Family Gatherings

I mentioned the other day that we have had some distractions in the garden… All summer a large  – very large – hedgehog had been sighted at night around the garden. Then last week we saw three babies! Then we counted six, no seven. Wait, there’s another one, and … NINE!

How many can you spot on the photo above?

How many can you spot on the photo above?

They have been looking for food together, even during the daytime after lunch,  while Mum (and Dad?) have an afternoon nap?… Above they are gathered next to their home (under a large piece of stone near a pile of twigs).

Then at night they are out and about again. They are clearly hungry.

HedehogsBabies1

We are putting down some nibbles for them, as they need to put weight on rapidly before it gets cold and they go into hibernation. I have read in several places that a minimum weight of 500 grammes is necessary before they start hibernating.

Looks like this one is enjoying a solitary snack while the others are away foraging….

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Now I know why we have seen so few slugs and snails recently! 😉

In the flower bed

In the flower bed

They are so sweet, and my man of many talents got this photo the other day too …

HedehogsBabies6

One of our dogs has been a little worried at the invasion, but I think she is getting used to them!

HedehogsBabies4

Have you had any guests in your garden recently?

55 thoughts on “Family Gatherings

  1. Brilliant images Cathy, how lovely to have such useful guests. I think there are hedgehogs in the garden but I don’t ever see them, except once when we were trying to capture an unknown night visitor who was causing damage and we put a trap out (one that didn’t harm the animal) and one of the first things we caught was a hedgehog so I’m assuming they live in or visit the garden regularly. I can see 6 hedgehogs in your image.

    • I think an added advantage is that they are eating up lots of slugs and hopefully the eggs too, so there will be fewer pests next year… well, I can hope! 😉

  2. I appreciated and heeded your warning the other day in your article about distractions in the garden and didn’t read any further, but these are fascinating. Great pictures.

  3. I LOVE those wonderful pics of the baby hedgehogs Cathy, so lovely! My daughter made a ‘hedgehog hotel’ in our garden last year but as far as we know it didn’t have any guests. These sort of visitors would be so welcome.

  4. Well done capturing them with your camera. We have a hedgehog which comes regularly, he/she leaves messages on the lawn, so we know they are around even though we only see them occasionally. Also a fox seems to think this garden belongs to him/her, caught a quick view of it this morning. A sparrow hawk is coming too often and catching the birds near the bird table, yesterday it flew into a rose bush and caught a sparrow, that’s 3 times in a couple of weeks, that’s 3 times too many.

    • We also get martens and occasionally a fox. I was worried the other day when a few baby hedgehogs were out in daylight and the buzzards were flying overhead… We rarely see sparrowhawks, but we have a lot of buzzards and kestrels.

    • Well, I’m hoping these will eat up the slugs and not just the worms and beetles! Ours are being given a gourmet platter as a dietary supplement every evening with – among other things – raisins and banana!

  5. Oh Cathy, this is really lovely, what great photos too, that must have been quite an exciting discovery. I have been researching hedgehog poo trying to decide if we have one visiting but I am still not sure!

    • It is hard to tell as we have also seen so many different signs on our lawn… toads and martens leave messages and the hedgehogs all vary, I suppose depending on what they have found to eat! Good luck with your research! 😉

  6. Oh, so cute! Every day I can see a Red Squirrel jumping on the ground and in the trees. Our sunflowers have hosted Gold and Green Finch Families. It was very lively.
    Have a nice weekend! Uta

  7. Really enjoyed looking at your lovely photographs, think I counted eight babies….? They are such a delight. We’ve had stag beetles earlier in the summer, frogs, toads, hedgehogs and luckily a badger who comes almost every night to eat peanuts or peanut butter sandwiches if I run out of nuts! I think we benefit from the fact I’m a bit of an untidy gardener and we are a stones throw from the woods.

    • Yes, certainly seven and possibly eight. There was another one under the stone but we stopped counting at nine! How lovely to have a badger! They are not common in our region at all. I bet our hedgehogs would like peanut butter too – good idea! It sounds like you are in a similar situation to us – we are also next to the woods and my garden is also mostly wild and untamed – only the rockery gets any attention worth mentioning!

  8. We had a hedgehog and two babies in the garden last year – nothing like your huge family! When I was in the UK the Hedgehog Preservation Society recommended feeding baby hedgehogs in winter under 500 g. If I saw any tiny ones in the garden I would weigh them and if they were under weight they would be put in a box and fed raw mince. They put on weight extremely quickly. The children used to help me with this. Amelia

    • Thanks for the tip Amelia. We have been giving them some soft dog food and raisins, banana and oats, and it all disappears every night. I just hope their mum isn’t being greedy and eating it all instead of leaving some for her babies! We will wait a little longer and then weigh them before it gets cold to check how they are doing, but they do seem so small still.

  9. Oh my goodness, Cathy, what a delightful post. I can’t get the grin off my face. They are the cutest little balls of fur. What a bonus to have them eat your slugs and snails.

    I love that your are feeding them and helping them plump up for the winter. You have a warm and giving heart. I spotted three in the top photo, but honestly, they blend so well with the rocks, that its possible there are more.

    • There are at least seven in the first photo! We are only seeing them separately now, so it’s impossible to keep tally of how many are still in our garden. The dish of food disappears every night though, and I think I’m putting a little more out than at first as well!

  10. How lovely Cathy. Wonderful photographs and your baby hedgehogs are so cute. I used to have hedgehogs in the garden but I haven’ t seen one for years. They seem to be getting quite scarce. They are such endearing little creatures.

  11. What a nice hedgehog family in your garden! I´ve never seen baby hedegehogs, so tiny creatures!
    In July Snoopy discovered two large hedgehogs in our northern privit hedge, lay down nearby watching them – quite silent. But the “prickly balls” certainly were worried. So as a precaution we put them to a heap of branches and leaves outside of the garden where they find shelter and calm. Now there is windfall under the apple trees nearby, I hope the hedgehogs will love it.

    • Hello Elisabeth! Our hedgehogs seem very keen on the dog food we put out. They need lots of carbohydrates to fatten them up now, so the oat “balls” I’m giving them should help too. 🙂

  12. Oh, those little ones are soooo cute and it’s great that you are contributing to the family’s survival through the winter. Wonderful photos and thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  13. They are the cutest things! Great job on the photos, I can’t imagine getting anything done knowing they’re outside rooting around 🙂
    I hope they become regular visitors in the garden this fall and next year. I think they’re lucky to have found your slope!

    • It’s fun going down the garden late at night with a big plateful of food for them. I hear all sorts of rustlings, and an owl hooting too. I occasionally see one of the babies on the way, but they are finding plenty of food in the rockery it seems!

  14. OH I LOVE THESE!

    You are so lucky to have hedgehogs!

    Have you ever read Beatrix Potter? She had a character, who was my favorite when I was a wee wee child … who was a hedgehog!

    EEE! 🙂

  15. My first thought was, “Do they eat your garden?,” but I guess you wouldn’t be this excited about having so many if they did do damage to the plants. How wonderful that they can be beneficial in pest reduction! And oh-so-cute! I counted only six in the picture, but now I have to study it to find the other two!

    • They don’t touch plants at all fortunately, otherwise I would be worried with nine babies and the parents too! We haven’t seen them all together like this since that day when they left the nest, so don’t know if they are all still okay or if any have moved on to new territory… The food disappears every night though! 🙂

    • I think some of them have moved on as I’m putting less food out and there’s sometimes a bit left in the morning. I’m glad they are finding plenty to eat in the gardens around us too… and I have only seen one slug in weeks! 😉

  16. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Moonlight | Words and Herbs

    • How sweet! We haven’t seen any for a while… I think they have spread out to surrounding gardens as they are solitary creatures and territorial too. The food I put out still disappears every night though!

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