The nation’s favourite nighttime visitor…

As part of our Help For Hedgehogs campaign we’re collecting hedgehog sightings. For conservation purposes these are invaluable, as they allow us to map the hedgehog population across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull. The more sightings, the more accurate that map is, and this means that we can target conservation work to specific areas. For example Solihull has been pinpointed as a ‘hotspot’ area that is perfect as the first dedicated hedgehog conservation zone in the country, the Hedgehog Improvement Area which you can read more about here.

However, with the sightings there often comes the added bonus of your stories of your garden hedgehogs, and sometimes you’ll also email us pictures. These are just wonderful to read, so I wanted to share some of the ones that I’ve picked out. What comes across more than anything is just how loved the species is. In 2013 the hedgehog was voted the nation’s favourite animal in a BBC poll. If these tales of the garden are anything to go by, then you all absolutely agree with that verdict…

Copyright Steven Cheshire (WWT)
Copyright Steven Cheshire (WWT)

“I have been an avid hedgehog lover since I moved here four years ago. My front garden has the neat side and then I have the area I call hedgehog heaven. I have three hedgehog nests and at least 8 hogs visiting each night; I have created a feeding station for them which is safe and secure from anything bigger than a hog and you can regularly hear them crunching away on cat biscuits or hog food.

Last October I had four late hoglets visiting every night. Two of them were too small to make it through hibernation so they were taken to Kenilworth Hedgehog Rescue Centre and I released two of their larger ones back into my patch.

At the moment my hedgehogs are thriving and I hope they continue to do so.” – Katy

Copyright Keith Norman
Copyright Keith Norman

“Definitely at least two last night 🙂 It was around twenty past midnight and I could hear them under the hollybush, and see movement in the undergrowth.

One did break cover and trundle off up the path, stopping for a drink I’d left out. In previous years we’ve got to know our regulars quite well and could always identify two or three individuals, plus another one or two occasional visitors.

I’ve witnessed many a shunting match, and even a fair few courting rituals (fascinating and quite amusing ) so do like to watch what they’re up to. One year we found a terribly small and underweight little hedgie moping around on a freezing cold Boxing Day, and ended up bringing her in until Easter. As a result, we tend to keep putting the odd bit of food out even during the hibernation period, just in case, and I do like to keep checking out and about.” – Elspeth

Copyright Peter McIntyre
Copyright Peter McIntyre

“It’s hard to say, but I think that I feed 2 hedgehogs at the moment. No hoglet sightings at the mo, but haven’t heard any mating going on this year, which is an annual event in my small garden, and is extremely noisy!

I feed at 10pm, when one hedgehog always waits for me, but have also seen one running around at 4am.

I feel really blessed to have such lovely nocturnal creatures visit my garden.” – Fran

Copyright Sally Marjoram (Happyhogs Hedgehogs Rescue)
Copyright Sally Marjoram (Happyhogs Hedgehogs Rescue)

“I have a hedgehog in my garden who hibernated this year and last. Last year I found him in my shed in a bag of potting compost in a plastic carrier bag;  I have no idea how he got in there.  I moved him into a cardboard box with some fleece which he made into a nest. This year I put the box next to the flower pot, with a hole cut into it for access, and he moved into it taking the fleece from the box with him! I started giving him some cat biscuits when I saw movement and he eats them has a drink and goes back in the pot.” – Jan

Hedgehog using Warwickshire Wildlife Trust mammal footprint tunnel - copyright WWT
Hedgehog using Warwickshire Wildlife Trust mammal footprint tunnel – copyright WWT

“We have a very friendly hedgehog that eats the cat food and has got rid of the slugs. He/ she has made a great home in the bush and a running track around the lawn. The kids love him/her and have named it Tommy.” – Dominic

Copyright John Roberts
Copyright John Roberts

“Last year we put up a new fence and ran out of posts so we left a hedgehog ‘right of way’ at the bottom. Towards the end of last year we had about 23 all sizes and colours, which has gone down to around 12 this year.

We love watching them, much better than the TV.” – Carol

Albino hedgehog with sibling taken into care by Happyhogs Rescue Centre - copyright Sally Marjoram (Happyhogs)
Albino hedgehog with sibling taken into care by Happyhogs Rescue Centre – copyright Sally Marjoram (Happyhogs)

“I thought you would be interested to know that a big hedgehog lives somewhere to the rear of our garden. He hurtles down the passageway at the bottom of the gardens at terrific speed, coming to halt just before your feet if you stand at the bottom. I have seen him or her many times.

Now he or she is coming into our garden every night to get the pickings from the bird table that the birds have knocked off. Our hedgehog seems very partial to banana cake. We have hedgehog poo everywhere!” – Pat

Copyright John Roberts
Copyright John Roberts

If you have hedgehog visitors then please do send us your sightings and stories, we’d love to hear them. If you’d like more information on the Help For Hedgehogs campaign, how to donate or adopt a hedgehog, and advice on how best to care for hedgehogs in your garden then please click here.

Emma

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