Sunday, 22 November 2009

Hedgehogs in Amateur Photographer magazine

There's an interesting article in the current issue of Amateur Photographer magazine (cover date 21 November 2009) in which wildlife photographer Paul Hobson talks about how he spent two years creating a series of images documenting the life of a hedgehog.

I've left the above image scan of the magazine at low resolution, because obviously these are not my own images.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The little hedgehog goes to Tiggywinkles

Thanks again to E. from the Twosie The Hedgehog blog for helping me get this little fellow delivered safely to Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital yesterday.

The staff at Tiggywinkles told us that they are now quoting a safe hibernation weight of 500g for a hedgehog rather than the previously quoted 600g, possibly because of the milder weather recently. The little one we took in (who doesn't actually look so small in the photo, but he is all stretched out) weighed approximately 470g so he was a real borderline case. At that weight, i.e. over 400g, they said technically he's not a juvenile. However, they did say to bring him in when I telephoned and so that is what we did.

And yes, it turns out that he is indeed a boy.

I asked what would happen to him and was told that they would fatten him up and then when he reaches the required weight they would probably put him outside in the Tiggywinkles grounds, all the while keeping an eye on his progress. Then all going well, he will be released into the wild in the spring.

Thanks again to both S. and E. from Twosie the Hedgehog for all their help, advice and kindness, and for the above photo!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

More on Autumn Juvenile #3

The poor little hedgehog got itself into a bit of a pickle last night. First of all it managed to drag the corner of its blanket into the water bowl and the water soaked into the blanket and into the newspaper beneath. In these pictures we see the little hog tucked up inside a shoebox while I clean the pet carrier out and refresh the newspaper. Not having a second blanket to hand, I ended up getting a pair of scissors and cutting off the wet corner of blanket.

When I put the hedgehog back into the pet carrier I fashioned a sleeping area out of the shoebox, cutting away a portion so it could get in and out easily. I left part of the fold-down lid on it so as to enclose the bedding and make it more snug for the hog. The idea was that this arrangement would stop the bedding being accidentally dragged into the water.

However, the little hog continued to get into a pickle and I later found it on top of the shoebox, partially wedged in at the side. It was trying to sleep like that, poor thing. I took the hog out and cut away and removed the lid of the shoe box. A little later on, it still managed to get itself wedged behind the cardboard, not getting any benefit from the blanket, so I ended up removing the now totally carved-up shoebox altogether. It wasn't such a good idea, it seems.

In this next picture we see Elsa trying to get involved whilst I was cleaning out the pet carrier. "Really," I told her, "you are not helping!"

Despite all these trials and tribulations, the little hog seems to be alright this morning, and there are signs that it has been eating. I have phoned Tiggywinkles. The receptionist wasn't too sure what to say at first when I told her the hedgehog weighed 470g because she said it was a borderline weight. She had to go and consult someone but soon came back with a very definite, "Yes, you need to bring him in to us." So, it looks like that is what we are going to do.

Here is some video footage of the little one, captured earlier in the evening by the motion sensor camera shortly before I found him outside the back door:

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Here we go again... Autumn Juvenile #3

I saw earlier tonight that we had a hedgehog visitor in the feeding station, and I also saw him a little later at the water bowl. I just assumed it was the same hedgehog as on Monday night. At about 10pm, I looked out the back, and seeing that the coast was clear (or so I thought) I stepped outside to check the levels of food.

Then when I turned back to the house I saw this little fellow and my immediate reaction was that he or she was a small hedgehog and I'd better get it inside and weighed.

It turns out that s/he's about 470g so is nearly big enough to survive hibernation but not quite. It's certainly bigger than the two autumn juveniles that I found last month. I have the hedgehog safe in a pet carrier with bedding, food and water, and I shall phone Tiggywinkles in the morning, tell them how much s/he weighs and see if they think I should bring him/her in for overwintering.

Monday night's hedgehog returns to visit throughout the night and is captured on video

At a time of year when most hedgehogs in the UK are already hibernating, I was surprised to see this visitor to the garden. I have been continuing to put out food (mainly dried mealworms) just in case there were still a few hogs about, and it seems it was a good idea as this hedgehog appears to be quite hungry.

I photographed this hedgehog a little earlier in the night (see previous post), and was inspired to put the video camera out just in case it came back. Seems I was lucky!

This compilation of footage was captured on the motion-sensor infrared camera between 10:20pm on Monday 16 November 2009, through to approx 4:40 in the morning.

Note that the hedgehog keeps going just off-camera to the right of the shot in the foreground. There is a bowl here with just a little rainwater in it (and a leaf, it turns out). I'm not sure why it doesn't go to the other waterbowl between the feeding station and the plant pot at the top left of the picture - there's much more water in it.

Today I'm going to go buy some more mealworms as I'm down to the last pot, whilst this footage proves that I might need to get some more in.

Monday, 16 November 2009

It looks like I spoke too soon...

Last night I noticed all the mealworms in the feeding station had been eaten. (I have been continuing to put food out - just in case!) I was really hoping that a rat wasn't responsible. However, tonight at approx 9.00 pm, I noticed a dark shape in the feeding station...

Here, above, we see a hedgehog leaving the feeding station after having eaten all the mealworms.

Here is another shot. You might question why I was out taking photos of the hedgehog and potentially scaring it away. Well, as I said, it had had a nice feed already - the bowl had been emptied, so I wasn't too worried about it running off, but more importantly I wanted to check that this was an adult hedgehog and big enough to survive hibernation. For one horrible moment when I saw a shape in the feeding station, I thought it might be another autumn juvenile.

This particular hedgehog has a tick near its ear, and may well be the same one I saw shortly before the visits dropped right off over a week ago.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

All gone now...

I do hate to post without a picture or a video, but sadly I have no new images to share with you. Since my previous post from a whole week ago I have seen no more hedgehogs. There were no visits at all last weekend, although most of the food in the feeding station was eaten on Monday night (possibly by a passing hedgehog searching for food rather than a regular visitor - if it had been Scratchy I would have seen her at her regular times). Since Monday night there have been no more visits.

I feel a sense of sadness now that the hedgehogs have gone; I just hope they have all found safe places to hibernate through this ghastly weather and I am already looking forward to seeing them again in the spring.

If I see - and more importantly photograph - any other noteworthy wildlife in the intervening months I will post on this blog, otherwise all I can say for now is thanks for visiting and see you next spring!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The last hedgehog is an old friend

Please forgive the quality of this video. It seems that the position I placed the camera in meant that quite a lot of glare was created. I have reduced the brightness in an attempt to improve the picture, but it's far from perfect.

Regular readers to this blog will know that most of the hedgehogs that had been visiting my garden this year are now hibernating; all except this one individual hedgehog that is still braving the cold weather and filling up on as much food as possible.

Studying the above video footage I now believe that this particular hedgehog is an old friend ... Scratchy!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Look at who's been eating the mealworms!

I didn't get to put the motion-detector camera out last night until very late (about midnight) because I had been re-charging the battery again. There were a couple of hedgehog visits between 9:00 and 12:00 pm, although I suspect it was the same hedgehog on each occasion. I don't think there were any more hoggy visits after that because a lot of mealworms (which I had replenished when putting the camera out) were left this morning, providing a feast for these starlings.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


It's the 5th November which is traditionally bonfire night in the UK.

If anyone is having a bonfire tonight, PLEASE check your bonfire stack before lighting it to make sure that there are no hedgehogs inside. Thank you!

(Photo from 13 July 2009)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Big news... videos are back!

OK, so this movie isn't the most exciting, it's just a hedgehog eating (and as it had been raining, I think that was mealworm soup!). However, there aren't too many active hogs around at the moment, I think most of them must be hibernating already. I'll have to see what other footage I can get of them with the infrared camera whilst there are some still about.

I've had the new camera battery for about a week already, but had been experiencing a few problems getting it charged up properly. Let's hope it's OK and is going to continue working properly now.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Hedgehogs in the news

There's not been a lot of hedgehog activity in the garden recently. Visits have dropped right off. Only one bowl of food was even touched last night. I guess most of them have begun their hibernation. On the upside, I'm glad to report that I have found no more autumn juveniles.

However, I have found several hedgehog stories in the news this past week or so:

Guards hired to protect hedgehogs

30 October 2009

Security guards armed with torches and chicken wire are keeping 24-hour watch to stop hedgehogs hiding in a bonfire at one of the country's largest fireworks displays.

The initiative at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire, is part of a campaign to raise awareness of the danger bonfires pose to hedgehogs.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) has teamed up with cleaning company Spontex, whose mascot is Ernie Hedgehog, to promote the campaign.

Clifford Soper, from Spontex, is one of the guards hired to keep watch.

"A bonfire looks like a five-star hotel to a hedgehog searching for the perfect place to hibernate," he said.

"Most people don't think about checking a bonfire, or better still rebuilding it, before lighting which can result in the death of all sorts of unsuspecting wildlife asleep inside.

"The Three Counties bonfire has followed BHPS advice and encircled its bonfire with one-metre high chicken wire."

The Halloween bonfire and fireworks display will take place at the showground on Saturday night.

Drunk hedgehog rescued in Devon

Friday, October 30 2009, 15:28 GMT
By Mayer Nissim, Entertainment Reporter

A hedgehog has been treated in an animal hospital after getting drunk on fermenting apples in an orchard.

The creature was discovered lying on its back and squealing last Wednesday and was helped by local wildlife rescue expert Ann McCormack at The Prickly Ball Hedgehog Hospital in South Devon, the North Devon Journal reports.

McCormack said: "They had placed it in a guinea pig cage and it kept going round in circles. The hedgehog kept falling over and was on its back with its legs up in the air for most of the time.

"It was legless. This is definitely the first drunk hedgehog I have found. The next morning I came in and turned the light on and she squealed really loudly. She obviously still had a big headache."

The hedgehog, nicknamed Tipsy, will be fed up to a healthy weight of 600g before being released back into the wild in the spring.

Spare a thought for a Stroud hedgehog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Help a Hedgehog Hospital founder Annie Parfitt wants people to keep a look out for prickly creatures confused by global warming.

Annie, whose rescue centre is in Brimscombe, says milder winters and pesticide use mean hedgehogs are on the decline.

She says those that remain are getting confused about hibernation times.

At this time of year a hedgehog seen out in the day needs rescuing and taking to the hospital.

Mother hedgehogs are also having second litters late in the year due to the mild weather and the babies are unlikely to survive winter.

Annie, 41, says hedgehogs are being attacked by badgers and are vanishing from the landscape in certain areas.

She said: "They also climb into people's dustbin bags to shelter and get thrown away with the rubbish.

"Of course, at this time of year they hide in bonfire woodpiles made for Guy Fawkes' Night."

Annie has been fascinated by hedgehogs since childhood and, on turning 40, she decided to set up her hospital and do something positive to help support dwindling numbers in the Stroud area.

Annie works under the umbrella organisation the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. She can be contacted on 07867 974 525 or
And finally:

Hedgehog triplets born in five-star luxury

Staff at Edinburgh's Prestonfield left stunned by delivery in hotel reception.

21 October 2009 14:42 PM

A choosy mother chose a five-star maternity suite in one of Edinburgh's plushest hotels - even though she was giving birth to hedgehog triplets.

Guests at the Prestonfield were stunned when the critter walked into the hotel's reception and settled on the carpet.

However, they were even more surprised when she gave birth to three spiky babies before taking a snooze behind a basket of logs beside the hotel's open fire.

Staff from the SSPCA rushed to the five-star venue to care for the creatures.

Now, the seven-week-old hoglets are said to be doing well and are living with their mum at a rescue centre in Fife.

Centre Manager Colin Seddon said: "This was a very unusual place for the hedgehog to choose to have her babies.

"She was obviously confused and knowing that she was about to give birth, decided to find the nearest warm and sheltered place, which just happened to be a very plush hotel.

"We were worried when she came in because it is not uncommon for a mother hedgehog to eat her young if she is disturbed or feels threatened, so we were obviously very keen to avoid that happening.

"Initially, we kept the family warm and dry and provided them with food and water, but we left them in almost complete isolation to minimise the risk of cannibalism.

"Thankfully this approach has proved successful and all three hoglets are now seven weeks old and ready to be released back to the wild with their mother."

James Thomson, proprietor of the Prestonfield Hotel, admitted staff had been surprised by the delivery, but said: "The wellbeing of all our visitors to Prestonfield is of the utmost importance to us and so we are all really thrilled to hear that both mother and all three hoglets are healthy and are now ready to be released back home.

"We are just glad that they checked in and enjoyed a little five-star luxury along the way."