Sunday, 6 September 2009

Raindrops keep falling on the hogs

There's been a whole load o' shakin’ goin’ on in da house! Since the first visits seen via a camera in our hedgehog house it has rained heavily in the evenings. A larger hedgehog has been visiting but so far no more napping has been seen…





Crushed peanuts and their skins have been sticking to this wet hedgehog’s nose too! Although they aren’t the only ones taking shelter from the rain… look out for the daddy-long-leg spiders climbing up the wall in the foreground.

So, its loads o’ shakin’ an scratchin’ too goin’ on in da house…





A final bit of shakin’ before stepping out into the rain once more…





This scratchin’ didn’t set off any alarm bells until tonight. The larger hog visited quite early at just after 9.30pm. The ground was wet but it wasn’t rainy so the video below doesn’t show any shakin’ just the scratchin’…




Just by chance I discovered that the hedgehog above actually has ticks… it is clearly seen itching one behind its ear. Now, it is clear when you notice it… but it was a couple of black marks (probably earth or plant material) that made me Google images of ticks to see what they looked like. Only when editing the clips I suddenly saw this hog had them. Oh... ah… it made me shiver at the thought!

Screen grabs from the video show one white bead (tick) in the top, centre in the photo below followed by the hog scratchin’ it with its back foot.




The British Hedgehog Preservation Society say: 'Blood-sucking ticks are often found on hedgehogs and after taking their fill of blood, will drop off the host in order to complete their life cycle. Removal of these ticks is a difficult task but can be accomplished by dousing the ticks in olive/almond/cooking oil. Removing these ticks with forceps is to be avoided as the inexperienced may leave the mouthparts and head in the skin that may turn septic.'

Looking for more images The European Hedgehog Website shows photos of the ticks on hogs and details other health problems… I might suggest you don’t look at their page if you are about to eat! They say ticks ‘…attach their heads to the Hedgehog's skin. They can be found around the face, often behind the ears. They can also be found around the tail and skirt. But they may also be found anywhere else on the Hedgehog. A Hedgehog with more than 12 Ticks will get Anaemia, which will severely weaken a it. A Hedgehog with more than 30 Ticks has a very poor chance of surviving.’

So, extra gardenwatching will be required here… although I don’t necessarily relish the idea. I fully understand in nature this hog would just have to get on with it. However, hedgehogs are on the protected list here in the UK and do need our help. I’ll keep you posted. I don't plan to intervene unless absolutely necessary.


Update Monday 7th:

This morning I discovered, through a comment from Hog Blog that I’d missed a video he had posted last week showing a hog with a tick where he dosed the tick with olive oil - full colour and commentary on this video too!

It is very doubtful that I’d ever have the courage to do this myself so I asked if he wouldn’t mind me showing his video here to let you see it too. You can find his posting here for more details.




Filming wildlife and specifically night time filming is not without its problems technically. Earlier this year my first trusty basic IR camera failed on me and sadly the same has just happen at Hog Blog tonight too… different problem. Hope he gets his sorted as it would be a shame for everyone who tunes in for almost daily hedgehog TV on his blog!

Recently, John at Midmarsh Jottings also had a problem with rainwater and his cables but today he shared some sad news about a sick hedgehog that he named 'Hope' that he took to a local rescue centre. Sadly she hasn't survived.

Watching and filming these endearing wild animals night after night, GL (Hog Blog), John and myself cannot help but get attached to ‘our’ respective regular hedgehogs (no pun intended). We are not alone either by the emails and comments we receive. There is just something so magical about these animals.


All video and photos above were taken in my garden over the weekend with the exception of the last one. Thanks Hog Blog for permission to show your video here.

22 comments:

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Bloody ticks, i hate 'em

Did you see the piece on Cambo in September Gardens Illustrated?

If I lived up your way I'd be there every weekend

cheers

Liz said...

Poor little Hedgie, I'm sure many thousand end up with ticks every year, so unless weak/elderly/young I would think it'll be robust enough to cope.

But yes getting rid would be far nicer for it, I'm sure!

(there seems to be masses of ticks in Scotland, even I've managed to find some on ME! One I managed to prize out before it got its head far enough in (was on my chest!!!) so generally now, I don't ramble through long grass...)

Btw, are you having problems with all the flooding? Perhaps you're too far south but by the sounds of it still getting a fair deal of rain. So glad we didn't go to scotland this year, as we stay where the floods were, I heard Elgin mentioned and that's one of our main places to visit.

shirl said...

Hi again Rob, ticks are completely new to me but it looks horrific what they can do to a small animal... I guess I would say I hate 'em now too.

Funnily enough ever since you mentioned the September issue way back this year (around snowdrop time) I had it in my mind to get it. I will look out for it today! Thanks for the reminder before its too late :-D

I am guessing it features Noel Kingsbury's visit to the snowdrops earlier this year plus so stuff on a new part of the garden there that he was involved with... prairie planting perhaps?

Over the summer I had on a few occasions looked at their (Cambo) webpages and could see no mention of when this garden was opening as I definitely wanted to visit. It is a bit of a drive for me from here on not the easiest of roads... I do wish it was closer. Now... I have a friend who loves gardens too... it's her birthday this week... I wonder :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Liz, Yes, I agree I am guessing this hog should be robust enough too… it looks healthy enough otherwise. On the other side when I looked at those photos of others I did cringe. Hopefully it will cope although by the way it was scratching some must be in its skirt too.

LOL... I’m guessing ticks aren’t only found in Scotland but definitely likely in long grass. Not a laughing matter though… my daughter got one after doing her Duke of Edinburgh trek up the Cairngorms. Hers held on at the top inside of her leg… so glad she didn’t show me… sounds horrific too as does one on the chest do!! Perhaps they are more likely on hill walks so the same would go for parts of England and much of Wales. Yep… the dangers of rambling ;-)

Thanks for asking about the flooding. You’re quite right, we are a lot further South than Elgin. It’s nice up there though… where do you usually stay?

G L Wilson said...

As you may have seen, one of my visiting hedgehogs is afflicted by a tick problem and I decided to try to help her earlier in the week by applying olive oil. However, I fear she may have a few more ticks than I originally thought. She keeps scratching on her right hand side and whereas I originally thought she just has fleas, I'm beginning to think there may be a tick or ticks around the skirt area.

Midmarsh John said...

Poor old hedgie. Where we can shelter, stay warm and get treatment wildlife has to take it all in their stride. Let's hope the tick falls off soon. Lovely to see use being made of the 'mansion' with your excellent video clips.

Fortunately I've managed to stay clear of ticks, just the odd leech when paddling in streams as a youngster.

shirl said...

Hi again GL, gosh I missed your posting. In some ways though... glad I didn't see it first :-O

Going out for the moment... I'll link to you later. Would it be okay if I embedded your video into my posting? It's okay if you'd rather I didn't. I don't know if I could have the stomache to do this myself... and if I did I very much doubt I could film and chat about it at the same time!! An excellent video showing the problem very well :-O

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I always hate to see ticks on any mammal, especially me. UGH...

Liz said...

Haha, of course there are ticks everywhere, only I have never once seen one down here… The first was on my trousers a few years ago, we were on Loch Garten and I’d ventured into the trees to look at some mushrooms. I got back in the car and noticed it walking along the seam of my trousers. At the point I told myself not to go in long grass… So a couple of years ago – or perhaps last summer I broke that rule again and went into the longer grass around the cottage we stay in to have a look for signs of Deer/Rabbits and whatever.

I came back in, read a book and happened to look down and there it was about to have a tasty meal, so I freaked out a little and tried to decide what to do knowing if you rip them out their head can get stuck. I pulled anyway and figured it might get a bit swollen after. Luckily it was ok, but yep I’m definitely not going into long grass again! Lol. I think it’s similar to there being far more mosquitos up in Scotland, the ticks must also like it more – also taking in to account there’s far more wildlife up there too with rabbits, deer, red squirrels and such all around us in the cottage, prime tick hosts.

We normally stay near Grantown-on-spey – Osprey territory, in a cottage on farmland around a mile from the town. Previously we always used to stay at Dornoch and Embo, but moved further south around 10 years ago to Boat-of-Garten and then onto Aviemore and now Grantown.

G L Wilson said...

Shirl - please go ahead and link, re-post videos, whatever.

My video wasn't that great as I wasn't able to show the problem being treated, but it would have been too tricky to video. (Could have used a tripod I suppose).

ShySongbird said...

Oh goodness! All hog news seems bad at the moment. Poor thing, it must be horrible. Louis had one a few years ago and we had no idea until he went for his usual clip and the lady discovered it, she thought she had removed it but the area became inflamed and the vet had to treat him.

I thought about you when they were talking about the floods in Scotland on the news the other night. I thought you were probably OK where you are but suspected you were having some quite heavy rain though.

Joe said...

Those ticks look nasty, poor hedgehog. Hopefully, it can cope ok.

Wow, great videos though Shirl, its amazing that you can get such clear views of the hogs. Hopefully you will be seeing more of this hedgehog soon!

shirl said...

Hi again Joe :-) Nice to see you… hope your exams went well. This will be one of the bigger school years ahead I’d guess. All the best with your studies :-D

Yes, looking at the images I found they are pretty nasty looking. Thanks, I am delighted with the images from this camera. We were a little too late in fitting into the Manor last year.

No napping seen for a few nights so I decided to add more dried plant material tonight. Leaves from ivy and ferns with some twiggy dried clematis stems. Guess what… I’m watching a hog napping under it all as I type this :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Lisa, Oh… the thought of it! This is the first time I’ve seen this and so glad it is recorded ;-)

shirl said...

Hi again Liz, LOL… yes, I’m just kidding you! ;-) Oh… you’re giving me the hebe jebes now! Mm… Loch Garten, a lovely area. Perhaps it’s the water that attracts them too… damp grass maybe. Ah yes… have visited GOS a couple of times too. I love the landscape in this area :-D

shirl said...

Thanks GL, update added to posting now. Looking at a hedgehog sleeping under some more dried plant material at the moment… extra covers for a cooler night ;-)

shirl said...

Hi again Jan – that’s the way it can go with wildlife at times. On a more upbeat note from here tonight I added some more covers inside the main chamber of our hedgehog house and under some clematis branches, ferns and large ivy leaves a hog is napping. No scratching tonight… I think this is a new visitor. It’s well camouflaged in there from hogbrother too ;-)

Oh yes, some awful flood scenes in the North. We’ve been lucky here although yesterday drove up to Aberdeen (more NE) and there was significant flooding in the fields en route.

A wildlife gardener said...

I knew hedgehogs carried their pack lunch on their backs (in the form of fleas...) but ticks are vile...occasionally one of our cats would catch one... :)

Glad to see you have taken measures to help him :)

Great videos, by the way...been catching up with others on Youtube :)

Quicksilvercountry said...

one of the reasons for wearing gardening gloves Shirl if ever picking a hog up (though of course one should never do so unless necessary) - most people think its protection from the spines, but it's also to keep the ticks at bay. Yeuck, horrid things.

shirl said...

Hi again WG, LOL… yes I’d heard of that too. I had never seen a tick before and seeing the ones in colour (especially on the Hog Blog video) gave me the absolute shivers. Yes, I’ll keep an eye on this hog (if it returns) :-)

What great wildlife captures in your latest posting. Love the butterflies. Delighted to hear you’ve been catching up on past videos… I have spells where I upload lots :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Andrew, LOL… funnily enough as I had heard hogs could have ticks or fleas the twice I have lifted one (both giving cause for concern) I used my gloves for them more than the spines.

These ticks do look quite horrid I agree. I do hope I don’t see any really bad cases as I would have problems in helping the poor hogs :-o

Josh said...

I fear she may have a few more ticks than I originally thought. She keeps scratching on her right hand side and whereas I originally thought she just has fleas, I'm beginning to think there may be a tick or ticks around the skirt area.