I’ve been waiting patiently, and indeed I’m still waiting and hoping, for the Great Tits to start nesting and in the meantime a Hedgehog has built a nest in the Hedgehog House. To my great joy and general over-excitement, I have a Hedgehog nest.
A Hedgehog first moved in on the evening of the 18th March, it brought in lots of bedding material and completely buried itself.
I assumed the Hedgehog left the house the next evening, maybe it had, I’m still not sure, but in the early hours of the 22nd March there was a burst of activity. In the process of 13 minutes the Hedgehog completed the nest. It brought in more leaf bedding material, until the house box was completely full. Unfortunately I was only recording on one of the small side panels of the video feed but I do have the full nest building, 13 minutes of extreme hedgehog activity, recorded for posterity.
Taking a few photos during the process we can see the before, during and after. The shot taken during the activity gives a good view into the circular bedding chamber.
Since the 22nd the hedgehog has been occupying the house. Unfortunately the camera inside is now completely blocked and nothing can be seen. I have set up a trail camera at the entrance of the house and from this I’ve got some nice views of the occupant. A great one below of the Hedgehog coming up for some air and a general good sniff around.
The occupant has taken great care to build a very comprehensive nest which is completely different to those I saw last year. Then, whenever I had a hedgehog stay over, they just took a nap on a few leaves, a ‘Day Nest’. Use and move on.
Handily the current occupant has a couple of easy identifying features. Firstly on it’s rump there is a kind of inverted pale ‘V’ marking.
I also got a shot of it in the feed station and it has a white spot behind the left ear. I think, though I’m not sure, that this is a tick, so I don’t know if the marking will stay.
I’ve seen other hedgehogs enter the house, no pale inverted ‘V’ marking, and they don’t enter far before running off.
So what happens next? Firstly I need to hope that the hedgehog keeps using the house. They are quite fickle creatures and if disturbed it may give up on the nest and move on. I need to tread very carefully.
If it does keep using the nest over a period of weeks this will be a sign that it is a female and that it is being considered as a place to raise a litter. But assuming that the hedgehog is just recently pregnant it will not give birth for another 4-6 weeks, a long way to go.
There are a lot of ifs, buts and assumptions in all this. I actually don’t know if it really is a female and if it really is pregnant, it is quite early in the year for all this. Maybe it is normal to build such a comprehensive nest, it will be used for a week or so and the hedgehog will just move on. Maybe it is pregnant but for whatever reason it will move on anyway. At this stage I have more questions than answers, and in my state of excitement I may be making too many assumptions.
I will however try and get another video camera into the entrance of the nest so that I can add it to the live stream and watch some of the inside action, but this is a very tricky operation which will need some care.
Don’t forget to see the various hedgehogs every night in the feed station check out the webcam around 8pm in the evening French time.
And I will, or course, provide some further updates, especially if developments occur.