Monday, 26 April 2010

More catching up... and lots more hedgehogs

Unfortunately, we're still rather busy and finding it difficult to keep up the blog, particularly getting videos, but the hedgehogs have been very busy in the last week.

Although it is still quite cold at night, the days are warmer and the hedgehogs are much more active, and their appetites have increased dramatically - or is it just that they didn't like the last batch of mealworms we bought? Some of the hedgies would eat them, but others took one sniff and walked away. We've now got a new batch from our regular supplier and they are very interested now. I must admit - even we didn't think the previous batch smelled very appetising.

So, to catch up... 9c now has a regular resident - Nightshift, although she did seem to spend one day in 9d, probably because someone else beat her to 9c. We have a regular resident in 9b as well, and we think it could be Alfie, back in his old home - last night the hedgie was doing Alfie's usual trick of eating with his front feet in the mealworms and his back feet in the tunnel.

9a and 9d have been a bit more variable - every night at least one of them has been occupied, but on one occasion there were two hedgies in 9a and on another two in 9d - maybe it's 9d and Flatmate from last year.

9f in the boiler room at the front has two residents. Indy is settled in 9f (left) and another chap is living in 9f (right). They occasionally meet in the hall or outside and have a little shoving match, but they do sometimes visit each others' nest and stay for a while which would seem to indicate that they get on quite well most of the time. Indy also sneaks a quick five minutes in 9f (right) when the other chap is out.

As I write this, Indy is just squeezing out under the door, and 9fr is already outside. They are having a bit of a push, but they're now eating happily together.

Last Friday night, 23rd April, was amazing. The hedgehogs were up and about quite early - it wasn't properly dark. We had two on the patio in front of 9d, one in 9e and three on the atm - all at the same time. Alfie was still in 9b and Indy and 9fr were also visible at the front, so that means there are at least nine hedgehogs in the area, and there must be more, since some of the visitors definitely aren't residents.

About 9:15 pm on Friday I went to close the back door as it was getting chilly, and I heard a lot of huffing. In fact, I heard two lots of huffing. Sure enough - one pair of courting hedgehogs on the patio, and another on the lawn. Of course, both pairs were out of camera shot.

The batteries in the night scope went, and when I came back the huffing had stopped. The pair on the lawn had gone, but the other female was on the patio. I looked for the male - he was on the mealworms in front of 9c, having a snack. He then dashed back to the female and carried on courting. I decided to see if I could rig up a camera on them, but when I came back the female was on her own again - the male was having a drink this time. The female got impatient and started off up the steps, but the male must have heard her, because he went dashing after her.

The hedgehogs seem to be getting hungry, as a few nights ago 9d popped out for a snack about 8:00 pm - a good 30 minutes before they would normally come out. He was eating for a few minutes, then went back to bed. I managed to get a few natural-light shots, although they are a bit blurred as it was getting a bit dark.

9fr snook in at 8 the night before last, too - broad daylight. I carefully opened the front door to try and get a photo, but he heard me and slunk back to bed.

We also had a lovely shot of Indy last night - he was in 9f hall, heading for bed when he just flaked out - he was like this for 11 minutes before he got up and went to bed. I was quite worried - nearly went out to check he was ok.

Finally on the hedgies, here's the clip I mentioned in the last posting, where 9fr comes out - and when he goes, we see Indy's eyes gleaming in the dark as if he was watching.

On to other wildlife - we also love watching the birds, and put up several bird boxes last year, including one with a camera. We were lucky to have a pair of robins in one of the boxes, naturally not the one with the camera. They successfully fledged all six chicks.

This year we moved the camera nest box to the site of the successful nest last year, and put another camera box up at the front. Not a sausage. And then yesterday a real surprise. A couple of visits from robins to the box at the front - then they started bringing nesting material. We were so excited. We've only seen a couple of visits today, so we hope they haven't given up. Keep your fingers crossed.


  1. Well done on all of your guests.

    Our box is still empty, and worse still, from drowning in hoggies a couple of weeks ago, we are no seeing far fewer. What do you fill your boxes with, and where do you get your mealworms from? Ther must be a reason as to why you are more successful at keeping yours near to you...

    On the plus side, I have some amazing footage from my camera of Uno beating up a smaller hoggie for about 35 minutes non stop. And the smaller hoggie - Tictac. We caught him a few nights later; he seems to be fine after the winter outside, apart from being a bit lighter in weight. I *think* I have also seem Harry on the camera a couple of times, but not 100% sure.

  2. PS - if you have any spare females, can you please send them this way. We seem to have 8 boys and no girls!

  3. Hi Kevin

    Nothing special with the nest boxes - a layer of newspaper on the floor (going up the walls as some of the hedgies have a habit of reversing up to the wall for a poo...) and barley straw. We used to put a thin layer of straw, but the boxes are now quite full. It means you don't seem much of the occupants on the internal cameras, but it lets them build their own nest - they make a nice little burrow in it.

    As long as there is some nesting material I don't think it should matter - they do normally make their own nests, bringing in leaves etc. I think ours are just lazy.

    I don't know what makes them choose the nest boxes - we have been very lucky as each new box we put out was found and occupied the night it went out. Perhaps nesting sites are scarce in our area.

    We get the mealies from Maltbys Stores on eBay, 5kg at a time. They are still expensive, but much cheaper than buying the small tubs from the garden centres. It might be worth trying a smaller pack first, just to make sure your fussy little visitors like them.

    Unfortunately, we don't know quite how many males and females we have. We keep saying we will mark them so we know how many we do have, but we feel guilty at disturbing them

  4. You certainly have lots of hog activity there. My box is still being ignored. Maybe I should try a different location. At the moment it is near the food and the hogs pass right next to it. It is sheltered but I notice sunlight can still get in to it so maybe it needs facing a different way.

  5. Hi John

    One of our boxes (9a) gets the sun in the mid-late afternoon so we do not think the sun is too much of a problem. 9f (our 2 boiler room nextboxes) also get the sun in the afternoon. The sun certainly was not a great problem for us last year, as we did not get much sunshine at all, except perhaps during September. But when we did get a bit, we used worry about it because the hedgehog who used live in 9a used to come out from the bedroom and collapse down in the tunnel, presumably to cool off, and then he would get up and retire back to the bedroom and this would be repeated.

    Does your box have a tunnel at the entrance to it. Our hedgies seem to like tunnels and all of our boxes have a tunnel ? That is the only thing we can think of at the moment.

    Being honest though, I think it is that we are just very, very lucky.

  6. Ah. Now the tunnel sounds a good idea. My box has the usual chicane but no tunnel. I'll give that a try.

  7. We wish you the best of luck with it, John. You could also sprinkle some mealies at the start of the tunnel as well to entice your visitors to explore further. We did that for 9a, 9b, 9c and 9d. They discovered 9f by themselves - we then "developed" it to have the semi-detached residences as it was a really big space - too big for just one hedgie...

  8. Real excitement here. Was just thinking of making the tunnel for the Hedgehog box. Good job I checked the camera in there. At last there is a resident. I can just see the spines on its back moving as it breathes.

  9. We are delighted, John, to hear your good news. We are just surprised it took so long. We do hope s/he will take up residency We have also had a look at the little video clip on your blog as well and s/he looks so sweet. We are not at all surprised at your excitement.

  10. I got a better video clip this afternoon when s/he turned round. I'll post it tomorrow. It wasn't until I looked back at photos of the house I remembered it does have a short tunnel. I'd forgotten all about that.