Our first hedgehog of the year arrived in the garden on 26th February. We called him Twearly, because we thought it was way too early for him to have woken up, and we didn't expect to see another hedgehog for a good few weeks. How wrong we were! On the 3rd March, at 23:30, another hedgehog came in through the ATM. We were mighty pleased that we'd marked Twearly (two spots on the rear, if you remember), because seeing an unmarked hedgehog told us this was a second visitor.
He trundled into 9e and had a munch on the mealies, and then down to the water, so we were certain this was one of last year's regulars, as he knew his way around so well. We had our suspicions that the empty bowl in 9e the previous night might be due, in part, to the new visitor, but checking the captures we saw the previous night's scoffing was completely down to Twearly.
We named this new hedgie Tog (The Other Guy (or Gal!)) but were unable to check him (or her) over, as we were unprepared at that late hour, and that was the only visit he made that night. We were going to check him on the next night, but only made on brief visit and we missed him. We were better prepared on the next night, and managed to check him/her. It is a noticeably larger hedgie, and weighed 1060g (Twearly was only 815g) but was obviously quite thin - it will be quite a monster when fully refuelled. Unfortunately, we couldn't encourage it to uncurl, so we still don't know if it is a boy or a girl. We duly marked it, with three spots on the rear.
Tog was somewhat more active on this second night, wandering over to find the bowl outside 9a empty, so he went down onto the patio, and had a scoff from the bowl outside 9c. He then wandered over to 9b, and looked decidedly miffed to find the bowl there empty - we haven't been putting too many mealies out when we weren't getting the visitors, but rest assured, the bowls are full now.
Here is Tog on the patio, in pristine condition before suffering the indignity of the emulsion brush:
The following morning 9e bowl was again empty, but most of the blame still lies with Twearly - he made ten visits to 9e in one night! We've now got two bowls in 9e, since it still seems to be the favourite spot, interspersed with visits to the water.
We have seen a couple of remarkable interactions between the two hedgehogs, for which the videos will appear in due course, when YouTube gets them uploaded. On his own, Twearly seems to be a brave, confident hedgehog, but he turns to jelly when Tog is around. One night, Tog had just come in through the ATM. A few minutes later, Twearly came trundling up the alley, as far as camera 12 - and then hesitated, and turned round!
Even more remarkable is the one where Tog was in 9e. Twearly comes running up, and about two feet from 9e pauses - then runs away. Meanwhile, Tog was munching away quite happily.
The best of all was this, when Twearly had just reached the entrance to 9e when Tog arrives. Poor Twearly freezes, blocking the entrance - and Tog can't bulldoze his way in. So he takes a walk round the box and tries again - no luck. Another walk round - no luck. Eventually Tog moves away and waits, just long enough for Twearly to uncurl and move into the box - then Tog bulldozes him out of the way. Poor Twearly!
This is the view from inside 9e - note the menacing shadow!
Last night (6th/7th March) was fairly quiet, but it was very cold - below freezing - so maybe they were keeping warm.