Saturday, 12 March 2011

Discretion, the better part of Valour

Two nights ago, the third hedgehog to emerge from hibernation walked into our garden - and an ambush by Tog, the second, rather aggressive, hedgehog to appear this year. Poor Number Three got really set about, and he rapidly exited the garden. He reappeared shortly after, and managed to sneak into 9e for a meal. Unfortunately, he was only in for a few minutes before Tog returned and plastered him on the back wall of the feeding station.

He left the garden shortly after. A little while later, a hedgehog appeared round the front of the house, and moved into 9f (left) nest box there.

Careful analysis of the videos, and a large tick behind the right ear, confirmed that the hedgie at the front was, in fact, Number Three from the back. He had apparently decided he'd had enough of Tog. The way he arrived at the front and dashed into the nest under the nose of a cat convinced us that he had stayed there last year.

In accordance with this year's decision to keep better track of our visitors, we decided to give this chap a check up. He stayed in 9f for two days. He had been out and about foraging, so when he came out again last night, we grabbed him.

He weighed 955g, was confirmed as a little boy, and his lengthwise circumference was 53cm, his side circumference was 48cm, so, not surprisingly, he is underweight. He has been tucking in to mealworms and foraging, so hopefully he will start to put weight on.

We saw five ticks on him, and managed to remove three of the horrible things.

We then marked him, four white spots on his rear, and after toying with the idea of calling him Trio, settled on Quattro, after rejecting Audie. Just to remind you, although he is the third hedgehog to emerge this year, we are still hoping that little Bailout, who we marked with a single spot, will have made it through hibernation.

We were worried that we had frightened him away from 9f, and although he was in and out throughout the night, we were concerned to find 9f empty this morning.

We were, however, surprised to see a resident in 9a! Checking back through the videos, he went into 9a about 06:00, and it is, indeed, Quattro. We wonder if he has decided to take his chances with Tog in preference to the indignity of having his rear end painted, but it is possible he just decided on a change of scenery, particularly as it was getting light. The way he approached the nest box showed he knew exactly where it was. He had walked past it the night before without showing any interest, but we think he must have been one of last year's lodgers.

Any bets where he will stay tonight?

To try and reduce the congestion and fights in 9e, we have filled the lawn feeder up, about 6 feet away. We noticed Twearly paused by 9e last night but didn't go in, and ate on the lawn feeder instead, so it appears Tog's managing to reserve all the food there.

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