watervole: (Default)
Judith Proctor ([personal profile] watervole) wrote2017-06-20 09:40 am

Mating hedgehogs

 So many things I was going to post about: the folk festival I've been working on for the last year, the norovirus that meant I missed half of it, the children I've been teaching longsword to who did brilliantly at the festival, the sheer joy of watching Dame's Rocket morris and Northgate Rapper at close quarters, the fact that we have a bidding war on my mother in law's house after a year of trying to get any decent offer at all, but the thing that has actually got  me to keyboard is hedgehogs.

Up late last night due to the heat and sitting on the back doorstep to cool down.

Strange snuffling noise in garden and the mint swaying back and forth.

Sat down with Richard and sure enough, a hedgehog eventually emerged, then another and eventually there were three adult hedgehogs.

One was doing his/her own thing, but the other two were spending ages going round in circles under the mint and one of them was snuffling all the time.  I guessed (correctly) that this must have something to do with sex.   There's a nice little summery of hedgehog life here.

I put out a bowl of water while we were watching them and it wasn't long before one came over for a good drink.  S/he had no hesitation about coming within a few feet of us.  I put out a bit of cat food as well, but that was sniffed at and ignored.  (It was gone in the morning, but that could easily have been a cat)

We work with out neighbours on two sides to maintain holes in the fence where hedgehogs can come and go.

We have a lot of low growing plants which provide good cover.

We have a pond with soil sloping into the water on one side (so that even if an animal falls in, they can still get out).

We never use slug pellets (and have very little slug damage).

We add a lot of garden compost to the soil (which means lots of soil organisms for hedgehogs to eat.)

We have a compost heap which they'll hopefully use to hibernate.

Last year we had baby hedgehogs in the garden.  I wonder if the ones we saw today are those babies coming back?
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

[personal profile] igenlode 2017-06-24 10:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Sadly, the foxes round here have worked out how to get hedgehogs out of their shells :-(

We've had three lots of hedgehogs arriving over the last few years; none survived more than a few days before showing up as a pathetic scooped-out husk on the grass. Apparently they wait for the hedgehog to uncurl and start to move, then grab a hind leg and either break it or bite it off, at which point the hedgehog is defenseless against being eaten.

A bit like urban bluetits working out how to get the cream from milk-bottles. Clever animals, foxes.

Unfortunately they don't eat slugs, and the hedgehogs would if they were left alive to get on with it...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

[personal profile] igenlode 2017-06-26 09:35 pm (UTC)(link)
There's nothing that can be done; it's got to the stage where we simply hope that no more hedgehogs will arrive, because they'll inevitably end up dead once they do.

But I imagine that yours aren't urban foxes, and probably haven't worked out how to open up hedgehogs yet; it's learned behaviour, and seems to be quite local to our population from what I can gather.