Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Who is Bailout?

We've just replied to Midmarsh John's comment on the previous post, and mentioned Bailout the Hedgehog, but looking back at the last post from last year I realised that we hadn't given the hedgehog a name at the time of the post, but this was the hedgehog we called Bailout.

We spent a week in Ireland visiting family in the middle of November, and returned to find all of the mealies we'd left out, both in the back garden and at the front by 9f, had been eaten. A check through the cameras for the week we were away showed that a hedgehog had arrived on 17th November. Fortunately, he'd only finished off the last of the mealies at the front the night before we arrived home, so we were able to replenish the bowls both front and back.

When he came in that night we grabbed him to check him over, and found that he weighed about 500g - too small to hibernate safely, but as he was still feeding regularly, and we now were providing extra food, we let him be. We marked him with a single spot on his rear. Now you know why Twearly has two spots - we hope Bailout will reappear shortly.

We decided to call the new visitor Bailout, in honour of Ireland's bailout from the EU, and the little chap continued to visit for another couple of weeks. A week after we first checked him, we checked his weight again, and he was up to 595g, so he was apparently feeding well.He visited several times each night, with a couple of hours gap between visits. Interestingly, after we started providing food in the back garden again, he stopped visiting the front, so it would seem that he only visited the front after he ran out of food at the back, also perhaps a sign that he was finding very little else to eat.

November was getting very cold (we had snow at the end of the month) and we were worried that he should be hibernating, but we left the decision of when to hibernate up to him. He was still feeding and had put on weight, so we thought he would know best. We did try putting him into 9f, where Indy hibernated last winter, but he stayed for about an hour and shortly after reappeared in the back garden, so we think he felt his own winter quarters were better.

Finally, one night his visits changed - he was in for a few minutes every half hour or so, and we got the feeling that this was his last night. Sure enough, that was the last we saw of him. We hope he had indeed found somewhere safe to hibernate, and that we'll be seeing him soon.

Here's a composite video of him:

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