Tag Archives: mouse

Hedgehog trailcam footage

My birthday present from Dr C has finally arrived: a trail cam! This is great timing, as the nights are so short now that I miss seeing our hedgehogs (I’m in bed before they come visiting the garden).

I’ve had it running a couple of nights so far (well, three nights really, but the memory card was too full to take any footage on the middle night – beginner’s mistake!). As suspected, most of the footage has been of hedgehogs.

It’s easy to assume that the hedgehog you see is the same each night – ‘your’ hedgehog. We learnt a few years ago that that’s not the case – when we did a proper(ish) census of hedgehog visitors to our garden there were at least 6 different adults and 3 babies. I’ve spent a bit of time looking at the footage for distinguishing features. One of them is fairly easy to recognise, as he has dark marks on his back.

Here’s him again a couple of nights earlier, with a birdsong soundtrack.

Here’s another big hedgehog.

And another hedgehog (or is it the same?)

So I don’t think I’m going to be able to tell exactly how many hedgehogs visit the garden just from the trail cam footage. But even over two nights we know there are several that pass through the garden. (The hole in our fence helps!)

I often put out cat food or mealworms for the hedgehogs, so a lot of the clips are just of them with their noses buried in the bowl. But I enjoyed these couple of ones:

A hedgehog having a shake:

And a hedgehog having a good old scratch:

Most of the clips are of hedgehogs, but we did get a couple of other nocturnal visitors:

A neighbour’s cat (we call her Spot), whose territory seems to encompass most of the town we live in.

Spot the cat
Spot

And, if you look closely at the next clip, you can just about make out a mouse (although I’m not sure what type of mouse it is).

I’m still getting used to the camera, so hopefully the quality of my footage will improve. I promise I won’t post quite so many hedgehog clips next time, I’m just quite excited with my new toy! My ambition is to get footage of baby hedgehogs visiting our garden, as we have seen them in previous years.

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Whose pawprints are these?

I’ve got an exciting new toy! It’s not much to look at. A black plastic tunnel. But it’s great at creating suspense. It’s a tool for finding out which small mammals visit your garden, by capturing their pawprints.

It’s very simple. You put the tunnel along a fence or other boundary in your garden. You put some bait in the middle of the removable black plastic plate, paperclip a piece of paper at either end, and put a strip of special safe ink either side of the bait. The animal has to walk through the ink to get the bait, and on their way out leaves inky pawprints on the paper.

We tried it out baited with mealworms (I’ve yet to discover an animal that doesn’t love the disgusting looking things). The ink is a mixture of black poster paint and vegetable oil, so is safe for animals to lick off their paws.

Here are our results from the first night of monitoring.

Hedgehog and mouse pawprints
Pawprints from the mammal tunnel

There are definitely hedgehog prints, but I found it quite hard to tell from the diagram what the smaller prints were, so for the second night I decided to add an infrared camera to the tunnel, which together with motion trigger software showed us this: (nb. this is a speeded up version which only includes when the animals are actually in the tunnel).

Mystery solved: mouse and hedgehog.
Not really a huge surprise, as we knew we had both in our garden. But it’s fun to get their pawprints and film them. On a more practical note, if you didn’t know what visited your garden, this could be a good way of finding out. And more importantly, you can submit your results to the National Mammal Atlas Project.

You can get the tunnels from the Mammal Society, and submit your results there too (nb. They don’t come with infrared cameras – that was my own modification).