Back in August we saw an adult hedgehog gathering bedding in daylight, a sign she may be about to give birth. And that was the case. We were lucky enough to have baby hedgehogs born in our garden. Life as a young wild animal isn’t always easy, and our youngsters have had rather mixed fortunes.
Hoglets stay in the nest for a few weeks after birth, so by the time they were ready for their first foray into the world we were away on holiday, so we missed that milestone.
Hoglet A met a tragic end. I am not sure what the cause of death was – by the time I found the body only the prickles and skull were left. This isn’t atypical; less than half of hoglets survive their first year.
Hoglet B did better initially, but our neighbours found it out in daylight, looking confused and unwell. They took it to Wildlife Aid, our local wildlife hospital, where it’s now being looked after. It will be kept warm and well fed over winter, as it’s not big enough to hibernate. Again, this is a common story. Wildlife Aid expect to look after a hundred little hedgehogs this winter, and other wildlife hospitals throughout the country will be experiencing similar demands. This all costs money – hedgehogs can eat a lot of cat food, and their medication can also be costly. But the good news is that hedgehogs cared for by wildlife hospitals have good survival rates: 70% of admissions to Wildlife Aid are saved. So hopefully Hoglet B will be back with us in spring, ready for adult life.
The other hoglet we know about, Hoglet C, (or Ericnaceous, as we named him) did rather better. He was a regular visitor to our garden, and set about gobbling the mealworms we left out with gusto. He still looked quite small for a hedgehog, so I did weigh him to make sure he was on course to be big enough to hibernate. His weight was fine, given he still had plenty of time to put on more before the cold weather was likely to strike. We haven’t seen him for a while, but I haven’t really been looking for the last few weeks. We’ve had pretty mild weather so far (only a couple of frosts), so he may still be out and about.