“There’s one antidote to gloom and despair that never fails: the wildlife that got us all going in the first place. It’s brilliant, beautiful, bewildering, intriguing and inspiring. We’ll probably do a lot more good if we spend more time outside engaging with it, rather than inside reading about or watching things (on TV) that make us angry (like Brexit, for example)….”
Six days ago I blogged that our single male hedgehog had gawn orf.
Six nights - no hedgehog activity in the garden - nothing on any trail cameras. NOTHING AT ALL.
But now, after last night's activity in the garden (picked up by two trail cams in the video below), I am completely confused.
Please watch the video below. Accompanying text is in the video itself (so you know what you're looking at).
I am not sure WHAT to make of all the hedgehog activity in the garden last night.
So all I can say for sure is that:
1) We certainly did have only one single male hedgehog in the back garden which let itself out, 6 nights ago and hasn't been back since.
2) We think it returned last night (although the first hedgehog "HA" by the door in the clip above, does seem smaller and nippier than our original male hedgehog and more significantly- does NOT appear to have a great big penis, unlike our original male - although that might be because the footage is slightly fuzzy and thus unclear).
3) We think also at least one (probably just one) hog appeared at the other end of the back garden (although again... that cooouuulllld be just our original hedgehog ("HA") on its own).
It's always very difficult to put any sort of narrative to wildlife using just trail cameras and one really should avoid jumping to unevidenced conclusions with trail camera footage, even though... I know... it's tempting, isn't it?
Trail cameras are unreliable and even if they are suddenly 100% reliable (i.e. they trigger without fail) because they are static (and the animals aren't), little can be deduced from footage.
Almost invariably if you're puzzled to what is happening in your garden (or wherever you've set up your trail camera or cameras), the obvious answer and most likely answer WILL be the eventual answer, you know.
So... your hedgehogs won't have all suddenly multiplied and broken down walls.
And your foxes won't have all grown wings or been taken by a local cat/monkey/squirrel/tiger.
The obvious and most likely answer about our situation last night after a year or so with just one hedgehog seemingly trapped in our gardens and now, 6 nights of NO hedgehog activity followed by a night of lots of activity from multiple (seemingly) hedgehogs is that quite simply, our original male hedgehog "HA" has indeed returned and is running around all his old haunts. NOT that he buggered off for six nights and suddenly six night later all the hedgehogs in the Parish have all, simultaneously discovered all my hedgehog tunnels under our fences.
I hope he has returned 'avec femme'. That'd be great. But I massively doubt it.
An old neighbour and friend of mine is having this same sort of problem (making sense of limited trail camera footage) in Reading, albeit with a family of foxes, rather than my small number (perhaps just one still) of hedgehogs. Also - it's a LOT easier to see the difference between male and female foxes than male and female hedgehogs at this time of year - although size is NOT … repeat NOT... to clarify - NEVER... an indicator of sex in foxes or hedgehogs (or many other animals for that matter).
Tonight I'll put out three trail cameras and see what is happening in the garden.
I think I'll get footage of one hedgehog - maybe two... but unless I get footage of two hedgehogs TOGETHER in one clip, I'll be hesitant to draw any inferences from any clips I do get.
Again... all I can say fo sho, after 6 nights of NO hedgehog activity in the garden, is suddenly again, there's rather a lot. But I have no idea if all the activity last night was the result of our original hedgehog ("HA") returning, or whether there are suddenly two hedgehogs in the garden somehow ("HA" and "HB", despite only one entrance into and out of our gardens as far as I thought) or even perhaps THREE hedgehogs in our garden suddenly now, "HA", "HB" and "HC").
It's worth reiterating that point again.
I've been CONVINCED that the only way into our gardens (the five gardens in our "patch") was via tunnels I'd dug between our garden and our four neighbouring gardens and the tunnel under our side passage door, which allows any hedgehogs in or out to the wider world (and was, I thought, the ONLY exit to the wider world or entrance in FROM the wider world). I may well have to rethink that theory after last night...
Watch this space....