Urchin, Hedgepig and Furze-pig, just some of the old english names of one of our most Iconic mammals in the UK, The Hedgehog. Easily recognized with it's prickly back and the ability to roll into a ball at the first sign of danger. Sadly though according to some wildlife charities Hedgehogs have declined by up to 75%. So to see one in your own garden is an amazing sight. This blog written by my friend Craig Wilson is about his discovery of the little Hedgepigs in his garden and the enjoyment it bought him and also featuring a few garden friends.
I grew up surrounded by countryside, farmland and with a big garden.
Parents loved to keep chickens and grow lots of fruit and veg.
We had Briards, big, black, French sheep dogs.
My favourite photo of me is aged 3 with a puppy and her mum.
I have a fascination with fungi, I could do a whole blog on that too, replete with stills and videos!
I joined World Wildlife Fund as a teenager and support such organisations currently
Early role models, Johnny Morris, David Bellamy, Chris Packham, Simon KIng
Favourite presenter, David 'the legend' Attenborough, of course!
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...
In my fifty years on this planet, I'd seen a live hedgehog maybe half a dozen times. Always just a chance encounter, without warning, and always brief, but memorable. Then July of 2022 happened, and hogs and hoglets would thereafter after be in my thoughts daily. I was five years old in 1976, so a comparison is tricky, making last summer the hottest one I can remember. Windows wide open wasn't enough, so I was sitting on my doorstep, scrolling through TikTok videos hoping to cool down enough to go back upstairs and sleep. Then I heard the rustling...
It was under my neighbour's bay tree, amongst the dry leaves, maybe six feet from me. I paid no attention to what I thought was a cat, but cats don't hang around this long. I craned my neck around the corner of the porch to look, and I saw my first hoglet, a baby hedgehog! It was a hedgehog in shape and colour, but small enough to fit on the palm of your hand. Trying to remain motionless and hold your breath in a crouched position for more than a few seconds, at any age, can quickly get uncomfortable, but this felt like a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and hoglet was oblivious until I moved slightly, and he retreated from sight. On subsequent nights, that summer, I saw up to four hoglets at one time, this was a family! I googled them, as you do, and started to leave appropriate food and water out in the porch, by the recycling bins. Both were consumed nightly, but without trail cams I was left to just assume some cute, spikey visitors had stopped by. As with other things, simply having it in mind to look, means you're much more likely to see them. When I spotted adult hogs in my back garden (which I walk through to get to and from my parking spot) I simply assumed these were the parents of the bay tree hoglets, and perhaps they were. My mind was spinning with ways to make my flower beds more hog-friendly, hoping to encourage them to stay, or at least be less likely to head towards the main road in search of food. Time to do some research, spend some money, forage some materials, and embark on some trial and error...
Check this link on Tik Tok to see a video of the construction of my Hedgehog Home:
Here is a selection of clips from Craig's Trail camera:
Below are 2 videos showing just what the Hedgehogs think of the local cat
Last night when I got home, there were 3 hogs on the back flower bed...
I went to get the food to put out for them, and saw 3 more round the front!
Now, I know they can scamper at a reasonable pace when they want to, but not that fast!
So I now have proof of a minimum of SIX hedgepigs living here!
By the time I'd got my phone out to film all 6 for evidence, they'd hidden!
I'm just over the moon giddy with joy at confirmation we have a community of erinaceus europaeus numbering, currently, at least six!