The hedgehog’s dilemma

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 22.37.52(Photo from The Guardian by David Jones/PA)

We have been feeding and watering our visiting hedgehog since early spring. At first he ate from an open plate, but we became worried that he was having to share with cats/magpies/ foxes. The advice on Springwatch was to put the food into a piece of drainpipe. Lacking a drainpipe we used a deep plastic plant pot. DSCN8144He took to this without hesitation, and if we timed it right, by shining a torch through the back door, we could spot his rear end. In late spring there was a lot of snuffling and grunting and Mrs Hedgehog appeared. They cavorted for a few days, and you could go up and shine a torch on them and they just continued running round after each other. She vanished and we were back to Mr on his ownsome.

Then, a few weeks ago, we started to notice that the pot kept walking in the night. We were also curious that half the food would go between 9.30 and 10.30, but the rest disappeared overnight. Suddenly we have two hedgehogs, we have seen them both several times, we don’t know if this is Mrs or son/daughter or hopeful passerby BUT Hedgehog 2 has a problem. He/she is either short of marbles or has claustrophobia, because H2 will only eat from the back of the pot. DSCN8145 To achieve this H2 has to bump the back of the pot until the food falls through the holes in the back of the pot. On wet nights, we put the pot under the back door porch. If I stay up late, there is a continuous knocking sound and this little fellow bumps the rear of the pot, eats the few fragments that fall through and bumps again. If only H2 would walk round the pot, he/she would see that he was knocking the food to the front open edge, but H2 endlessly circles the rear of the pot and NEVER goes to the front. I have tried to photograph this, but  apart from being collapsed with laughter, I cannot make the camera play.

And no, I can’t sex hedgehogs, it’s deduction.

38 thoughts on “The hedgehog’s dilemma

  1. How utterly delicious a problem, Hilary ! 🙂
    H2 probably hit his head climbing over something and falling, one day; and now he can’t … quite … work stuff out. No matter: with you there to watch over him, he’ll be JESS FAHN !!!

    • I wish you could sit here laughing with me… I’ve just had a thought. Maybe if he gets it onto the grass, he can get his snout underneath the back end and tip it all out, it’s the bricks that are the problem.

      • But then … no: there’s no easy solution here, my admirable friend. Life wasn’t meant to be easy, as one of our late PMs famously said. [grin]

  2. Pingback: The hedgehog’s dilemma | Janet's thread

  3. How delightful to have not one, but two, hedgehogs in your garden. I wonder if H2 knows that H1 gets food from the front of the pot and uses the ‘servant’s entrance’ out of respect, or perhaps because H1 has warned H2 off.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing it with us. We had some success last winter when my daughter bought a plastic hedgehog house off the internet. She lined it with leaves, dry grass and put her own waterproof roof over it. Again, they took to it well and quite a number seemed to use it too escape the winter cold and damp. Hedgehogs are very much an endangered species in England so the more we can do to help them, the better.

    • Great idea. We don’t know where our hedgehog spent last winter, but the back of our garden is has piles of wood and debris under some conifers. A few years ago we found one fast asleep inside a little shed full of mowers at the back, we didn’t know if he was injured, so we tucked him into a cardboard box with newspaper and left it under the logs. I was so pleased to find the box empty in the spring.

  5. I’m trying to think of a Canadian equivalent to hedgehogs but can’t. Racoons are a nuisance, tipping garbage and getting into all sorts of trouble. If you’re going to name the other one, I think it should be O. That way you can have H2O.

    • I think I have just witnessed that very moment. I heard the clunking of the post and went to the back door to see the fun, then I went to fetch my husband and H2 ran along the side of the pot where scraps had fallen and … discovered the entrance and dived in! Unless of course it was the other one and they had swapped as i fetched my husband…

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