Help Save the Hedgehogs Part II

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  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653
    AngieR says:

    Spotted the first hedgehog feeding last night Mark.  I am certain it wasn't either of the youngsters but can't say for certain it was any of the larger ones I was seeing last year.  How much weight do they lose over winter?  Is it relatively noticeable through sight? We are now all on hog watch again.

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    Sorry Angie, I have only just realised you had posted. My notifications have got a mind of their own! Anything between 100-200g is typical, which is why it is recommended to over winter autumn juveniles and fatten up those present so they are in the clear. A nice large round hog at this time of year is a sign of beaming health. A hog that can fully curl up, covering the entirety of its head is the perfect example. Too thin or too fat and it will struggle to do so making it vulnerable to predation. 

  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653
    Joyce Goldenlily says:

    I have a garden with uncultivated areas so am hoping I have hedgehogs, have never heard or seen one in 15 years. However, every so often I find small "calling cards" on the patio and steps near the house. They are too large for rat, wrong colour as well. They have insect wings and hair in them so I live in hope. I am reluctant to leave food out for them as I have marauding ferule farm cats who beat up my cat, foxes and a lot of rats which feed in my neighbours chicken run. Sadly now, I rarely see hedgehog corpses on the local roads, it used to be so common to see them which can only mean there are far fewer of them around. It is very rural where I live, plenty of deer, badgers, foxes etc. but hardly any hedgehogs.

    Before moving here I once saw a family of Mum and Dad hedgehog and their family of hoglets, stuffing themselves under my neighbours cherry tree. It was dusk and the noise was unbelievable, such a slurping, lip smacking and grunting. Oh my were they enjoying themselves. My daughter and I stood and watched them for several minutes, completely entranced.

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     Hi Joyce, what a wonderful experience you had all those years ago. Shakespeare referred to them as 'hedge pigs or boar' and we definitely know why image noisiest when eating, looking for a mate or in pain. I understand that even with a hedgehog feeder you could unintentionally persuade the existing population of rats & the lingering unvaccinated feral cats (always a worry for your domestic cat with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), I'm lucky here. The most likely cause of their diminishing population in your area is the badgers. They will predate hogs if preferred food sources are not available at any given time, there's a correlation between areas of culling and a recovery in hedgehog presence. 

  • ClathymacdClathymacd Posts: 37

    My two overwintered hogs are now up to weight and seem to be becoming quite restless; the mess in their crates is unbeleivable given that they are quite small creatures! Food, water, bedding and paper everywhere. I'm wondering if they should now be released? No sign of any in the garden yet (I've been putting food out for a week now but it has not been touched ). I have 3 houses outside, which I can fill with straw but really I'm not sure what to do. The forecast up here is mild(ish) for the next 3 or 4 nights but we can still get frost as late as May. Any help appreciated.

  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653

    If you're unsure Clathymacd, it's best to wait. The news that they've gained adequate weight & are restless is a positive sign, their body clocks are still in tune with the seasons. We usually release around April here and I'm in the South East, none of mine are yet out from hibernation either. I'd say it's still too soon, especially in Scotland. The best indication will be when your other residents make an appearance image how much are they weighing in at now? 

    Last edited: 07 March 2017 16:53:25

  • ClathymacdClathymacd Posts: 37

    Thanks for the advice. They are both over 800 grammes now. It's interesting that one eats a bit of everything (mealworms, dry hedgehog food and mixed chopped nuts) and has gained weight more quickly whilst the other eats all the mealworms but a lot less of the other foods. I have read that they can become addicted to mealworms so I am giving both less but more of the dried food. I think it's also better for their teeth. I'll keep them indoors until I see signs of the others being out of hibernation.

  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653

    Yes definitely - mealworms are good as an occasional treat but are the human equivalent of junk food. Hedgehog branded food or meat flavoured cat biscuits are best for their teeth. Raisins & sultanas etc also rot their teeth

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 3,412

    As we had such a warm & sunny day here yesterday (Gloucestershire), I put our camera out, and sure enough a hedgehog appeared on it at about half past midnight. There may be 2 , but we could not be sure. They left a couple of "calling cards" near our "Hedgehog Highway" gap in the fence.image

    Always a relief when they re-appear - the camera & food are going out tonight !!

  • Guernsey Donkey2Guernsey Donkey2 Posts: 5,488

    That's great AnniD, you did the right thing in putting your camera out, and now you have proof that they are awake and ready for the warmer weather.  Now the hedgehogs will be rewarded with a special supper tonight. 

    Our saucer of food, put outside the front door was eaten last night, for the first time.  The food disappeared after I checked at midnight.  The only think is that I am not 100% sure it was a hedgehog that ate it, although we also had a hedgehog calling card left about a week ago, but we haven't actually seen the hog yet.

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 3,412

    Hog update - definitely 2 as we caught them on camera together. Possibly 3, as I'm sure there was a much larger one on a separate visit.

    Was hoping to set up second camera to see if the hedgehog house was being used, but ran out of camera batteries image.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,219

    after seeing hog poo yesterday. I put out some cat food but no takers.image

    Devon.
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