Mrs Tiggywinkle snuffles through at dusk

Eating outside at dusk, enjoying the warmth of the evening, we heard a rustling coming from low down in our hedge. Too loud to be a blackbird, too quiet to be anything huge. we held our breath in hope. The rustling moved closer towards where we were sitting. “There it is,” we whispered to each other in delight as a snuffling nose, followed by a round body of prickles emerged out of the garden border onto our grass. The hedgehog, which may have been Mr rather than Mrs Tiggywinkle – it was the stories of Mrs Tiggywinkle that I read as a child and so I continue to think of all hedgehogs as female – snuffled towards us on her (his) little short legs.

Mrs Tiggywinkle looking for food under the bird feeder

Snuffling is the only term possible to use for this creature’s movements, for without doubt it is lead by its nose. Terribly short sighted, it was unaware of us and took no notice even when we briefly turned on a torch to see it better. Encouraged by this, Ian took a photo.

Hedgehog hole cut in hope back in spring. Clearly our hedgehog can read!

The hedgehog’s interest continued to be focussed on finding edibles under our bird feeder. After around ten minutes, it lifted up its body on its four short legs and scuttled across the lawn. Guess what? It followed the fence along that side of the garden and made its way through the hedgehog hole we had cut for its use. Bingo!

RAMBLES FROM MY CHAIR: Littletown Farm Guest House

For four consecutive nights now, this lovely little wild mammal has followed the same pattern, appearing nearly on the dot of 7.45pm, finding what it can in our garden, then moving on to our neighbours. I was going to headline this post saying we had had ‘a prickly evening visitor’. Evening would be correct, prickly certainly so. But not a visitor. We are as much visitors on this creature’s land as it is on ours. Just as Beatrix Potter named the hedgehog in her story ‘Mrs Tiggywinkle’, and so I think of all hedgehogs as Mrs, so too if I call this creature a ‘visitor’ I continue the myth that this land is ours, when I believe it belongs to all who in any way live, or move across, on, under or over it.

Now is a great time to see hedgehogs as they feed up ready for winter hibernation. Leave dead leaves under hedges; when pruning, put some piles in corners to encourage insects, and you increase your chances of being visited. Put a saucer of water out. You can buy hedgehog food. (Never put out milk, it is bad for them.) Cut a hole in the bottom of your fence, so their world stays as large as they need. Then go out at dusk and listen for rustlings. I’d love to know if you see one.

Subscribe to my blog.

Enter your email address and click Subscribe to follow this blog.
You’ll get an email each time I add another post.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Hedgehogs in action

Have you recently heard a strange noise coming from outside? At about 10pm last night, we heard persistent grunting, grating, snuffly noises coming from our patio. Was someone sawing wood? I opened the window to see what it was.

Peering through the darkness, I saw two slightly different sized blobs circling each other. As my eyes got accustomed to the dark, I saw they were two hedgehogs! We tried to work out what their noise sounded like. Nathalie suggested carrots being grated, I thought someone unfit running up a steep hill. Mix the two and I think you have it!

with thanks for image to Wikipedia

We needn’t have rushed to look. The hedgehogs kept at their grunting and circling for at least 90 minutes – possibly longer as we went to bed! That’s a lot of carrots grated and hills run up! Just shows we don’t always know what is going on outside our back doors… We hope this means we will have baby hoglets – yes that’s what they are called – in a month or so. As hedgehogs travel 1-2 miles a night, this is not guaranteed.

I have tried to encourage hedgehogs in the garden. If you haven’t already done so, make some piles of logs for insects, and heaps of leaves for cover. There is lots of information about how to encourage and make your garden safe for hedgehogs on the internet. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital and the RSPCA all have excellent advice and information, including how to build a simple hedgehog home. These can also be bought – a friend of mine was given one for her birthday and to her delight this was used in the first year.

When we had a new fence put up by the fabulous Prospects Trust, based at Snakehall Farm, Reach, we cut a hole in the bottom so that hedgehogs could still travel between our and the next door’s garden and onwards… If your garden fences block hedgehogs from roaming, maybe you could consider cutting some openings.

Now hedgehogs know this hole is for them!

Next how about decorating it? You could use chalk as I have – though paint would be great if you are braver!

While you have the chalks out, why not have a bit more fun? I found doing this very therapeutic…

Banksy eat your heart out…

NB: Costcutters and Tina’s have packets of chalk for sale. Good luck!

And don’t forget these next few weeks to pop your head out of doors in the evenings. You may be lucky and hear grunting…

Subscribe to my blog.

Enter your email address and click Subscribe to follow this blog.
You’ll get an email each time I add another post.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.