It is with a heavy heart that I should tell regular followers of this blog that our big male hedgehog who (I think) I first noticed in the garden in mid March this year, has died.
Regular readers of this wildlife blog will know that I try to get our local (garden(s)) population of hedgehogs moving around the 'hood as much as possible and am always digging hedgehog tunnels under our fences and even doors, to get them moving around and breeding.
I was aware that on digging the tunnel under our side passage door (through concrete) I was opening up the hedgehogs' territory to include our road - but that was a risk that I had to take on.
For some weeks now, we have had at least two hedgehogs in our garden, one larger male and one much smaller hedgehog (probably male, but still hard to tell). These two hedgehogs have been using my side passage tunnel each night.
I then videoed him leaving a food tunnel I'd created primarily for the smaller hedgehog, to fatten it up before any hibernation (see below)
So... the last time I videoed our big male hedgehog was at 2am (I forgot to put the trail cam's clock back in this clip) on the 30th October 2019. This will be my last clip of our big male hedgehog, we have to assume.
A few hours later (about 8am) Anna found the body of this hedgehog fifty yards from our house, on the road - clearly hit by a car.
Very sad news.
I have left reporting this news for a few days, but it would be fair to say now that after a few nights of leaving the trail camera out each night in a vain attempt to keep videoing our bigger hedgehog (a nightly star on the trail camera video clips)… I am convinced that the dead hedgehog outside our house the other morning WAS indeed our large male - as the trail camera has not picked him up once since.
Really sad news.
Does this dark cloud have any sort of silver lining?
Firstly, I can't be 100% sure that the hedgehog killed on the road outside our house in the small hours of October 30th IS our large male. I'm almost sure - but I can't be 100% sure. My wife and I have got previous here, finding a squashed hedgehog on our road, 100 yards from our house, thinking the worst and then being nicely surprised nine days later.
Secondly - even if was our large male on the road... we still have our small hedgehog each night in our garden - who is eating lots of hedgehog food in the tunnel I've built for it.
Thirdly - even if it was our large male on the road, perhaps the smaller hedgehog that we have visiting is his progeny (it is almost certainly not even one year old - it really is small) - so perhaps he did get to sow his wild oats before he got hit by a car.
All of this is speculation of course... but a small crumb of comfort perhaps.
Sad anyway though....
This is now the third hedgehog that has been squashed on our 20MPH speed limit road in the last two years, within 150 yards of our house.
I am still dumbfounded that on a 20MPH road, car drivers can still squash hedgehogs on roads.
Sure, I'm hyper-aware and am always looking some way down the road when I drive anywhere - but I thought other drivers at least tried to do the same. I guess not.
So. A plea then to all motorists out there... please, please try to be a little more engaged in the driving process when you're behind the wheel and try to be a little more aware of things on or by or crossing roads. One could perhaps forgive you for accidentally squashing a frog, or a stag beetle... but not a pint-glass (or bigger!) sized hedgehog.
Because if you don't fully engage in the job of driving well (and NOT hitting and killing things) and you all still continue to insist to brick up your telly-tubby gardens - well... we will have no hedgehogs left in a couple of decades.
It's incredible to think that when I was a boy in the early eighties, doing my paper-rounds in the dark, I'd always see/hear four or five hedgehogs each night... without even trying - but fast forward a few decades and my sons may well not be able to see ANY soon. Or ever again.
How sad would that be?
Too sad to think too much about, to be honest.
Until the next time then.