We're rather fond of our local wildlife, it has to be said. As well as providing food for various bird species and squirrels, we've been feeding and keeping an eye on the local hedgehog population... Plink even managed to snap one of them wandering around the garden. We've blossomed out into two hedgehog houses, which the Bloke visits of an evening to provide food and report back on occupation status and the health of the residents.
Unfortunately, this year the hedgehogs have been rather late in breeding and producing young. I think this is probably due to the very wet Summer that we had. This means that the juveniles aren't getting to a weight where they are likely to survive the Winter. So far, we've scooped up 4 microhogs who don't look like they're going to make the weight, and I have to say that we were expecting that to be our lot for the season. Given the recent rain and the cold snap drawing in, we were pretty certain that any sub-par hogs wouldn't have made it this far into the year.
So when the Bloke came in from the garden today and announced that he thought there were two tiny hedgehogs in the house, we were pretty surprised. The kitchen scales were usurped and the weigh-in completed...
...and both of them came in at less than 350g. This is no way near enough to make it; you want your hoglets to be pushing 500-600g by now, which makes them about the size of a football.
We've taken them both inside for tonight; they're currently in a box in the downstairs loo. In the morning we'll get in touch with the excellent City Wildlife Care, who will arrange for them to be de-ticked, wormed and provided with a cosy living space for the Winter.
They provide this as a free service. Obviously, we'll be sending them a Christmas present (as well as offering the garden as a release site for hedgehogs in April next year), but if you've got a couple of pennies in your pocket, please have a think about making a donation to Operation Hedgehog. They're an entirely voluntary organisation, cover a massive area and need all the help they can get.