It’s been very, very quiet this week in the garden, I’ve left out food in the feed station on most nights but on several there have been no hedgehog visitors at all.
This is really rare, to have no visits during an entire night, especially when there is food available, so why is this happening?
I now have a semi-regular fox visitor, but I don’t think the arrival of one is linked to the departure of the other. I’ve seen lots of videos from other peoples’ gardens to suggest that foxes and hedgehogs can lived together quite happily. A fox will not try and attack an adult hedgehog, they’re way to prickly for that. I think the only mammal that will predate hedgehogs and that can affect their numbers are badgers, and I haven’t, yet, ever seen a badger near here!
My unscientific guess for this change in activity is that it may be linked to the breeding cycle.
The peak of the hedgehog mating activity seems to be end March to the beginning of April, the time when the females will be getting pregnant. On my trail cameras I saw a lot of this activity during the peak period and I haven’t now seen anything for a couple of weeks.
The gestation period for a hedgehog is 4-6 weeks, so a female hedgehog which became pregnant at the end of March may well be giving birth around the end of April, so now. Obviously, the females are by consequence less active, spending nearly all their time in the nest.
Perhaps we are now in this period. The Females could be holed up in their maternal nests giving birth and the males, which tend to move over a much wider range, are just having a few days away from my area.
It’s a possible explanation. If the young hoglets are being born now they will start to be active in around 4 weeks, so I will need to keep my eyes peeled for the beginning of June as I might be able to see some family groups in the garden.
To provide some compensation for the lack of hedgehog activity, last night, suddenly, there was a little burst of mouse action.
It also popped into the Hedgehog feed station for a nibble on the biscuits, although they didn’t seem to be very much to its taste.
This little mouse was in the garden during a couple of hours, and with the number of cats typically passing through, its survival would seem to be a minor miracle.
I would advise it though not to try and repeat such a long visit every night, I don’t think its luck will hold out forever!