Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Cheshire Hog

Photo by Hannah Boardman

My niece Hannah has just sent me this photo of the little hedgehog that she and the family found outside their house in Cheshire last night. My sister phoned to tell me that they took him to the Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital this morning, where he was weighed and found to be only 209g. Definitely an autumn juvenile, and even smaller than the first one I found last week. He is being kept at the hospital for overwintering seeing as he is too small to survive hibernation. Well done to the Boardman family for another hedgehog rescue!

Hedgehog at the waterbowl and a couple of items of news

There are still one or two hogs visiting the garden each night, and thankfully they are nice big ones that look like they're going to be able to survive hibernation. Here's another of my trademark "through the cat-flap" photographs of one of last night's hedgehogs at the waterbowl. I like how its front paw is in the water. So, that's how they manage to leave those prints everywhere.

I had a telephone call from my sister late last night. She and her family had just arrived home to their house in Cheshire after a short break in London (I went to meet up with them all on Monday) and they found an autumn juvenile trying to sleep on their driveway by the garage door. She's put it in a box with some bedding and taken it inside into the warmth and I've advised her what food she can give it. I've also given her the phone number of a local carer - who, it turns out, she believes she already knows. Hopefully, she'll get the little hog to this carer in the morning and it'll be safe and sound. It's so weird that this should happen after I was telling my sister on Monday about my own two autumn juveniles.

If anyone else out there finds an autumn juvenile and needs to find a local carer, see the list at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

In other news, I have at last received the replacement battery and charger for my infrared motion-sensor camera. I was hoping to make a few more videos before the hedgehogs all go into hibernation, but alas, this one does not work either. I think I'm going to have to send the whole camera back. How infuriating!

UPDATE: Wait... I think the camera is working now after all. I shall test it tonight.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Autumn Juvenile #2

Yes, I'm afraid I've found another one! Why are these juveniles only showing up now? As you can see in the picture, this one weighs 400g, so he's a bit bigger than the juvenile I found earlier in the week. He's currently safe and sound in a pet carrier box with food, water and bedding. I haven't worked out yet how I'm going to get this one to either Tiggywinkles or another hedgehog carer (I don't drive, hence the predicament). If anyone relatively local to Didcot in South Oxfordshire can help, please let me know. Email me on or leave a comment on this post.

UPDATE (14:45pm): I'd like to say a huge thank you to S and E from the Twosie the Hedgehog blog for coming to the rescue and getting this delightful little hog delivered to Tiggywinkles this afternoon.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A visit to St Tiggywinkles

I'll tell you about this fellow (pictured above) in a few moments. First, let's talk about the little hog I found in the garden last night and posted about yesterday. I rang St Tiggywinkles and was told that I had indeed done the correct thing in bringing the hog inside and putting it in a box with food, water and bedding. I was advised to bring it in to St Tiggywinkles as soon as possible, because at 300g it was underweight and would not be able to survive hibernation.

So, off to St Tiggywinkles we went. Thankfully, it wasn't too far a drive (and thanks to Ben for being the hedgehog ambulance man). At reception a nurse was called and she scooped the hedgehog up and took him/her off to the nursery. I asked what would happen to the hog, and was told that they'd try to fatten him/her up but it was unlikely it would reach the required weight to survive hibernation, so the most likely scenario was that the little hog would be kept in the hospital for overwintering and released in the spring when it was big enough to make its own way in the world. I felt a little sad that I didn't have the chance to say goodbye to the little hog, but was happy that it was now in safe hands.

While we were there, we thought we may as well take a look around the visitors centre. There were a fair few enclosures but the animals themselves were thin on the ground. We figured that hedgehogs, badgers and foxes would all be sleeping. Thankfully, there were a lot of birds to be seen at the pond, else we would have seen very little.

Below we see a cygnet which was sharing an enclosure with another cygnet.

I was surprised to see a few juvenile seagulls, seeing as how they are hated by so many people. It's nice to know that St Tiggywinkles doesn't discriminate.

St Tiggywinkles also has the world's first and only hedgehog museum, featuring every imaginable cultural reference to our spiky friends.

One of the staff, a very pleasant lady, asked if we'd seen any hedgehogs whilst out in the visitors centre. I told her we'd only seen those through the windows of the nursery, where we'd seen babies and juveniles like the one I brought in being weighed by a nurse. They were very cute, but unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos. We were then taken outside to see one of the permanent hedgehog residents at Tiggywinkles - this is the chap in the next two photos and the one at the beginning of this blog post.

It is believed that this poor hog had suffered some kind of head injury as his right eye was visibly bulging. He seemed very relaxed whilst being held, and it was an honour to meet him!

So, what started as an emergency visit to a wildlife hospital turned out to be a very entertaining day out. All the staff we met seemed very friendly and are obviously all animal lovers and dedicated to helping animals. They are a fantastic organisation! If you get the chance to visit, do so, and if you are able, please help them with a donation.

Monday, 19 October 2009

A little hog comes to visit

Here's a new visitor to the garden - or at least one that I haven't seen before.

I spied this little hog in the feeding station. I could make out that it was sitting in the
feeding bowl eating "Spike's Dinner" and flinging it around all over the place. I thought I should take a closer look to see how big - or little rather - it actually was.

As you can see, the hog is small enough to sit in the palm of my hand. Which doesn't bode well for surviving the winter. I weighed the hog and found it was 300g. I then put it back outside in the feeding station where it curled up and I put plenty of food down for it. I quickly checked the St Tiggywinkles website to see what weight hogs should be to survive a cold winter (600g) and was just about to ring them when I checked the feeding station again - and it was gone.

I feel annoyed that I let it leave, but to be honest I wasn't really sure what I should be doing. I shall ring Tiggywinkles tomorrow and ask for guidance should I see it again. I hope it returns!

22:48 - MORE... The little hog hadn't gone far. I found it curled up asleep with the dead leaves of a finished courgette plant barely covering it, just a few feet away from the feeding station. The poor little thing is now in a pet carrier with a towel and a blanket for warmth. I've put some food and water in the pet carrier for it. It's currently sleeping, and I'm a little concerned about it. I tried a couple of phone numbers - both Tiggywinkles and a hedgehog carer in Oxfordshire, but neither were answering. I'll try again in the morning, if the poor little thing makes it through the night.

Friday, 16 October 2009

The return of You Know Who...?

Although not 100% certain, I'm pretty sure that this visitor at approx 8:50pm tonight was our friend Scratchy.

Hedgehog visits seem to be getting fewer and farther between. Although I am still seeing two or three hogs each night, these last couple of mornings there has been food left over uneaten.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Tuesday night visitor

Here's a couple of sneaky photos of tonight's first visitor taken through the cat-flap!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Monday night's first visitor

Tonight's first hedgehog visitor was an early bird at 7:45pm.

There hasn't been a lot to report over the last few days. It's not been exactly busy but there has been quite a steady stream of hedgehogs coming to the patio for a bite or two to eat.

In sadder news, I saw yesterday that a hedgehog had been killed on the road just around the corner from where I live. My immediate reaction was, "I hope that wasn't one of my hogs", then I realised how stupid that was. What difference does it make if it's one of mine or another hog that doesn't visit my garden? It's still a poor little hog that met with an untimely and undignified end.

I have to say, I'm always rather perplexed at how careless motorists can be. I've seen so many instances where it looks as if the motorist must have deliberately aimed their vehicle at the animal. It's one of the reasons why I hate cars, and even more so the idiots that often drive them.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Gimme Shelter!

Friday night comes and it's wet again. I decided that the hedgehog feeding station is not enough and that another dry place is needed for hedgehog food, so I improvised this little shelter from a broken paving slab and four housebricks.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Thursday night's hogs

A hedgehog presence was maintained throughout the evening, although I never observed more than one hog at any one time. There were at least two individuals, if not three. The one pictured above I thought may have been Scratchy. I was trying to make out the markings on its back, and at one point it did appear to be having a little scratch. I like how in the above picture you can see it's gotten its paw wet and there is a little trail of wet prints from the water bowl.

This next picture shows a hog hiding in the corner of the patio (a bit of a "graveyard" of plant pots and bits and pieces at the moment) whilst I was topping up the food bowls. I thought it was funny how it went and hid nearby rather than running off into the hedge. I believe it was waiting for some more food!

So, of course, I had to give it some mealworms!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

A hedgehog waits patiently

I went out at around 11:00pm last night to see if the hedgehog food bowls needed topping up and whilst I was putting more mealworms down in the feeding station, I noticed this very cheeky-looking hedgehog watching me from the hedge (appropriately enough!).

Let's have a look at that last photo again in close-up, because this hedgehog is a picture! You can see what the weather has been like by the wet fur on the hog's nose.

After I took this photo, the hedgehog turned around and went deeper into the hedge, but I left some mealworms for it where it had been sitting, and within five minutes a hedgehog (I believe it was the same one - it came from the same direction) visited the feeding station on the patio.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The hogs are keeping a low profile

I've hardly seen any hedgehogs in the last couple of nights. I know they are visiting because the food is being eaten, but they are keeping a low profile, which is a bit of a change of affairs since last week when the patio was busy with hedgehogs.

I accidentally disturbed the hog pictured above when I went to check the food levels in the feeding station. I do check to see if it is occupied but somehow I missed this little hog. What can I say? My torch isn't too bright and I thought it was a shadow cast by the brick on the lid. Luckily, from experience I know that hedgehogs don't seem to hold grudges and will return despite such interruptions.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The hogs are still enthusiastically munching away

I think this particular hog is the one that has been visiting since I've been back from Wales (see the last couple of pictures here). The tick near the right ear is a bit of a giveaway.

I went out later on to check the food levels, and found this hog at the waterbowl:
Again, I noticed, the hogs don't seem to be as quick to run off as they used to.

Still no definite sighting of Scratchy, I'm afraid.

Friday, 2 October 2009

A hungry hog

This hog, earlier tonight, was munching so enthusiastically on mealworms that it took not a blind bit of notice of me coming out the back door, standing just a couple of feet away and taking its photo. Perhaps having to fatten itself up for the winter is making it feel brave?

Spider outside my front door yesterday

I know almost nothing about spiders, so couldn't tell you what this was, but it was a big 'un!