Published: February 20th 2010July 6th 2009
Our Hedgehog Family!
On the 18th of June Rupesh and I got home about 11.30pm. It was a Thursday evening and I had been paddling in Richmond and then had dinner at the club. As I walked towards the pathway leading towards the front door I thought I saw something cross the path. A bit late for squirrels I thought as they are only out during the day normally. Then...just under the hedge I saw a little hedgehog. Rupesh ran inside and got the torch and when he came out I found a big one and a baby huddled together under the hedge. Then I pointed to another big one on the grass which Rupesh was quick to say was a rock but on closer inspection it was a hedgehog curled up in a ball and trying to hide at the base of a tree. A family of 3 hedgehogs! It was very exciting. I was just a little disappointed that only the day before Bern and Elizabeth had flown back to Australia to settle back at home and missed the excitement of seeing the hogs.
The following week we had Erin and Mark staying with us for a
few days, they were on the tail end of their honeymoon and about to fly back to Australia. I looked and looked but there were no more hedgehog sightings when they were staying with us.
So...back in April, Rupesh took me all the way to a hedgehog hospital in Devon when we had hedgehogs at our own garden! A couple of months ago we did make a hedgehog house out of a cardboard box but it didn't last so long. Now it was time to get a serious hedgehog house. I found one on e-bay made of timber with a log tunnel entrance. The hedgehog house arrived on the 6th of July and we set it up with food and bedding and put it in the garden about 9.30pm. Half an hour later I went out to the house and there was a hedgehog inside. His name was Nosey - named so for being so nosey and discovering the house very quickly.
Over the following weeks I made very frequent trips to the back yard in the evenings to visit the hogs. The hogs sleep during the day and only come out when its dark. A couple of
First Hedgehog Sighting in Neighbors Garden!
One of the family of 3 curled up in ball at base of tree.
times I may have set my alarm and got up during the middle of the night to see if they were there! It wasn't too hard to find them when they were wandering around the yard because you could hear the rustling in the bushes. A week or so later I discovered Patches the hedgehog. Patches was much bigger than Nosey and had these strange green patches on his spines. Patches was very quick to get to the food and I think Nosey was starting to miss out! Hedgehogs eat lots of different sorts of bugs in the wild but I was feeding them cat food as suggested in my Hedgehog Book! It's not a bad thing to fatten up the hedgehogs over the summer otherwise some of them don't survive hibernation over the winter when there are no bugs to eat.
In September, one of Rupesh's friends James came to stay with us. The night that I took James in to the back yard to show him the hogs I discovered a baby hedgehog who is now known as Baby James. Before Rupesh and I went to Australia in October James had a bit of training in feeding
the hogs and was our hedghog babysitter while we were away!
I bought a second hedgehog house as 3 hedgehogs and 1 house was going to get a bit cosy! I did start to suspect that Patches was making trips in to both houses as he was often the first one we would see in the evenings.
As I write this it is now February, 2010 and we haven't seen the hogs since mid November, 2009. Leading up to this time the hogs started to drag a lot of leaves in to the houses to make a nest and I did notice a hog in one of the houses during the day sleeping. I think this may have been the beginning of hibernation. I can no longer see if there is a hog in the houses because the nests are so tightly packed. There was a lot of snow in London leading up to Christmas and Rupesh did get a good photo of some hog prints in the snow so they still must have been coming and going at times. It has been and still is an incredibly cold winter. I'm not sure when the hedgehogs will come
out of hibernation but am looking forward to seeing them I hope in March/April time.
There are more photos below