The presence of my two cats, which now roam outdoors has had a negative impact on the birds and mice but the hedgehogs are not at all bothered. They are an object of fascination for the cats but nothing more.
And there is still a lot of activity in the garden. When I started capturing them on the trail cameras a couple of years ago it was really uncommon for me to see more than one hedgehog, but now it is typical for me to see 2 or 3 most nights. I took this video a few nights ago.
There was a peak of activity in Spring just after the end of hibernation and I thought that it may reduce as the year continued, but it seems not. It is worth saying that the weather this summer is much cooler and wetter than the norm, which is perhaps this is more conducive for the hedgehogs than heat wave conditions. Unfortunately I’ve only been making detailed records since September 2020, not even 12 months, so nowhere near enough data to have a view on such seasonal/annual variations. Pure conjecture on my part.
The numbers of hedgehogs in the garden is more likely due to the fact that over the last year I have been putting food out more regularly in a specialised hedgehog feeding station. I think the correlation between activity and presence of food is pretty direct, so if you want to see hedgehogs, the number one thing to do is leave out food.
Behaviour wise I’ve seen a couple of interesting things. Firstly some typical aggressive attitudes, which I think is more likely to occur between two males. Here it is a little comical as the aggressor misses the target, I guess it is dark.
I’ve also seen courtship behaviour where a Male circles the Female. I had a fantastic example of this last night which lasted in total for 2 hours. It must have been exhausting for both hogs, a short snippet is show below.
I’ve seen this before but never for so long on Camera. It shows that the Male was quite keen to mate and the Female was equally determined to resist. It’s possible that in the end there was a mating, discretely done off camera, but I’ve read that only around 7% of such courtships end with a mating. Obviously the norm is one of disappointment.
It is not impossible this late in the year for a female to become pregnant but the survival rate of late litters is extremely low. The hoglets would be coming out of the nest only some weeks before hibernation normally starts, also when the weather begins to get colder, and they would typically not be big or strong enough to survive.
I would recommend that these hedgehogs save their energy for next Spring.