This often misquoted quote comes to mind as I now have my first resident in my Hedgehog Hotel and first (same) customer in my Hedgehog Café. I built the Hotel and Café next to each other on the same luxury complex just last week so it hasn’t taken one little hog long to secure their cosy pad with food on-tap. These creatures are so clever.
Hedgehog Hotel and Café in my wildlife garden
The single-storey and single-room Hotel is actually a Hogitat ready made hedgehog home which I covered with twigs and branches, leaves and handfuls of hay to make it look like a natural mound. I also put handfuls of dry leaves, straw and hay inside for bedding.
I set it so that the entrance faces the wall and the access is hidden behind a tree. The hedgehog should feel pretty safe and secure once in situ. It is protected from wind, and shouldn’t get too warm as it is out of direct sunlight.
I then bought a plastic box for the Café, choosing to place it upside down near to the Hogitat home, securing it with tent pegs so that other animals (notably my two cats and Jasper the naughty Cockerpoo) can’t tip it up to get at the delicious mealworms and sunflower hearts. A bowl of water is also kept topped-up as I am feeding dry food. I’m hoping that he/she/it will start eating the slugs crawling up the garden wall when settled in!
Dining out on mealworms in the Cafe
So all in all, I am thrilled with my new resident and the fact that having made the effort to provide a home for a hedgehog, I have been rewarded so quickly!
Checking all is clear
I also checked this morning and the hedgehog is still there, curled up in a ball of straw as I intended.
Toddling off back to bed
I’m hoping its a female and that she makes this den her forever home so we have a chance of seeing some hoglets if not this year, then maybe next.
I have never actively fed hedgehogs, always content with seeing the odd one scoot across my garden in search of food. They have surprisingly long legs under those spines and furry skirt and can cover up to one mile at night and I can believe it having seen them race across the lawn at speed.
Last week however, I was babysitting my neighbour’s hedgehogs whilst they were on holiday. Lucky me! Each night I crept round next door and filled the hedgehog dishes with dried mealworms and Spike hedgehog crunchies. I also made sure that plenty of water was available. I took my camera and sat cross-legged on the patio waiting for them to appear as Wendy said they would, between 9.30 and 10.00pm.
They didn’t let me down and first to appear was Bertie. Apparently he always comes out first, a good 10-15 minutes before the others. He comes from the direction of a shed in the next garden down so I guess that is where he lives. He takes the same route every night, creeping slowly along the back wall making sure there are no threats before running towards the food. It is funny to hear him crunching on the worms and crunchies, clearly enjoying the feast before washing it all down with a drink of water. Bertie doesn’t hang around long and when he has finished, runs back to his shed using the same path he came on only this time much quicker, his little legs speeding along until he disappears under the fence.
Next to arrive is a medium sized hedgehog, this time appearing from the bushes to my right. Again, the same ritual is followed every night. Hedgehogs are obviously creatures of habit. This is good as it means that if you can encourage one to reside in your garden, it is unlikely to move on if he/she is happy enough. I guess this is where regular feeding is an advantage. Would you move from your hotel if you were fed and watered every day?
Whilst eating, a larger hedgehog runs out from the bushes, grunting as she charges into the smaller one and pushes it out of the way! This, I understand is Bramble (the Bully!) By far the largest of the hedgehogs, she starts to eat whilst the smaller one curls up into a ball and waits until she has finished and moved away before braving the food once more. All this is captured on film, except that my camera doesn’t do well in the dark and many of the movies are too dark to show.
Interesting……The phrase hedgehog’s dilemma refers to the notion that:
(1) The closer two beings come to one another in a relationship, the more likely it might be for them to inflict psychological pain on each other
(2) Yet if they remain apart, they each might feel the roughly-equivalent (psychological) pain of loneliness.
This notion comes from the conjecture that hedgehogs, with sharp spines on their backs, might hurt each other if they get too close. It is a character trait believed to be possessed by some individuals, in real life as well as in works of fiction, sometimes causing anti-social behaviours, often allegedly caused by an unpleasant past experience of intimate relationships. A person who suffers from the hedgehog’s dilemma will usually avoid becoming too close or involved with someone, due to fear of another similar, possibly painful, experience, such as they had experienced in the past.
So next time someone accuses you of being “prickly” perhaps you too have the hedgehog’s dilemma?