I really wanted to make an update on the hedgehogs, partly to get it in before the bird nesting season starts but also because it’s been a super active start to the year. Since the end of hibernation it has been all systems go in the garden.
I’ve never seen so many Hedgehogs in the garden before, which must mean that there is a really healthy local population. I’m getting lots of footage of two, three or four hedgehogs together, often in the feed station and sometimes out and about in the garden. This used to be quite rare, I remember in previous years being really excited, well quite excited, when I saw two together on the camera. This year it’s a daily occurrence, perhaps the local population is burgeoning or my feed station and food supplies are becoming known in the area and attracting more visitors.
So far my maximum number in the feed station has been four hedgehogs
Outside of the feed station, which is a natural congregation point, a bit of a hedgehog hotspot, I’ve also caught a group of three on camera. Again this is really remarkable for me, in previous years I’ve never seen more than two together around the garden.
What I’ve always seen in the past though is that when two get together it can quickly become a little feisty and it is no exception for three hedgehogs either.
Although they are not territorial, they will happily have overlapping home ranges, when they get too close it does always seem to result in a bit of shoving. I don’t really know if this is related to competition for mates or food or just the way it is. Hedgehogs are prickly I guess.
It took a while but the hedgehog house is finally also getting a bit of interest. I had a few quick visits but my first proper hedgehog stay, lasting 2 ½ hours, was just last night.
The hedgehogs start to breed in March, typically giving birth in April/May, and in this vein I captured an interesting video of what I assume is a male.
Potentially what this animal is displaying is the Flehmen response. This is done by many animals where they sniff the air through their mouths. They have a special sensor and it allows the males to detect females in heat, ready for breeding. I get lots of females pass through and it looks like this male is on the scent of one.
Females will mate with different males. Once they’ve had sex the Male departs and nest building, birth, weening, the whole process, is done by the females alone. Add your own punchline to this.
It would be beautiful for a female to use my hedgehog house for a nest site but I have a fear that it is a bit too small for this. I would settle for just seeing some hoglets in the garden. With such a large population of hedgehogs in the area I think it is a distinct possibility for this year.
I’m keeping a weekly record which you can find here. Also I’m live streaming the hedgehog feed station and hedgehog house cameras throughout the night so if you want to see in real time what’s going on have a look here. The feed station is most active around 8 in the evening French time. It is a first come first served system and they like to get in early.
I’ll keep you updated of progress and of course if the house starts to get regular use I’ll let you know all about it.