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Hedge hogs!

edited May 2016 in Wildlife Garden
Eeek!  There are two three of them! :) I just saw another that is not in this picture.

I have been putting out dried mealworms and some water. I thought one was coming out for the past week, but there are at least two three. Glad to see these critters around!


  • Now there are four! It's an invasion!
  • Great to hear. I haven't seen any for the last 5 years.
  • @kst After their randy adventures last night there should be some more!
  • I don't care for hedgehogs. Why can't they share the hedge?
  • Very cool @wivenhoebuoy! Hope you spot them!
  • Try Admiral's Way at midnight.  Sedate progress along centre of road [it not me].  Alas no camera [me not it].
  • Badgers are also a reason for the hedgehog numbers falling.  It's a rare treat to see a hedgehog these days.
  • Further to the various conversations about Hedgehogs, and the unfortunate spillage of a large amount of slug pellets on Stanley Road which may well have resulted in the demise of the hedgehogs in that area, perhaps its a good time to remind everyone how much slugs and snails like beer and to suggest that a simple beer trap would be a better solution:

    Talking to Andy in our rather wonderful florist, he suggested something that I hadn't heard of, but that he says is very effective - simply boil up half a dozen bulbs of garlic in water, then mist the plants with the water.

    Having seen the very distressing result of hedgehogs eating slugs / snails poisoned with pellets, even the so called pet friendly version, I urge everyone to re-think the way that they deal with slugs and snails
  • Thanks @NickT - very sound advice. There is no excuse for using slug pellets, especially those with metaldehyde as the active component. Slugs killed by them are deadly to hedgehogs and indeed song thrushes. The recent slight upsurge in thrush numbers is undoubtedly at least partly explained by the fact that slug pellets have become to be seen as the dangerous frippery they are.
  • If you can manage to keep one or two hanging around the garden, your slugs and snails magically disappear! ;)
  • Hi -I have hedgehogs in my garden -I leave out water and meal worms and they visit almost every night. A small hole under your fence will let hedgehogs in -they love to wander from garden to garden. If you see one in daylight it needs help and you should put it in a box and take to Wildlives in Thorrington.  Hedgehogs are in decline so lets look after them :-)
  • edited May 2016
    Another quick plea on behalf of our hedgehog population - those plastic rings that hold cans of beer in groups of four, can you cut ALL the rings open please so nothing gets into one, and then gets it stuck around them ... it only takes a moment and you might save a hedgie from a horrible prolonged demise ...

  • Why might badgers be a reason for hedgehog numbers falling, pray tell...?
  • Badgers do eat hedgehogs. But as with most predator-prey interactions would not make sense to overeat a favoured food. Blaming badgers for hedgehog declines is a favourite tactic of those wishing to give some justification to a scientifically unjustified (in my opinion) badger cull, badgers being the scapegoat for an unsustainable agricultural system in thrall to big agri-business.
  • @Glyn Badgers prey on them and there is strong evidence that the presence of badgers segments and excludes hedge hogs from their habitats: "A generalized linear model predicted that the probability of hedgehog occurrence in suburban habitats declined towards zero in areas of high badger density. The most probable explanation is the negative effect of high badger abundance on the ability of hedgehogs to move between patches of suburban habitat. The present study concords with results from previous surveys and experimental studies, which found a strong negative spatial relationship between hedgehogs and badgers. It also provides correlative evidence that intraguild predation can exclude intraguild prey from productive habitats." -
  • Quite correct what gribble says. But need to differentiate between exclusion (which would not generally be perceived as bad) and forcing declines (which might) . For declines blame the worst culprits ... the motor car and slug pellets
  • @ChrisGibson, So, everything I read points to habitat loss due to first the continual intensification of agricultural practices, then segmentation and loss of habitat due to urbanization, and then lack of food due to pesticides are the top three reasons, although there is some disagreement due to lack of good data. I would assume car deaths are included under segmentation, but I really don't know. Focusing on just suburban habitats and assuming no further habitat loss and segmentation, I would guess cars, insecticides, slug poisons, cats, and power equipment injury would all be reasons for declines, but without good surveys it would be hard to rank them. What is your opinion? If you have some good articles to cite, I would be curious. 
  • I think your analysis is spot on @Gribble - essentially the hard data simply don't exist so far as know. Safe to say though I would not blame the decline of hedgehogs on the badger!
  • I didn't say the only reason for the decline of hedgehogs is the badger. There are many reasons for their decline, cars, poison, environmental, natural predators such as the badger, which is the only mammal strong enough to get through the spines of the hedgehog. 
  • Oh I get it now.

    It's a bit like otters being another reason for declining fish stocks...
  • It's salutary to go into a hedgehog "reserve" where injured hedgehogs are kept because they've been too injured to be released - left alone to grow to full size it's very easy to see why they're called hedgehogs - they're huge !!
  • I acted on the advice, started putting out mealworms, and we had a spiky visitor last night.
  • I made my hedgehog comment under the Wivenhoe Wildlife thread, not seeing this one in my enthusiasm.  Delighted to have the otter/fish connection on view again, Glyn.  If only someone had illustrated that previous conversation.  Sigh.
  • He/she came back last night for more mealworms. Oh joy!
  • puffin said:
    He/she came back last night for more mealworms. Oh joy!
    Cool! :)
  • Note to self ... must put mealworms on the shopping list for this weekend!


  • I have a tiny garden but after several years it is now full of wildlife. 15 different types of birds have been sighted a hedgehog visits every night ( I don't put out worms it feasts on the slugs) squirrels  try to get to the food before the birds and toads just come to confuse the dog. 
  • And this year's lots of little blue butterflies emerged from my hedge.
  • A few years back we where visited by Liz from Hedgehog Haven in Stanway to see if our garden was suitable for adopting hedgehogs that where either abandoned or orphaned due to the death of there mother in some way.
    We where luck enough to be selected and received our first hedgehog the following spring, we named  him Harvey. Harvey was swiftly followed by Molly, who integrated into out garden over the summer.
    Since those early days the hedgehog population that's visits our garden nightly has grown to around 9 or 10, sometimes all at once, which is a joy to watch.
    We have feeding stations and supply them with mealworm and water, water being very important in warm or hot weather, as well as dog food (beef or chicken), though not fish as its bad for them, scrambled egg and biscuits.

    Each year we check them as we find them for fleas and tics, and when we find them treat them, though removing tics is a fairy delicate process. The fleas are harmless to humans and pets and are not transferable, though you need to use a mild bird flea spray, not the type for dogs or cats.

    In the summer months hedgehogs often nap in long grass, and if they over sleep will stay there. The danger is when people strim there gardens. Over the years we have had to have several put down who have lost there noses, or worse been slashed down to the rib cage by strimmers.
    Hedgehogs feel pain as much as any other animal so please check before strimming, the same goes for over winter with garden bonfires, especially around guy fawks night. Many hedgehogs die in this fashion which is another reason to check before lighting a fire.

    One last point is that hedgehogs are nocturnal, so if you see one in the day time there is something wrong with it. At night they come out shortly after dusk, so please beware on roads as they don't understand road sense and safety, and I have passed several on the way to work who have met there demise in this way.

    So if you want to see hedgehogs and help with there survival leave a small bowl of fresh water out,  and some food, never bread and water though as this gives them diarrhea. You might then be rewarded by  a prickly visited, though beware they are fast, if you have ever seen one run.
    During the matting season you might here a huffing and puffing from them, and this is natural, where the male circles the female trying to woo her into matting.
    Though if you here one coughing or a rattling sound that can mean they have lung worm, which is caused by the parasites in the snails and slugs they eat. If this is the case try to retrieve it so it can be treated. Most wildlife sanctuaries will do this free of charge, as it requires a course of antibiotics.
    One last thing, hedgehogs can travel up to two miles in one night between gardens, so if you get on well with your neighbors ask if they would mind either of you putting a small hole in your garden fence so they can travel through, it only needs to be the size of a small saucer.

    Well that's it for now, I hope the population thrives in Wivenhoe. If you need any advise please feel free to message me.
    So from the hedgehogs of Wivenhoe
    Thank you for reading
     Hedgehog Haven Essex
     07847 138372 (Colchester) 07709767511 (Frinton)
    Bev and Brian  - Wivenhoe
    01206 820693

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