Between two and three weeks ago I blogged that one of "our" hedgehogs from last year had awoken from its hibernation and trundled to its traditional feeding spot in our back garden, where I've provided food for them for the last few years - food which foxes and cats cannot get to.
Well... it has only been up feeding since then a couple of times- but last night (very early this morning really) it was joined by a second hedgehog - and the ensuing disgruntled "grunty" battle was captured by my motion-activated miniature camera placed inside the hedgehog feeding tunnel.
The clip can be seen in its entirety below, but be warned, it is twenty-five minutes long - and this length (the longest clip by far I've ever uploaded onto YouTube) is a result of "quickly" splicing 14 separate clips together, without much editing at all.
Now, I should perhaps point out that I think, like last year, that these two hedgehogs are male. It's always quite difficult to tell what sex a hedgehog is, even if you see them engaged in courtship behaviour - as this often appears to be grumpy fighting. You could always get a video of them mating I suppose, but generally... unless you place a trail camera on the floor and get a shot of their genitals (male hedgehogs have very obvious penises, but of course you need to take a photo or video at worm's eye level to see them), it will be very difficult to sex your garden hedgehogs.
The two hedgehogs were both stubbornly-determined to either keep the food to themselves or queue jump so-to-speak - but having looked at all the footage (there's nearly two hours of it - be thankful I've trimmed it down to twenty-five minutes for you!), I don't think the second hedgehog to the food (turns up around 0215am - an hour and twenty minutes or so AFTER the first hedgehog starts eating) actually gets any food at all - nor does he (or she -I'll (re)confirm this again soon) return to get any food after the first hedgehog leaves.
I may be wrong with the above - but it appears to me that our "first" hedgehog, which we (my wife and I) both believe to be the smaller male from last year (no more than one year old) can be identified by a nick out of its left ear. Clearly visible at times on the clip below. Of course the other hedgehog could have a similar nick in its left ear too - but... well... I doubt it.
A brief, bulleted timeline of the clip below then.
1255am. hedgehog 1 arrives. Starts eating.
0216am hedgehog 2 arrives behind hedgehog 1. Tries for 30 minutes or so, in vain, to GET TO THE FOOD!
0247am hedgehog 2 gives up and leaves.
0249am hedgehog 1, knackered after the extended battle, leaves too.
0439am hedgehog 1 returns.
0516 hedgehog 1 finally leaves for the night.
As I must have said many times on this blog, and certainly to my sons and wife - hedgehogs are incredibly noisy wee things, even when they're not battling or fighting or courting - but the noises captured in the clip below will demonstrate that for you in case you weren't aware.
The fact that we have two (at least) hedgehogs back in our gardens is a wonderful fillip. Our back garden is quite large and borders four others, two of which have recent movers-in and are having extensive work done to them (hard and soft landscaping, fencing, tree-felling etc) so we are relieved that at present, "our" hedgehogs seem to be fine.
That all said, and again, as I've written before... having witnessed this battle between two of our hedgehogs right at the very start of the season, immediately-following hibernation, I'm very mindful that I may need to provide TWO food tunnels for these hedgehogs this year - to try and avoid a situation where I unnaturally cause unnecessary competition or aggravation or even injury (by fighting or disease) to these hedgehogs, in my efforts to do well for them. Something that MANY (most?) wildlife "lovers" in the UK always seem to overlook.
That shallot for now.
Here's hoping for a MUCH better Spring and Summer 2021 than 2020 eh?
More soon I'm sure.