Monday, 28 September 2009

The early hedgehog catches the mealworm

The hedgehogs seem to be getting up earlier and earlier these days, and not just because the nights are drawing in. Last night, 9d was out at 18:57, well before dark. Alfie was up and out of 9a not much later. It could be a change in the weather, because they wake up in the dark nest box, before they look out of the tunnel and see if it is light or not.

It could be that they are hungry. They don't stay in front of the nest box for long, but that could be because they are nervous about being out in the light. Things do seem quieter in the evening, once they are up and around. It seems to get the busiest from 3:30 to 6:30. We had another four youngsters eating together outside 9a.

One of them went down on the patio, where he was joined by another waiting patiently in 9d tunnel:

We can't believe how many hedgehogs there are visiting us. Last year we only got two or three visits each night, and we could account for perhaps half a dozen different hedgehogs in total, with Nightshift being the most prominent visitor. I don't think we ever had more than two in the garden at once, and probably only saw two hedgehogs together four or five times.

Seeing four together is really wonderful. They do get a little boisterous, but it's so lovely to see them just eating next to each other - a real privilege. It's interesting to see the different characters, like the timid one in last night's post being pushed out of the way by the other. Also seeing little Alfie up and about first thing, and then Flatmate getting up a couple of hours later.

Nightshift was AWOL from 9c this morning. She hadn't come back. We checked the video from the front and saw her waddling off about 4:30 after spending most of the night in and around 9f. We didn't spot her on a quick scan through the rest of the video, so assumed she'd left 9f, so we took a quick photo:

When we found the hedgehogs were spending time in 9f we gave them a bit of straw for bedding. Up till now this has been left as an amorphous mass in the mornings, but as you can see, there are definite signs of nest-building. We thought it was empty, but we have a suspicion Nightshift may be in there somewhere. We'll find out tonight on the video, when we see where she appears from.

I finally remembered to try the new hedgehog food I found at the garden centre earlier in the week. We put a little in a new bowl outside 9c/9d. I did see Alfie nibble a few of the pieces, but when we looked in the bowl this morning not very much had been taken. I do keep getting told that I'm wasting my time, but I do keep trying...


  1. Try Gardman Hedgehog Bites. We get them from the local garden centre, and the hoggies can't get enough of them. We regularly have two or three at a time snuggled round a bowl eating.

  2. I have a feeling that as far as food is concerned it depends what they start on. When I first started I just put out dried mealworms. After a while I added crushed peanuts for the protein but it was several nights before the hogs ate any. Next I added raisins and the same happened there - several nights before they were eaten. I bought a packets of Spikes Hedgehog food and it has taken ages for any to be eaten though elsewhere they are very popular. Even now I think the night prowling cats eat more of the Spikes than the hedgehog does.

    It is lovely watching your video clips of so many hedgehogs together.

  3. When we first saw the hedgehogs in the garden they were eating the spilt bird food so they did like it. We started putting it in bowls for them, including mealworms, but they always finished the mealworms first and regularly left the sunflower hearts and crushed peanuts, so we just gave the mealies.

    It seems that once they get the taste for mealworms they are hooked. We'll keep trying.

    We'll look out for the Gardman, too. Thanks for the tip, Kevin, and welcome to the blog.

  4. I don't even bother crushing the peanuts now. The hogs seem to prefer them uncrushed.

  5. @twosihedgehog - thanks for the welcome, and your entertaining blog.

    @Midmarsh John - you may be right about it depending on what they start on. Fortunately it looks as if I have stumbled on one they like by accident (no idea what I was doing really). And the passing cats ignore it as well.