Friday, 28 August 2009

A busy night for hedgehogs

Last night was a very busy night, hedgehog-wise. We were a little late going out to put the hedgehog food out, and we were still on the lawn when a hedgehog arrived at the ATM. To be fair, the hedgehog was ten minutes earlier than usual, so we were not quite expecting it, as they seem quite punctual. We were very surprised to see it was Nightshift, as she normally comes a little later. We were very quiet but she just snacked on the mealworms outside the ATM and wandered off. As it was quite a nice evening we decided to stay on the lawn for a while and watch "up close" in the dark, using the night scope. We had a real treat.

The baby hedgehog, whom we call Tiny Tina, arrived and had a good look round. She even climbed on to my foot! While she was in, two more larger hedgehogs arrived. We were all right at first when they came in, but then they split up, and we were trying to keep track of three of them. The other two were in for about half an hour, little Tina for an hour. We were even more surprised when we went in and checked the cameras watching the ATM, to find that there were actually four hedgehogs in the garden - one snook in when we weren't looking.

Tina was marvellous to watch - she is so inquisitive. She seems to explore part of the garden one night, and then when she returns the next night she can find her way round that part and she goes and explores a new part. She seems to know that the steps lead down somewhere - she has been to the top of the steps each night, peering down, but she hasn't found the extra step we put for her.

She now knows the way out under the decking, and went out exploring, then came in the same way, but instead of the undignified slide in the first time, she has found a better route and comes in quite confidently.

So, between 8:15 pm and 10 pm last night we had six hedgehog visits (not necessarily six different hedgies) and four passes without coming in.

The activity continued through the night. There was a nice moment when Nightshift and another hedgehog came in together and sat eating out of the same bowl for several minutes - normally they just shoo each other away. Unfortunately, that was on a bowl which we haven't got monitored with a camera. I think we will have to rearrange cameras.

I saw something I have not seen before - a hedgehog snoozing in the garden. We have seen that hedgies like to take a nap after their meals. They would regularly have their mealworms, then pop into one of the nest boxes for half an hour. We've even seen them get up, go for another meal and then go back to sleep. It's now over a month since Nightshift left, and we've had no visitors into the nest box since, apart from one brief visit by Nightshift. Well, last night one of the hedgies had a good feed and then curled up against the fence, in a cornet made by a large plant pot. I thought he was just snuffling, but he stopped moving and curled up and didn't move for about half an hour. We then had a very heavy shower of rain which woke him up, and he carried on snuffling.

Finally, we had two hedgies on the patio. Tina made another excursion, and then Nightshift came down just before it got light. I wonder if Nightshift is preparing to move back in to 9c? She didn't visit any of the nest boxes this time, but we hope...

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