post tomorrow. However, on Tuesday I'm going to Pembrokeshire in Wales for two weeks to house-sit and cat-sit for my parents, so don't expect any new hog videos for a couple of weeks. Sorry about that.

Sadly there don't seem to be any hedgehogs in that part of Wales. I'll have to see what other wildlife I can photograph while I'm away; one of the villagers has a fox that visits his house and comes into the kitchen so I'm hoping I may be able to get some pictures of this.

Don't worry about my hogs back at home. They will be fed in my absense, and I've stocked up on plenty of mealworms!

Friday, 11 September 2009

100 posts already on the Hog Blog

Well, last night the hedgehogs still seemed to be remaining elusive, but from the amount of hog poo in the garden over the last couple of mornings, it's evident that they have been visiting.

Tonight, there seems to be more obvious hog activity. I've seen a big hog and a small hog in the hedgehog feeding station, plus a big hog and Scratchy (pictured above) at the feeding bowl on the patio. So, that's at least two hogs - assuming Scratchy might have been the little hog in the feeding station - and possibly four hogs. And then there's those I haven't seen.

I'm waiting to hear back from the supplier of the trail camera to see if they will exchange the battery for me. Let's hope they are helpful and willing to assist me in this.

Finally, I'm pleased to announce that this is the 100th post on the Hog Blog! When I started this blog in the Spring of this year I didn't know if I would be able to sustain it for long enough. I didn't know if I'd even make it to 20 posts. Would everyone really want to see pictures and videos of hedgehogs time after time? However, the blog has caught people's imaginations - certainly my own - and I have learnt so much about these remarkable little creatures. Compiling this blog has been a great experience and I'm already thinking about what I can do next year to make things even more interesting.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Breathing a huge sigh of relief

And today on the date that can be written 09/09/09 I give you the 99th post on this blog, featuring one of its main stars, a little hedgehog known as Scratchy!

Yes! She's back after an absence of a couple of days. I'm so pleased to see her again. When you have a regular visitor at the same time each night, for them to skip a couple of days is, quite frankly, worrying.

I believe I saw another bigger hog in the feeding station a little earlier tonight too. All the mealworms had been eaten anyway, so I put some more out and that's when Scratchy turned up. (I took the photo out of the back window - I wasn't going to risk scaring her off by going outside, especially having missed her these last couple of days).

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Where are the hogs?

The above photo is from last Friday night. I haven't actually laid eyes on a hedgehog for a couple of days now. Last night I know they visited because the food had been eaten, but tonight it doesn't look as if any of the food has gone yet. Which is strange seeing as in recent weeks the hogs had been turning up most nights before 9:00om even, and Scratchy in particular was often to be seen throughout the night around the plant pots by the back door.

Of course, with the camera currently out of commission, I can't watch hedgehogs that way either.

It's a weird feeling. It's almost like a sense of loss.

At least I can check on the hedgehoggy comings and goings on the blogs of my fellow hedgehog lovers. Shirl of Shirl's Gardenwatch has sent me a couple of photos of her hogs. which I include below:

The hedgehog in these photos is making itself comfortable in a hedgehog house in Shirl's garden. Perhaps one of next year's projects for me could be to put a hedgehog house or two out in the garden. More cameras would be a nice idea too!

Other blogs with fantastic hedgehog photos and video footage include Midmarsh Jottings and Twosie the Hedgehog. This charming little animal is sadly in decline and can now be considered an endangered species, so I think it's wonderful that people are championing the hedgehog. It really is conservation on your own doorstep!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Disaster strikes

Tonight, I tried re-charging the battery in my infrared wildlfe camera and soon noticed a nasty burning plastic smell. The battery pack appeared to be melting and was very hot. Somehow it's fried. No idea how that happened.

It's one of these trail cameras and should still be under warranty. If I've time tomorrow I'll see if I can get something sorted out.

Otherwise that will mean no more hedgehog videos this year.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sunday night's hedgehog visitors

Tonight was a quieter night in the garden, with calmer weather but getting colder as Autumn approaches. The hedgehogs will probably only be around now for two months before hibernating. I'm hoping there aren't going to be any late babies as underweight hogs have little chance of surviving through the winter.

Scratchy and friends on Saturday night

Here is three hours' worth of hedgehog footage compressed into six minutes!

Check out for Scratchy's antics at around 2:39 on the video. Very funny!

Also, we get to see Scratchy's "undercarriage" (for want of a better word), and... is Scratchy a boy? Surely not? Another hedgehog was trying to mount her last week?


Could there be TWO Scratchys with similar markings on their backs? Could this be how I missed the tick on his/her lower back earlier this week? Had I been looking at a second hedgehog? I don't know what to think any more.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Three hedgehogs on a windy Tuesday night

I've returned the camera to the tried and tested position against the back wall of the house and facing the hedgehog feeding station. I seem to get the best results there.

You'll recognise Scratchy in these video clips. She's the one with markings on her back and is also the hog that keeps scratching. I briefly examined her earlier in the evening and was pleased to see that the ticks I treated with olive oil had fallen off. However, later on I noticed another tick that I must have missed lower down on her back. I didn't want to haul her inside again - it doesn't seem fair to the hedghog to keep messing about with it like that - so I'm going to try to attend to it another time.

I wish I could examine her underside where she keeps scratching with that rear right foot, but it's difficult when they curl up into a ball.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Scratchy has a tick problem

Poor little Scratchy. Not only does she seem to have to contend with that almost permanent itch, but recent photos have shown that she has a couple of nasty ticks attached to her back. Examining her last night, I decided to do something about it.

I picked her up gently using gardening gloves and took her indoors and popped her into a large cardboard box. I then identified two ticks on her back and applied a generous dose of olive oil to each. (Apparently you can also use vegetable oil, baby oil or diluted lavender oil*. I used olive oil because I had it to hand.) The oil suffocates the ticks and hopefully they should drop off soon afterwards. I didn't try pulling them off because their mouth parts can get left in the hedgehog's skin which can then turn septic. I chose to let Scratchy back outside again, where hopefully the ticks should fall off naturally as she goes about her business in the undergrowth.

After putting her back in the garden, she quickly ran away. However, within 20 minutes she was back on the patio eating mealworms as if nothing had happened to her, so thankfully it looks like she wasn't traumatised by the experience of me bringing her indoors.

I'll look out for her again tonight and see if those horrible ticks have fallen off.

* Please note: NEVER use tea tree oil which is poisonous to hedgehogs.