Friday, 22 October 2010

Another cold October night

Thursday morning was really frosty and it felt so cold all day. I had to wonder how the hedgehogs were coping. Looking out into the garden in the evening I didn't see much activity, although just before 11pm I went to check if more food was needed and saw this juvenile hedgehog (pictured above and below). Last year I got all indignant when I saw that one of "my hogs" had been marked with a little white paint. This time it made me pleased. It means that someone else in the neighbourhood is keeping tabs and is watching out for them, and most likely feeding them too. That doesn't make me feel quite so bad about leaving them behind when I move out at the end of the month.
Let's now look at the best of the night's photos from the infrared motion-detector camera:
Here's an adult hedgehog...
...and for size comparison, here's a juvenile in the same position:
I love how this little one is perched on the edge of the food bowl. If an adult tried this it would upturn the bowl.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Lots of hedgehog activity from Wednesday night much, in fact, that I've decided to put all the photo captures into a slide show:

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

More about the autumn juveniles

I know some of you have been concerned about the size of the autumn juveniles I've had visiting in the garden. Tonight, I managed to weigh two of them and they were both around 400g. I'm not sure what the recommended weight this winter is. Last October 2009, Tiggywinkles were quoting a figure of 600g. By November they had revised this to 500g. I think if these little hogs are going to be around for best part of another month yet, and they keep eating at the rate that they have been, then they stand a good chance of getting to at least 500g. I think perhaps a call to Tiggywinkles to check the recommended weight for hibernation might be in order.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Hedgehogs on a cold October night

So about a week ago I was thinking that hedgehog visits had really dropped off and perhaps some had started hibernating already, but these last few nights have been really busy again hog-wise. Last night I put the infra-red camera out, partly because I wanted to record whether the juveniles were still coming.

Notice the time on the last photo here: 06:09 AM. That is very late for hedgehogs to still be out, at least going by past appearances. I do have another capture timed at 06:44 AM, although this was not a very photogenic shot - just a little hog can be seen in the grass in the background of the photo. I guess they are just trying to take all opportunties to fatten themselves up for hiberation.

I made sure to put down some chopped nuts along with the mealworms last night. It's funny that in two of the bowls these were all eaten, but in the bowl you see in these photos, the hogs had thrown all the nuts out and made a right old mess. Does that indicate that certain hogs visit particular feeding bowls? I'm not sure.

On another note I have some news that does sadden me. For reasons I'd rather not go into here, I will be moving out of this house at the end of next week. In many ways I will be happy to leave and to make a new start. However, it breaks my heart to think I will be leaving my beloved hedgehogs behind. Obviously, they are wild animals and I can't take them with me. I just hope that over these last few years I have done my bit for the population here and have given them a boost.

However, there was always a population here - I remember encountering a hedgehog in the rubbish bag (I thought it was a rat for one horrible moment) shorty after moving in 18 years ago. Another time I watched in amusement as a hedgehog was pushing an upright milk bottle (full) around on the road outside - I think it was trying to knock it over.

I didn't actually begin to put food out specifically for the hedgehogs until about 3 or 4 years ago. There was an established population before then, and I expect they will continue to thrive.

I'm hoping that this Winter 2010 will not be the end of the Hog Blog. There will be other animals - and hopefully other hedgehogs - to encounter where I am going. But I am going to have to say goodbye to my prickly friends here and that is more upsetting than many people would appreciate.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Uh-oh! Autumn juveniles!

In the last few days I've noticed a rather small baby hedgehog coming to the food bowls in the garden. Earlier tonight I went to the back door and saw an adult and a baby eating together. By the time I got my camera, however, the adult had gone and there were three babies eating together. Oh dear, I was so hoping it was just the one.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Thursday night's hedgehog movie

The adult hedgehog decides to show one of the juveniles who's boss.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Fussy hedgehogs

Last night I had to ration the mealworms as I am very nearly out, as is my local supplier. I figured I'd put a bowl of chicken flavoured cat food out to make up for it, but this morning shows that it has barely been touched. I feel a bit guilty that I've not been able to supply their favourite food - the mealworms - as at this time of year it's crucial that the hedgehogs build up enough weight so as to survive hibernation throughout the winter.

There didn't seem to be many visitors last night (and few decent photo captures) but this one above is unusal in the fact that it was so late at nearly 6:00am.  Ordinarily there is very little hedgehog activity in this garden after 4:00am. Perhaps this hog was especially hungry seeing as I wasn't able to put many mealworms out, but you'd have thought it'd have tried the cat food at least.