A hedgehog friendly garden

Caught on camera! Wildlife Watcher Bessy and her family have discovered a heap of hog-action in their garden.

Three years ago, my family got a wildlife camera. We began to put it out every night before collecting it the next morning to take a look. One day we noticed something odd on the footage - a hedgehog walking through our hedge! We didn’t even know we had hedgehogs!

That hedgehog probably came into the garden under a gap in the fence. We set up the camera every night, until one day we had close ups of a hedgehog!

Next, we got a hedgehog house. Placing it near the gap, so that hedgehogs could sleep there overnight. We were rewarded with many lovely videos of hedgehogs happily snuggling up in it. We had begun by putting in dry leaves for the hogs, but soon more hogs came and gathered leaves themselves.

Soon, we had a diverse mix of hedgehogs hunting in our garden. Small ones, fat ones, clever ones, quick ones. We put out a water station and got some good footage of hedgehogs enjoying a drink. Once a hedgehog even lifted up the drinking station to get the slugs underneath!

Then the hedgehog mating season began. We were startled one morning to find that our camera had caught lots of videos. It turned out that two hedgehogs had been courting, but sadly, the female turned the male down.

We were surprised to find one hedgehog (that we noticed only had one reflecting eye) was doing some very odd things around the hole at the bottom of our willow tree. Previously, the hole was used by passing hedgehogs and a family of mice. So what was she up to?

Hedgehog caught on camera!

One day, we found a dead hoglet outside the hole. Then we realised that One-Eye had given birth to hoglets in the willow tree! They had moved out, but left the dead body of the weak hoglet behind.

The next exciting thing for the hogs was a wildlife pond. The hedgehogs drank from it, and caught slugs and other delicacies nearby. Frogs visited the pond next, and the pond is now thriving with life. This drew even more hedgehogs to our garden!

As the days got colder, the hedgehogs hunted more and prepared for hibernation. One hedgehog collected all the willow twigs that fell from our willow tree; using the leaves for a bed inside the hole. She also used branches all around as a barricade. We think that this hedgehog went on to hibernate there.

Hedgehogs in our garden

The next exciting events happened in May. One hedgehog slept in a secluded spot near our patio. Whenever it rained, it came out in the day to pick off the slugs before other hogs could get them. At night, she went down the steps into the garden for hunting. 

One night, it was ten o’clock and I was called downstairs because there were hedgehogs outside. I went down to find two hedgehogs courting in our front garden! The girl was our patio hedgehog. We watched, but sadly she rejected him. Afterwards, she went off to find other hedgehogs and we didn’t see her after that.

Some of our latest videos of hogs show them still coming through the gap for a night’s hunting. They are now also enjoying our new meadow areas, and I hope our neighbourhood hedgehogs enjoy our garden in the years to come.