Tuesday, 1 April 2008

The Director’s Cut

It’s April the first and am I having a joke here? Nope… what you are about to see is entirely true and you have my assurance that no animals were harmed during the making of this film!


Camera on a stick, video 0:42 with background music, try 480p quality.

Okay what is this about? Well…. a few months back we had a certain visitor to our garden. A very popular visitor this was too! It was seen in the ‘wee’ small hours of the night... It came to my garden in search of food and after devouring its natural food sources. It came in search of…..


Hungry Hedgehog, video 1:02 with background music, try 480p quality.

Crushed peanuts and sultanas were found to be the favourite food. After trying many reputable ‘branded’ foods the snout of this animal did not even disturb the surface of the food in the rather splendid dishes I supplied.

This was a very noisy and messy feeder. It often left a few… presents too! How kind of it. It like to party and what a good time to return to my garden…


THE HEDGEHOG IS BACK!!!


Okay on a more serious note, the dropping I discovered on Monday morning (not the one shown above which was found last year) was of a hedgehog. It was spotted in the area where I left food out for them last year. This would suggest to me that this could be a returning visitor and that some hedgehogs could be out of hibernation – for a visit or too. Let’s hope it was the juvenile I worried about last year. However I am not sure if this is good or not. Perhaps it is still too cold for them. I will make sure I continue to put food out as they will really need it if they are exploring now.

Before installing our outside camera we taped it securely to a plank of wood as it has a night setting too. We had the chance to have a peek inside the hedgehog box I built last year to see if it had been used at all. I had no way of knowing. I had always considered dismantling this set-up but after my very careful exploration, being directed by my willing helper through the intercom facility on a cordless phone, I have decided to leave it. I could be a nice home yet.

There was a pile of leaves inside my box hedgehog house so it is hard to tell if it has been used at all. Although I do remember some leaves being there when I added the extension/porch at the front. Therefore I would suspect there hasn’t been a hedgehog hibernating there. I was a little late perhaps in making it anyway. However, I did still try to help the hedgehogs.

Okay, so what do you do if see one of the delightful presents shown above on your borders, lawn or paving? Well, there are many sites that have very useful information so I will give you links to a few. I would suggest that you do look out for the droppings as that will tell you if they pass through your garden. This is a time of year when we are out in the garden and before the foliage covers the ground again it is a good time to look. I had seen this dropping once before and had originally thought a slightly smaller specimen belonged to a slightly larger bird!

British Hedgehog Preservation Society
HogWatch
Epping Forest Hedgehog Rescue

Finally, is a visiting hedgehog a good thing for the garden? Oh yes.. it is a great natural control of slugs and snails!

The first video above was taken on Tuesday April 1st 2008. The second video was taken September 11th 2007.

11 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can't wait to follow the Hedgehog saga. It is such a friendly little fellow, cute too.

Frances, said...

Shirl, you are the funniest one! Posting a piece of poop has to be the epitome of animal loving. We don't have hedgehogs here, but I do have a cast concrete one in the garden for the cottage garden style needs at least one. Do show us more of these lovely animals.
Frances

shirl said...

Hi again Lisa and Frances :-)

Lisa – Neither can I! We only started to see them last autumn so it will be good to look out for the young ones in the summer months. As my outside camera works in the dark it may well be used for the hedgehogs yet :-D

Frances – I hope someone would find it amusing! Yes, I remember a number of the US blogs saying you didn’t get hedgehogs. I will do my best to share any we see :-D

Jane said...

I saw our hedgehog for the first time this year the other night. It was lovely to see it... and it left a little present. Hopefully with your new camera you should see it soon! Good Luck. Jane

Mel said...

Hahaha, great post!!
Love your garden's visitors :D

shirl said...

Hi again Jane and Mel, welcome to the return of hedgehogs in the garden :-)

Jane – Good to see they are out and about with you too. Ah… the presents, yes I had a few last night and had my first sighting too. Sadly this came at 8.45pm when I went out to fill up the empty bowl – the birds eat what is left. I was making another feeding station at the time and was ready to put it out so I was well gutted!! My camera was put up to watch the blackbird Nestbox and I would move it for the hedgehogs later in the year. However after seeing this beautiful creature last night I have decided I would like the camera moved now to where we can see its visits. If it looks like we will get a nest being built in the blackbird box I will consider moving it back there. As you know from your camera it is even better to watch the wildlife at night :-D

Mel – Glad I made you laugh! As I said above I am going to move the camera for the moment to see the start of the hedgehog visits. I wonder if more than one comes for supper?

Miranda Bell said...

This is great - hedgehogs are wonderful and a huge help in the garden with their love of slugs & caterpillars - we've got a number in our woodland so often see them bumbling around when I take our dog out in the evening! Sorry I've not been around recently but it's a busy time of year... Miranda

Barbara said...

Lucky you! Your hedgehogs are back! We are still waiting. They probably haven't finished their winter sleep here! We have them on two different places here in our garden. I'm curious to see them again...but I don't have a camera outside, that's a pity!

shirl said...

Hi there Miranda and Barbara

Miranda – Yes, since I posted this I have been watching the hedgehogs through my infrared camera. It’s been great to see them although I have never seen hedgehogs in woodlands that must lovely to see. Yes, I am hoping they will help control the slugs but I need them to leave the caterpillars for the blue tits :-D

Barbara – I have to say that I don’t know if this is early here in Scotland as last year at this time I didn’t know they were visiting! Perhaps you don’t need a camera outside as they had young in your garage last year so might they not return to this same place?

Anonymous said...

i had a hedgehog took up residence in the outside toilet, she had 5 babies in there so we made a house for them and she took them in there. we have now made another house and the hoglets have moved into it, mum is still in the first house. we are making more houses so they can have one each to hibernate in if they dont leave.they are costing a lot to feed but its worth it to see them running around evenings on the patio.they are about 2 months old i think, i am not sure because they were little balls of spikes when i first saw them.they are growing and seem to stay close to thiere house and feeding area.i made a toilet of straw in a box and they all use it .patricia.

shirl said...

Hello Patricia :-)

What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing it. You are being very caring of the hedgehogs in your garden. You have done your best to help them survive the winter – well done you :-D

How great it must have been to see the hoglets – I have never seen any myself. I do look out for them but with all the foliage plants covering the ground at the moment maybe they are actually there but I just can’t see them!

All the best for your family :-D