Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy Hedgehog Update

Remember this - Hedgehogs Part II ?

When we installed Hedgehog Towers at the bottom of the garden, I hoped the hedgehogs would use it but I didn’t know quite how we would persuade them. We put the house in a nice quiet spot, put some wood shavings I, placed some cat crunchies where they might tempt a hedgehog or two, and waited . . . For a while nothing seemed to happen but then but the other morning I went out to the garden earlyish - pre 7am when all was quiet, I wandered to the end of the garden where Hedgehog Towers is. All around the hedgehog house was dark brown earth and wood bark - then I suddenly realised that one of the dark brown patches was in fact a hedgehog and as I came nearer it was startled and ran - straight up the hog house tunnel and into Hedgehog Towers. So we could assume that the Hogs were in residence.

Then on Wednesday evening when the Offspring and his Lovely Girlfriend were here, they asked if they might get a chance at seeing the Hogs. I said we could try to sneak a peep and see if anyone was 'at home’. We crept to the Hog House and carefully eased the lid off, not wanting to frighten sleeping hogs. Now the last time I lifted the lid on the hog house, there was a bundle of wood shavings - about an inch deep - on the floor - hoping to encourage hedgehogs in to keep snug and snooze. There was about 15 inches or so between these and the removable roof. But this time when I opened the lid the whole house was packed with leaves, some hay we'd left out, old hedge clippings . . . all dragged down the tunnel and woven and swirled into the snuggest, neatest, cosiest hedgehog nest you ever saw. The whole box is full to bursting with it - except I presume for the hog space at the entrance and room for Mr and Mrs Hodge to snuggle up together in the middle of the nest. They must be so warm and snug in there and it will be wonderful to think of them safe from predators and cosy as can be when the winter comes and they hibernate in there.

They are also tamed a bit now and come for food when we shake the cat crunchie container. We put out crunchies and some left over cat meat (Sid has learned to share just a little) and then we wait. Usually they arrive within about 10 minutes., first one and then the other. We leave the French doors open so we hear crunching and snuffling and when we take a look they are happily settled, tucking into their suppers and completely unfazed by the sound and light from the room.

I’m training them intensively right now because in September my dear friend Anne McAllister is coming to visit. Every other time she has come to stay we have told her about the hedgehogs and she has hoped to see them. Last time she and her husband managed to snatch a single glimpse of one hedgehog as he dashed across the lawn in the distance. But this time, with Mr and Mrs H having taken up residence in Hedgehog Towers, and with a few piles of cat crunchies as an added enticement, I’m hoping she’ll see more.

We're working on it, Anne – and even if the hedgehogs don’t deliver, there’s always the furry hog – Sir Sidney. He’ll make you very welcome.


blueberri said...

I have my fingers crossed that the hedgehogs are there for Anne, Kate! I hope you write nature books some day!

Anne McAllister said...

Thank you for all your efforts on my behalf, Kate. I look forward to meeting Mr and Mrs Hodge and the little hedges.

I, of course, can hardly wait to see Sidney again. And Spiff and Bob and, er, Dyl the Vil. And you and the BM too, of course.


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