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    What is it about Hedgehogs ...

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    Jan1
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    What is it about Hedgehogs ...

    Post by Jan1 on Thu Oct 27 2016, 13:38

    I've always liked hedgehogs ... or 'Prickles' as I call them !

    I saw this on Dr Katharine Morrison's Blog recently and thought I'd share it here ...


    Earlier this summer I found two hedgehogs eating suet/mealworm pellets which I put out for birds in a ground cage in the garden.  As I know that the species is in decline in the UK, I was keen to encourage them.  Therefore I started putting out cat food in the evenings for them and in due course bought a hedgehog house.

    The two hedgehogs seemed very pally and would grunt loudly at each other. This is a courtship behaviour called huffing. They were much keener on wet cat food than the hedgehog kibbles and I wonder if this is partly because wet food appeals to their sense of smell.

    Later in the summer I was informed that Hessilhead Wildlife Trust near Beith, Ayrshire, was wanting to re-locate over a hundred hedgehogs that had been taken off of a Scottish Island to conserve wild bird nest sites. I was very keen to have some more garden visitors and in due course brought home a mummy hedgehog and her two babies, who by this time were quite big.

    What surprised me was how smelly they were and how mobile their long snouts were. I put them all in the hedgehog house which I had filled with hay. Mummy hedgehog went to sleep but being typical teenagers, the kids decided to come out into the early evening sunshine even though it was hours till wake time.

    One baby hedgehog made a beeline for the food in the bird cage and once there didn’t want to come out. The other spent a long time skipping about the grass, obviously delighted with the feel of grass under its feet. They had been born in captivity and had spent the time in a shed rather that in in a garden.

    For weeks the food we have been putting out in the evenings continued to disappear but we only got rare sightings of them.  They have not eaten anything for the last week, so either they are eating enough from the garden or they have moved elsewhere.  I hope that at least one of them will come back to the hedgehog house to hibernate.

    If you want to encourage hedgehogs in your garden put out wet cat food, but not fish flavoured.  Think about a hedgehog house or putting up some planks against a wall to provide a sheltered spot. Have openings in fencing or walls so that hedgehogs can move from one garden to another. Cover ponds so they can’t drown in them. Avoid giving bread or milk as this causes diarrhea in hedgehogs. Be very careful when cutting back foliage in the autumn. Use strimmers only when you can see that there isn’t a hedgehog sleeping. It is helpful for hedgehogs if you can keep some areas sheltered and with enough foliage to support bedding and their diet.

    Hedgehogs can do you some favours too. They eat lots of slugs, beetles and Daddy Long Legs larvae.


    All words and pictures from here
    https://diabetesdietblog.com/2016/10/25/hedgehogs/

    Sometimes it's good to read something that is not diabetes related.
    However, like this Forum, Dr Katharine's and Emma Baird's blog also has other interesting diabetes related posts ...
    https://diabetesdietblog.com/

    All the best Jan
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    Re: What is it about Hedgehogs ...

    Post by chris c on Fri Oct 28 2016, 23:00

    They used to hibernate in our shed, but I haven't seen them recently. I've seen a couple come in from the back field when it was rape and expire, probably from eating slugs poisoned with slug pellets.
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    Re: What is it about Hedgehogs ...

    Post by Jan1 on Sat Oct 29 2016, 23:44

    At this time of year if you are about to do some gardening or go out in the garden do please spare a thought for 'Prickles Your Garden Hedgehog'

    Did you know?
    Hedgehogs are so named because of their pig-like snout and their habit of noisily rooting through the undergrowth for food. The ‘hedge’ part is more obvious, the hedgehog inhabits hedgerows. The name hedgehog was first used in the 15th century.
    As many as 10 different hedgehogs may visit a garden over several nights, which could mean ‘your hedgehog’ is a number of different individuals visiting at different times.

    Hedgehogs in the garden:


    Hedgehogs are a gardener’s friend, as they eat snails, slugs and insects.

    Make a hedgehog a home:
    Leave areas of the garden ‘wild’, with piles of leaf litter and logs. These are an attractive nest as well as a home for the invertebrates (slugs, beetles) that hedgehogs like to eat.

    Making an artificial home can be as simple as placing a piece of board against a wall. Or buy a purpose built hedgehog house.

    Feeding:
    Food and fresh water will encourage hedgehogs to return. Leave out foods like minced meat, tinned dog or cat food (not fish-based), crushed cat biscuits, or chopped boiled eggs. Specialist hedgehog food can also be bought from wild bird food suppliers.
    Never feed hedgehogs milk as it can cause diarrhoea; instead provide plain, fresh water in a shallow bowl.

    Hedgehog-friendly gardening:
    Cover drains and holes and place bricks at the side of ponds to give hedgehogs an easy route out. Cover swimming pools overnight and when not in use.

    Check for hedgehogs before using strimmers or mowers, particularly under hedges where animals may rest. Check compost heaps for nesting hogs before forking over.

    Build bonfires as close to time of lighting as possible and check them thoroughly before lighting.

    Remove sports or fruit netting when not in use to prevent hedgehogs becoming entangled, and getting injured.

    Slug pellets:
    These can poison hedgehogs and should only be used as a last resort. Try using beer traps or sprinkling ground up shells around the plants you need to protect. If you have to use pellets, place them under a slate which is inaccessible to hedgehogs.

    Hedgehog hibernation:
    Hedgehogs usually hibernate between November and mid March and animals must have enough fat reserves to survive hibernation. Making hedgehog homes in the garden and providing food will help hedgehogs.

    Juvenile hedgehogs weighing less than 500 grams during late autumn will need help to survive the winter. You can also find out what to do with an injured or sick hedgehog and ones that may be orphaned. Lots more here https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/inthewild/gardenhedgehogs

    All the best Jan

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