Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Who’s hogging the covers?

Maybe just a few minutes more? Beneath a warm duvet of dried leaves and hay this hedgehog is making it look like a thought to go out into the night air.




We’re heading towards the end of September and in the ten days since the video above was taken the nights have turned a little colder. You could guess that might trigger more night time snacks for hedgehogs and even a few during the day too. Although in saying that day visits may not be a good sign at this time of year.

Hedgehogs will really benefit from extra food sources in gardens especially now as they build up their weight to survive winter hibernation. If you already feed birds then the chances are that you already have hedgehogs visiting your garden.

Often the food dropped to the ground from hanging birds feeders will also go down well with hedgehogs. In my garden I have found they enjoy sunflower hearts, crushed peanuts and sultanas which I’ve mentioned on a few occasions.

However, dried (or live) mealworms may have the highest success rate especially if you don’t feed the birds already. A word of warning though… put them out at night as many birds including Robins, Dunnocks and Blackbirds will make short shift of them too! I might suggest a dry night too so the hedgehogs can smell them. I could be pretty sure that putting them in a trail leading to my hedgehog house played a big part in getting them inside.

As the wind sends many of my taller plants in my garden almost horizontal today (wish I had taken photos recently) and day time temps are dropping the chances are that you may be starting to tidy up borders. Perhaps you might want to keep an eye out for hedgehog droppings. You can see what they look like below.


Seeing droppings will definitely give you a clue that hedgehogs are visiting your garden. If you want to see them return I might suggest you leave food roughly in the areas you see their droppings as most likely they will follow the same route. Along a wall or fence might be a good place to put food along too. I have watched them follow perimeters many times... as well their disappearing act under my hedge.

Ah… that has just reminded me of the joke by Dan Antopolski that won the Comedy Prize at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe….

"Hedgehogs. Why can't they just share the hedge?"
Quite funny I thought especially after seeing three get a bit bothered near mine one night.

One other thing re garden tidy up perhaps you could leave a small area as ground cover for wildlife for the winter months. Thinking of longer grass care should be taken there especially with strimmers! Quite possible hedgehogs, toads, frogs, slowworms and other wildlife could be hiding in it. I have had one myself for lawn edges but can’t bring myself to use it now.

Looking out my window I can see my Leylandii hedge still in serious need of its annual trim. I’m well behind in garden jobs and many house ones too! I haven’t been near the PC much recently either with one thing or another. So much to catch up on all fronts here too including comments, blog visits and photos from my recent Cambo trip.... see you soon.

Back to the garden and House Sparrows seem to be the birds of the moment coming to the feeders in large numbers. A much larger bird flew over the garden the other day… a grey heron en route to/from a garden pond I suspect. This summer has just disappeared and I had hoped to make a start on a new pond myself. No fish though… that would be taking feeding the birds too far!

The video above was taken on September 12th 2009. The photo above was taken during August 2007.

15 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Shirl, I love the cheerful music that you put to your videos. The hedgehogs are such cuties.

Gigibird said...

My hedgehogs like mealworms the best, then dried cat biscuits, then peanuts.
I did buy a tray of Spikes (54p) and it smelt like corned beef and they loved it....but I feel it is better value to spend my money on mealworns and cat biscuits. Spikes biscuits were left in favour for cat biscuits.

Midmarsh John said...

Beautifully clear video clip Shirl. You have a good camera in there.

Reading through this entry reminded me to put out a new mealworm trail to my hog house. I have recently moved it to a new position nearer the feeding area as the mealworms were never touched near its original position.

I had the usual frog leap out near the mower the other day. It is definitely something to keep in mind, especially near long grass.

shirl said...

Hi again John – Thanks, I have been pleased with the images although I am tempted to tweak the focus a little to allow for the height of the hogs :-o

Thanks to you and Hogblog I began experimenting with the mealworms. However, I cannot stand the smell myself. That’s why I’d recommend putting them out on a dry night as hogs are very likely to smell them and come running!

Ah yes, the positioning of the house is a tricky one. I’m hoping I’ve finally got a good location but by the peanuts that haven’t been taken (outside it at the moment) it might suggest nobody has been hanging around since the capture in this posting. My mealworms have run out so getting more might help again.

I’m thinking about experimenting with a new feeding station for the colder, wet and windy nights ahead. I’ve got a more novel hedgehog house in mind too!

Oh dear, yes pre blog I don’t expect I considered wildlife at the edges of my lawn… good job I don’t keep it too long. I’d get quite a fright if a frog jumped out near my mower… I’ll keep an eye out now :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Lisa and Gigibird :-)

Lisa – Ah… it’s always fun choosing the music. Glad you enjoyed it. I agree despite their prickly appearance hedgehogs are such endearing characters :-D

Gigibird – Yes, I might guess mealworms would take top spot! Spikes didn’t go down well here either, nor did the dried dog food that was recommended as a success in another garden in England. Cat biscs I just can’t put out… don’t want to encourage any more visits. Thanks for sharing what works in your garden :-D

Catalina said...

Oooooo too cute!
I want a hedgehog in my garden.
Wish they lived over here too.

Quicksilvercountry said...

That joke is almost as bad as some of mine!!

Down here in the sun kissed west country a lot of hedgehog poo still being deposited and so they're very active, even though like your posting said, it's turning cold now. BRRRRR!

Midmarsh John said...

I will agree that mealworms can smell a bit. It took me a while to get used to it. I keep mine in a tub with a close fitting lid.

Although Honey now walks straight past the hog house she still hasn't been tempted to explore it. I guess she already has a home she is satisfied with.

ShySongbird said...

It looks very snug in there Shirl, definitely hoggy heaven!

An interesting and informative post again although I have to say there was a certain photo there which didn't go too well with the cheese and pickle sandwich I was eating when I viewed it!!
:)

shirl said...

Hi there Catalina, oh yes…. they are big favs in gardens here :-D

Love your profile pic! Now, on following the profile to your blog I can see why you chose it ;-) I browsed to see where you’re from. I’ll take a guess that perhaps the US and somewhere warm with that very impressive wall of tomatoes :-D

I’m sure I’ve read that hedgehogs can be kept as pets with you. That may seem strange at first to us perhaps but we keep guinea pigs as pets in my garden and they roam wild in Peru. I understand the advice when pet hedgehogs are no longer wanted is to hand them to a carer rather than letting them out into the wild as sadly they cannot survive. I’m more than happy to share my visits with you… although you can’t always tell when they’ll appear :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Andrew, thought that would make you laugh/cringe ;-) Delighted to hear that the hedgehogs are doing their bit with you! Yes, time for those long…. winter socks :-D

shirl said...

John, yes, the tight fitting lid is indeed a good idea… provided its not too tight! I struggled opening one (whilst in my shed) and it finally came off with a bit of effort and the contents spilled out over the floor and almost my feet :-o

I jumped (as you would) and they scattered even further! Not a pleasant job to clean up. Although, it could have been way worse if they had got down in inside of my boots (shiver, shiver).

The last time I picked up a bag with a zip/seal opening and that has worked well for me. It was kept outside in a hidden spot (need to get another soon as its empty now) Prob why no hog visits spotted in the evening when I look in on our hedgehog house :-(

Aw… it really is funny/frustrating to see the hogs walk right past something like that. I’ve seen it with food (not mealworms) and you feel like shouting ‘its right behind you’. Yes, it is possible as you say Honey has another abode but I very much doubt it is as dry as yours. Mm… I was going to say warm too but I’ve just has a thought.

Do you keep your camera running all night? I only have mine on when I look in on the house. My cables are stored near by and I take them through a window for an hour or two. I wonder, if you do keep yours on all night, if heat builds up in your house. Perhaps just now when it’s just getting colder in the evenings it’s too warm to keep a hog inside. I can’t believe when it’s really cold that no hog will venture in but I’m guessing honey may be the guest you’d really want to see in there.

This experimenting is tricky as the hogs do seem to be creatures of habit. Although, I’m going to have to do something with my feeding station nearby as peanuts (a fav in my garden too) have not been touched or the ones of veranda on my daughter’s house. Fingers crossed Honey takes a viewing soon :-D

shirl said...

Jan, yes, it is lovely to see the hog tucked up in there comfortable enough to stay for a nap under the cover of leaves I’ve put in for them. Ah… on a wet night it really must feel like such a lovely place to be :-D

Oops… I usually give a warning for that pic… good job I didn’t post the larger version! Mm… pickle in your sandwich... I can see the problem. I’ve an idea now for future postings that may protect the stomach of those eating and reading. I wonder if it’ll work ;-)

Midmarsh John said...

Hello again Shirl.
When I was setting up the camera I adjusted the voltage to it to get it as cool as possible as it runs all the time at the moment. I have taken my radio thermometer from the conservatory and put it in the hog home so I can see what the temperature is like in there.

Some of the designs I have seen for hog houses mention having a ventilation hole at the back. Does yours? Mine does not and I did consider adding one but decided to leave it as it is for now.

There has been no sign of any movement of the contents so I don't think Honey has even poked her nose inside as yet.

You can lead a horse to water .....!

shirl said...

Hi again John, ah… I should have guessed you’d consider a way to test the temp inside your house. :-)

Yes, I’ve read about vent holes too. My daughter’s one doesn’t have any but I too have considered it but plan to leave it for the moment. In houses that are covered in twigs turf etc I’ve read of pipes coming out of the covering and the ends being covered with fine mesh to stop anything crawling in but to let air in/condensation out.

Shame about Honey so far… it’s not over until hibernation so there’s time yet. LOL… yep but you can have fun trying! Wishing you a great weekend :-D