A fair prickle of hedgehogs

This wee spikey tike above is the last autumn orphan that I was lucky enough to rescue just before Christmas and take to the local hedgehog rescue centre. Due to his size and weight, it is most likely that he is from the same litter as the other three, which I took to the rescue centre in December. I will be getting a call in early spring when they are ready to be released back into the wild, into our little patch of woods where I found them all and I can hardly wait.

The injured hedgehog that I had seen just before Christmas on the Trail Cams, and nicknamed Slash, turned out to be a regular visitor to our feeding station, who we had marked last July and called Jaffa. I managed to catch her and checking her over saw that her injury was quite bad and looked like it could have been made with a hay-fork or something similar, as it was a large, round and deep puncture wound just above her rear left leg.

Jaffa injury

Luckily though, it didn’t seem to have damaged any vital organs or the leg itself.  We are right next door to stables and hedgehogs love to hibernate in the warm heaps of straw and hay.  A trip to the vet sorted her out with antibiotics, then I kept her indoors for two weeks until the wound had healed. Jaffa is back out in our woods now but she won’t go into hibernation, as I see her every night on the cameras, out and about right the way through the night.  I leave food and water out for her and if the weather isn’t too bad, I walk out with a torch and go look for her. Sometimes I find her snuggled in a pile of leaves or eating at the feeding station.  I can tell it is her by the two patches of orange nail varnish painted on the tips of her quills on her back.

Jaffa on the mend

It got me to thinking of how many hedgehogs have passed through our little woods in the last twelve months. I keep track of the ones that I weigh and mark before letting them go back on their merry way.  Before they went into hibernation this winter, I would see some hedgehogs regularly on the Trail Cams, night after night at the feeding station and then others would pop by every few nights or so.  There were others that I will only see once a month. There were a couple that I hadn’t seen in a long, long time and probably never will again. I have found four dead hedgehogs on the road outside our place in the last six months alone. A sad but common demise for our prickly friend. My friend and neighbour, has a lot of hedgehogs visiting her garden, too, but surprisingly not one of them has a coloured mark on its quills, meaning that between us, we must have a fair few hedgehogs.

So, here is the roll-call of hedgehogs that visited our garden and small woods last year.  There were sixteen in total and that is just the ones I managed to catch and weigh!

  1. ERIC   Male    Marked limed green    Last known weight  1003g
  2. SUNNY   Female  Marked yellow   Last known weight – never weighed
  3. JESSIE   Sex unknown  Marked dark pink  Last known weight – never weighed
  4. STELLAN    Male    Marked   Turquoise   Last known weight 727g
  5. JAFFA    Female    Marked orange   Last known weight 1082g
  6. SPARKLES    Female    Marked glittery silver   Last known weight 790g
  7. PRICKLES    Male    Marked baby pink   Last known weight 934g
  8. THISTLES    Sex unknown    Marked purple    Last known weight 978g
  9. APPLE Male Marked navy blue Last known weight  In rescue centre for winter 357g
  10. TYGER    Sex unknown   Marked teal    Last known weight 1025g
  11. TYKE  Sex unknown Last known weight 284g  In rescue centre for winter
  12. DODGER  Sex unknown  Last known weight 348g In rescue centre for winter
  13. BUSTER   Male   Marked sage green    Last known weight 548g
  14. POPPET  Sex unknown  Last known weight 308g  In rescue centre for winter
  15. CLINT  Sex unknown  Marked turquoise and silver glitter  Last known weight 440g
  16. LOTTIE    Sex unknown   Marked orange and turquoise   Last known weight 988g

I take photos of all the hedgehogs and below is a slideshow of all the ones that I weighed and marked in 2017.  All except one.  For some reason, I never took a photo of Thistles and he (or she) is one of the hogs that I haven’t seen in quite a while :/  I wonder how many hedgehogs will visit our garden and woods in 2018.

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