The hedgehog has unfortunately, definitively, left the nest and the hedgehog house is no longer occupied. The last day he stayed was the 13th May. He was therefore resident for nearly a month and a half from his arrival on the 2nd April.
I’m sure that one of the main reasons he left was the problem of ticks in the nest. So I waited a week, just to really make sure that he wasn’t coming back, and then gave the house a good clean out.
I was interested to see the nest construction inside the house. I had to remove a lot of leaf material but in the photo below the nest chamber is visible. It is like a bowl in the leaves where he would have curled up to sleep.
I also found lots of ticks, many of them big and white, gorged on the blood of my ex resident hedgehog. I’ve circled a couple of them in the photo and there were many many more. I poured in boiling water and gave it a good scrub so hopefully it’s now tick free.
Even though the hedgehog house is nice and clean and available it’s probably unlikely to get another permanent resident this year. The height of my ambition for the rest of the Summer is that it may provide a resting place for a passing hedgehog in need of a nap. But as the internal camera is now unblocked, I’ll be able to watch it, if and when it does.
In general though the hedgehog activity in the garden has been dropping off since a high point in March and April. I’ve not taken records every night but the data that I have does seem to show this trend.
I guess it’s a seasonal change driven by lots of factors, but on a local level I know that the hedgehog activity in my garden is very closely related to the presence of food. When I leave it out over a couple of nights there are more hedgehogs than when I don’t. So I’ll keep feeding them throughout the Summer, maybe not every night, but enough to keep them interested.
A final message for all those in France. This weekend is the National Garden Bird count, ‘week-end national de comptage des oiseaux des jardins‘.
It is a citizen science project open for all to participate. You count the birds in your garden during one hour and upload the data to a central website, same thing as the Big Garden Birdwatch in the UK.
The weather looks good for the weekend, so find a nice spot and have a count.