What else could we call Hedgehog 007, but James? We first saw him on the patio two nights ago, munching the mealies outside Alfie's pad, 9b. At first we thought it might be Alfie, but he didn't go into 9b. Instead, every ten or fifteen minutes he disappeared into the corner for ten minutes or so - we assume for a snooze. Alfie would definitely have gone back into 9b - and besides, the poor hedgie who we are certain is Alfie was poorly in our bathroom.
James was on the patio for two hours then, and he appeared on the patio again last night. We did see him earlier in the evening, getting thoroughly bulldozed by Twearly. After Twearly left him alone, we went to collect him to get a check-up. He was the smallest hedgie we've had this year - only 540g, curled up length 47cm, curled up breadth 38cm. From his size we think he must be one of last year's hoglets, the same sort of age as little Bailout.
We removed two ticks from him, but apart from that he seemed in good condition. He (we confirmed he is a he) was very inquisitive and uncurled very readily. We wouldn't have room on his little bum to make a lot of marks, so we gave him a spot on his neck.
A little later we saw little Bailout go into 9e, and were horrified to see Tog heading for the feeding station very shortly after. Tog is definitely Top Hog in the garden, and we've seen him plaster several very large hedgehogs against the back wall of 9e, so poor little Bailout didn't stand a chance... except that when he arrived, Tog started rubbing noses.He pushed Bailout into the corner, but not violently - more a case of Bailout backing off. Bailout just kept eating. We wondered what was happening - until we realised the Bailout must be a little girl, and Tog was fancying his chances - and little Bailout wanted her dinner. We had never got Bailout to uncurl fully so we could be certain of the gender.
We were shocked to see more ticks on Bailout - we had already taken 13 off a couple of nights ago, but in view of what we had seen on poor Alfie we decided to check her over again. When Tog exited 9e we grabbed Bailout - you can see a pair of feet and gloved hands at the end of the video.
We confirmed Bailout is, indeed a little girl, and that she now weighs 580g. What we hadn't expected was what came next - a marathon de-ticking session, lasting over two hours. By the end, we had removed 36 ticks (remember we had taken 13 off a few nights earlier). Fortunately, only two were large, bloated ones full of blood, so they hadn't taken as much out of her as the ones we took off Alfie - 24 of them, almost all bloated. It looks as though this year is a good year for ticks, and a bad year for anything which they can hook into. They were everywhere on Bailout, including about 15 on her face and five or dix in her ears. She was amazingly patient, sitting there quietly for two hours while we removed the ticks.
Meanwhile, Alfie is still being cared for in the bathroom. I don't know if we are getting better or if Alfie is making things easier for us, but the oral does of Baytril seemed easier today. His chest and snuffles are still bad, but he seems a little more energetic. He only put on 10g today, but at least he's not losing weight.