Arrival of Autumn – Big Time for Hedgehogs

After a long hot summer in Paris, with really very little rain, Autumn has now well and truly set in. We’ve had a couple of weeks of cold, wet and windy weather to mark this change in the season, which I admit I find rather welcome. Not just because I’m not as hot but because it means the natural year is moving on and we enter into a different phase.

For the hedgehogs this means preparation for winter. They need to eat and gain weight during the next weeks and also find some good spots for hibernation. So this is a key time during which they should be very active in the garden and I’ve been doing whatever I can to help them out and also watching the action as closely as possible.

Firstly I made a new hedgehog feeding station as it was becoming impossible to leave out any food without it being taken by the cats.

Once the roof is on the entrance chambers on either side prevent larger animals, such as the neighbourhood cats, getting in, but pose no problem for hedgehogs. The feed station has been out a couple of weeks now and it has worked a treat. I see a marked increase in the number of hedgehog visitors, and also an increase in time they spend in the garden, on nights when I leave food out.

So with somewhere to eat I then focused on somewhere to stay and for this I cleaned and moved the hedgehog house. The good news is that straight away it is back in use.

During the last week a hedgehog has been using the house on most nights. It seems to come into the house and have a nap for around 30 minutes before heading off again. Sometimes there is only one stay and on other days several throughout the night.

I’m not very good at hedgehog identification but I believe that the hedgehog regularly using the house is a fairly small female.

I have spotted a different hedgehog, this time I would guess a male having a sniff, but then not going in to the house.

I don’t think that two different hedgehogs will share the same house so it looks like mine has been claimed by this small female, at least for now.

Famously hedgehogs are reputed to be great friends of the gardener, particularly as they eat slugs and snails of which I have no shortage, especially now that the rain has returned. In my garden I’m now finding lots of snail shells, including inside the feed station, which have been cracked upon and the snails eaten out.

This seems to confirm what I have read in that even when food  is left out the hedgehogs will still take plenty of natural food. So don’t be discourage in leaving food out for the hedgehogs, I think it just encourages them to spend longer in the garden, time they use to the detriment of the snail population.

Final piece of news from this start of autumn is that the Beech Marten has been back. Only once, unfortunately it seems I’m in a fallow period for visits, but I got a nice shot on the trail camera with an exit heading up the tree.

To help with the management of all the videos now being produced to support the blog I’ve created a you tube channel, so if you are interested to see any footage as it arrives please do subscribe.

Chatou Nature Blog – You Tube

Otherwise I’m keeping the various logs and records on the website updated with all the news.

Enjoy Autumn and I’ll blog again soon.

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