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Science/nature/environment

Hedgehogs at last!!

(36 Posts)
merlotgran Sun 04-Aug-19 11:25:44

Last night we were watching the dogs having their last run in the garden before going to bed when we spotted two dark shapes slowly emerging from the log heap. We immediately thought they were rats as we are surrounded by arable fields but when we called the Jack Russells they didn't take the slightest notice. I grabbed a torch and we were thrilled to spot two baby hedgehogs!!

You may think this is no big deal but when we bought this two acre property in 1990 it was on intensively farmed arable land. I was told by a local tractor driver that nothing would grow without chemicals, other than fen nettles (and boy, do they sting!)

Many years later after lots of hard work and perseverance, we have a healthy organic garden, abundant wildlife and worms a plenty but until last night we have never, ever seen a hedgehog because they don't like fenland soil.

It might seem daft but we're really excited and we'll be out there tonight with a camera because last night, by the time I'd dashed back indoors to grab my phone, they'd disappeared back under the logs.

I feel like the final box has been ticked! smile

Minniemoo Sun 04-Aug-19 11:32:16

Hi merlotgran. What excellent news!

We spotted what we thought was either a mega massive cat or, as I said, a fox in the garden so we invested in a camera that stays on all night and picks up movement.

Great investment as we have all sorts pottering about the garden at night and it's great to see and hear hedgehogs snuffling under the bird table.

And it was a fox. In fact one night we saw 3.

goldengirl Sun 04-Aug-19 12:15:39

I can understand your excitement.
We hadn't seen hedgehogs for ages in our garden but in early spring DH went to clear the shed and found a large one curled up in some leaves he'd kept for some reason. Fortunately the shed was old and had a gap so we realised it had found it's own entrance and exit. It stayed there for quite a long time and then it went - or did it? We have heard snuffling around the garden on several occasions and wonder if it's the same hedgehog. Our fences allow a hedgehog 'run' between gardens so who knows? I just love them.

paddyann Sun 04-Aug-19 12:25:39

we've always had hedgehogs here ,our kittens only discovered them this week though as its the first time they've been out when the hedgehogs were.
They were very confused when the little one rolled into a ball an d didn't move ,chased after the big one and finally gave up when it disappeared into a wood pile .I put cat food out for them and have done for years ..waiting now to find out if I shouldn't be feeding them .

merlotgran Sun 04-Aug-19 12:31:41

I like to think of the adults making the two mile journey from the village across farmland to find us! Now they have young we hope they will stay as there is nowhere for them to go other than fields that will soon be ploughed.

They shuffled into the yard just after 10pm last night so we will have torch and camera at the ready tonight. I'm wondering if a dish of cat food might tempt them.

Minniemoo Sun 04-Aug-19 12:47:10

Cat food is good. Dried mealworms seem to be a firm favourite as well.

shysal Sun 04-Aug-19 13:07:38

A neighbour feeds her hedgehogs with 'Spike'. a dried food.

I sometimes see them feeding on the peanuts that I put out for badgers, but worry that the two species will come at the same time because a badger can unroll and eat a hedgehog.

merlotgran Sun 04-Aug-19 13:13:06

Badgers are killing far too many hedgehogs. Fortunately, they also hate fen soil because their setts would collapse so we don't have to worry about them invading.

Elegran Sun 04-Aug-19 13:32:22

I was about to ask how much you thought the baby hedghogs weighed, but that is very difficult to estimate from a brief sighting! They are born early to late summer,and need to weigh at least a pound (450grams) to be able to survive hibernation for the winter, so late babies could be at risk. There is a very good article on this at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/pdf/Hibernation-Weight.pdf

There are also a lot of facts and advice at www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/top-navigation/wildlife-advice/hedgehog-fact-sheet.html

merlotgran Sun 04-Aug-19 16:37:32

Thanks, Elegran. Interesting articles.

I think they looked a bit on the small side but hopefully, if we see them again, I'll be able to get a closer look. We'll put some cat food and water out tonight and make sure our dogs and cat are indoors.

M0nica Sun 04-Aug-19 18:13:15

DD had hedgehogs until last week, when a badger killed and ate most of both animals.

Nature red in tooth and claw.

pinkquartz Sun 04-Aug-19 18:17:40

Well done !

I love this......you have created something very beautiful.

Hedgehogs love cat food and roast chicken...I used to feed a family of them where I used to live they are adorable.

I would love a hedgehog again......I think the neighbouring Holiday park has blocked them off with metal fencing.

pinkquartz Sun 04-Aug-19 18:18:43

oh Monica I was about to add that I do have a visiting a Badger... maybe that is why no hedghogs......sad

Day6 Sun 04-Aug-19 18:22:27

Merlotgran, I share your excitement!

What a lovely discovery and good for you for ensuring your plot encouraged wildlife to thrive. Here's to Mummy and Daddy hedgehog for doing the business. I hope the little ones lead lovely, peaceful lives in an environment which now suits them.

Day6 Sun 04-Aug-19 18:28:36

I had a (gorgeous) diabetic cat and had to leave food out on the back doorstep for him during the day as he too could go hypo if he didn't balance his food intake, activity and insulin.

I kid you not that the empty dishes, every evening when I returned from work, ensured that our hedgehog population became absolutely enormous. grin They were coming to the bowls regularly!

One night we saw what was a giant (mutant grin) hedgehog on the back step. He shuffled off when he knew we were there but he was massive!

When our beloved old cat died, I continued to leave food down on the step and we were rewarded with baby hedgehogs in the garden over the next few years.

I worried about them when I moved. sad

merlotgran Sun 04-Aug-19 18:30:47

We are fortunate not to have badgers. We've seen one or two dead at the side of the road about three miles from here so they're not far off.

We keep rabbits at bay with fencing, the JRs and a brilliant cat. When we first moved here the fields were full of hares but they're all gone now. sad The upside of that though is we no longer have a problem with illegal hare coursing taking place just the other side of our boundary which used to be scary as they are violent thugs and the police never seemed to arrive in time.

Our largest wild visitors are muntjac and roe deer. Thankfully on our field and not in the garden!

dragonfly46 Sun 04-Aug-19 18:32:06

I am afraid we have wild foxes from the woods and badgers so not too many hedgehogs.

Well done Merlot making your land organic again. It is so exciting, please post pictures if you get m.

dragonfly46 Sun 04-Aug-19 18:32:15

Them

Namsnanny Sun 04-Aug-19 19:34:49

We used to have hedgehogs and badgers. I never saw any evidence of the hedgehogs being eaten!
Mind you who knows what happens when we're asleep?

Gave up leaving peanuts out for badgers because a rat population settled in the log pile!

I'd love to encourage the hedgehogs back but I'd be afraid of the food being eaten by rats again (sad)

M0nica Sun 04-Aug-19 20:20:51

DD was woken by the screaming of the hedgehogs, saw what the predator was and buried the remains of the hedgehogs the following day.

watermeadow Sun 04-Aug-19 20:41:16

I have watched sadly as the wildlife numbers have fallen disastrously even in my own garden.
This year I’ve seen only one hedgehog, no slow worms or toads. My cat has killed no mice or voles (he’s only an occasional hunter)
One or two ladybirds, a very few butterflies, no beetles.
This is a town garden but with lots of wild bits. The only birds I see are the commonest few.
I blame slug pellets and garden chemicals, used with abandon by all my neighbours.

bikergran Sun 04-Aug-19 21:01:22

Went to DD earlier, when I arrived home she sent me these pics.

Earlier on in the year she found a Hedgehog curled up on the top of undergrowth(it wasn't covered up or hidden) she presumed it was a dead one.But about a month later it had dissapeared.

Today she sent me this.(she heard rustling in the undergrowth.)

bikergran Sun 04-Aug-19 21:02:35

We live in North Lancashire.DD has sort of wild garden, even saw a toad and small toad/frog last week, squirrels, also 2 robins are hanging around every day.

Farmor15 Mon 05-Aug-19 15:30:45

Last night son-in-law, visiting for weekend, came in from late night smoke, and reported seeing hedgehog and confirmed with photo. We were delighted, as we hadn’t seen any for a few years. Though last year, visiting our Swedish family, met a couple in the garden a few times.

merlotgran Mon 05-Aug-19 15:39:15

DH discovered one last night feasting on fallen mirabelles. I went out with the camera but it had gone but at least we will know where to look tonight.