So, the pregnant hedgehog that spent a night or two in the hog house decided to move on after a couple of nights and hasn’t been back since but I am still hopeful that another hedgehog will move in and the mice that live in the log pile right behind it and run all over the hog house at night, won’t move in!
There has been a lot of goings on in the woods at night. The three pregnant sows are still around, as are Big Daddy and our autumn orphan, Eric and there is another smaller hedgehog about every night at the feeding station, who I think is another male. They don’t visit the feeding station that often, which I suppose is only to be expected now that there are more worms and beetles about. Here is a great little video, showing just what they all get up to when we are fast asleep in our beds at night. The video shows a female hedgehog happily eating, when she is rudely interrupted by a male but keep an eye open for other hedgehogs in the background. The female is pregnant: you can see her pregnant belly clearly when she is being pushed around by the male.
Moving on to the squirrels…..I am still busy trying to find Delilah’s drey or den (that is Delilah at the top of this post). I have moved two of the Trail Cams around again today and have them focused on holes in two trees. I will leave them there for twenty-four hours and if nothing shows then they will be moved somewhere else. The leaves are opening up on the trees now and in a matter of a week or two it will be almost impossible to see where she has her kittens snuggled away but be sure that as soon as I find the drey I will let you all know!
I am still trying to get a nice photo of Delilah showing her growing belly but they are either all blurry or she is facing the other way. Wildlife! What can you do? Above is a nice one though, captured the other day as she bounced in front of one of the Trail cams. If you are curious to know how I know for sure that it is Delilah, there are two details I look for. One is the shape of the ears. Delilah’s ears are rounded at the top and sort of mouse-shaped (sorry Delilah but they are!) and the other detail is shown in this photo very clearly. Delilah has a withered/injured right rear foot: it is smaller and never fully opens up. Here are close-ups of Delilah and Nibbles. Look closely at the ears and now you will see one of the details that I look for when I sift through hundreds of squirrel photos trying to decide who is who. I feel like I’m going nuts (pun intended) from spending so much time looking at squirrel’s ears!! Nibbles is on the left and Delilah on the right. Delilah also has a darker and more russett coloured coat and as I mentioned earlier, a withered right rear foot. There are other differences but they are more subtle.
I was surprised to see a partridge casually stroll across the camera frame this morning. It never came back during the day but you never know. We once had a female partridge nest in our ‘wild woods’ and lay eggs which hatched. One day I saw her lead her little covey of chicks away but sadly, a few days later, I found most of them dead at the end of our road.
After extending the timer on the Trailcam videos to three minutes, I am capturing some really nice videos of the hedgehogs at night. Every now and then I see a really large hedgehog, which I am convinced is Eric 😀 but last night I saw another two hogs courting. Below is a movie made of two videos taken last night. I love the way, that after a few attempts at ‘winning over’ the sow, the boar stops for a bite to eat! She looks totally fed up and I hope for her sake, she isn’t the only sow in the neighbourhood! It looks like all our five resident hedgehogs made it through hibernation (Eric obviously got a Free Pass). I only found out today, that hedgehogs that are born later on in the year (around September/October time) are the small ones that can be found at feeding stations late into December trying desperately to put on weight for hibernation. These youngsters have a nickname: they’re called ‘Autumn Orphans’ and sad to say, they very rarely make it through hibernation, as they can’t put on enough weight. Eric was as Autumn Orphan. Now he is a beefy, chubby hog, running free and probably half way to China, still rolling that sow he was spotted with on camera the other night! Anyway, here is the movie of the courting hedgehogs. I’ve set it to music to lighten the experience but I do suggest making a cuppa first and getting comfy and keep your eye open for the little mouse bounding around in the background. It’s more 6 and a bit minutes than 9 1/2 weeks 😀
Here is the movie link Hedgehogs courting
It’s been two days since I have seen or heard from Phoghorn Leghorn and I’m worried. You’d have thought he’d have called to let me know he’s all right! 😀 I suppose he may very well be being fed to bursting by our next door neighbour and I hope that is the case, otherwise I hate to consider the alternatives.