Last night was another bumper night for hedgehogs. On several occasions we had at least three in the garden at the same time, and a couple of time two feeding side-by-side from the same bowl. As snufflehog comments and illustrates with a lovely video, the hedgies seem to be much better disposed to one another, eating together rather than pushing eat other away.
Unfortunately, there was so much activity, we got thoroughly confused and lost track of who was where. We only have a small garden, but as we have tried to make it wildlife friendly there are lots of places for the hedgehogs to go missing. We definitely had three present at one time, and not a single one could be seen. Sometimes, of course, you can hear the munching...
The hedgies do tend to pick up marks on their spines which make them easier to identify - we have Chris visiting at the moment - we know from the Criss-Cross markings on his back. But it can be confusing when they suddenly appear with a whole new set of markings. Nightshift did this one night, and we wouldn't have known it was her except for her behaviour.
We seem to have two small babies, Tina and TinaTwo. We thought they were both Tina until we saw her in two parts of the garden at the same time. We're not sure about TinaTwo, but we can identify Tina from her behaviour, because she is learning the layout of the garden. In the last post I said she had found the patio again. Last night and tonight she didn't find it, she went straight for it, running directly across the lawn to the top of the ramp.
She explored more of the patio - I was hanging out of the back door following her with the night scope, but the she just disappeared. The next sight of her was leaving the garden by the ATM, over an hour later! She came back several times, and we think she was in the garden for at least five hours in total.
Today we did a bit of maintenance in the garden, cutting back the Lady's Mantle. It still gives plenty of cover for the hedgies, but it doesn't block our view quite as much.
We finally covered the fourth hedgehog house/nest box ("9d") in roofing felt. The box was finished about six weeks ago, but we'd run out of roofing felt. I got a length from my father, which we used to cover the roof, but it was extra heavy duty stuff and very difficult to fold round the nest box, so we didn't do the rest of it. We cover the whole box now - base and sides as well as the roof, so they should be waterproof. 9a only has the roof done, but we cleaned it out during the week and it seems as good as new, even though it's been in the garden for a year, which is quite nice since we didn't treat it with anything to avoid upsetting/poisoning the hedgies.
We need to upgrade 9b at some stage. This was only intended to be a "feeding station" - a large box with easy access, on the patio where the hedgehogs were feeding. Then Nightshift moved in permanently. The walls are quite thick, but the floor and roof are only 18mm ply. Last winter it was getting very cold inside (we have a remote temperature sensor!) so we put some sheets of expanded polystyrene above and below for insulation. It helped, but Nightshift had to leave after a few weeks of hibernation as it still got too cold for her. So, 9c and 9d have double-skinned floor and ceiling with loft insulation, so we hope they will be better, and 9b needs upgrading to the same...