During these past few weeks, the night-times have been very busy for the hedgehogs at The Old Rectory: they have been out and about every night, even on the chilly ones. There have been passionate liaisons in the wee small hours of the night, quiet camaraderie at chow time and aggressive, ugly scenes of territorial wars. I have identified at least five individual hedgehogs again this year that live in and around our two acres and it is fascinating to watch their nightly goings-on. (One of them is Eric).
I especially enjoy watching the happy hogs that meet at chow time…
But I get really upset watching the underdog, or should I say underhedgehog, when I watch the turf war. At this time of year, the boars are particularly territorial and it is often the case that one hedgehog is happily eating when in comes a boar who firmly believes that this is his turf and no other male is allowed anywhere near. There are two such boars at the Old Rectory this year. One is Big Daddy, so named because he is a huge hog and has been with us for a couple of years now. The other is a smaller boar but still as aggressive when it comes to pushing other hogs off his territory. What I have yet catch on film is a showdown between him and Big Daddy: neither of them have ever backed down. This is one of them in action…
But then, after all that aggro a little video like this comes along and I feel really happy again. Here is a pregnant sow and thankfully no hog is bothering her. She looks very much like Stella but it is hard to tell.
This is the breeding time of year for hedgehogs and there are nests being made all over Britain ready for the little hoglets. This is where this next message is really
If you are thinking of tidying up your garden by getting rid of that old shed, clearing away all those rotten logs that you stuck in a corner of the garden ages ago and forgot about…
You can’t touch them sorry: not now anyway. Now is when all the pregnant sows have made their nests and have most likely had their hoglets, If you disturb the nests one of three things will happen.
- You will injure or kill the sow and her hoglets.
- The mother will abandon her hoglets.
- The mother will eat her hoglets. (There is very sound reasoning behind her last behaviour.)
And please, please, please be extra careful when you get strimmer out. Often hedgehogs hunker down in the places we gardeners love to strim. One of the best websites you can visit for any information about hedgehogs is Little Silver Hedgehogs. Click the link on the left hand side of my blog.