At present we seem to have at least three (definitely) and (almost certainly) FOUR hedgehogs in our gardens and using our (deliberately dug or drilled) hedgehog tunnels.
I have been following these four hedgehogs all season using my Browning Trail Camera (please... if you are to buy a trail camera, buy a Browning and not the TAT that are Bushnell trail cameras (and they are you know)) and now... with my super-duper thermal telescope.
Just a few short weeks ago I thought we had two hedgehogs in the garden - two males - and very recently we've had a female visit for the last week or so and now I think we have THREE males and a female visiting most nights.
I've spliced together (more than) a few short infra red clips shot by my trail camera in the YouTube clip below. For brevity's sake I'll annotate the clip below. Just for the record, I will not give these wild animals (nor any wild animals for that matter) "Disneyfied names" as such. But you know that already if you've been visiting this website for any length of time. For now, so you can tell them apart - I'll just call them A,B,C and D.
We have four (I think) hedgehogs that use our gardens and tunnels each night. Three males (A, C and D) and one female (B).
I'm pretty sure that at least one or two of these hedgehogs used the garden last year. In fact I think male hedgehog A lived in the back garden last year (well... under the next door neighbour's shed bordering our fence).
I can tell (and you can in some of the spliced clips below) which hedgehogs are male and which are female because I place my trail camera on the ground - and the male's penis is often very visible (obviously not so with the female).
Male hedgehog A has a prominent penis, is very quick on his feet, and constantly sounds like a wee steam train. (02:18- 02:29) Like I say... I'm pretty sure he was around in the garden last year - but he doesn't seem to live in our back garden our even our neighbour's back garden this year as he enters under our side passage from the front garden each night.
Female hedgehog B is a newcomer. In the last two weeks. No penis (obviously) and quite hesitant, slow and unsure. Smells everything on her manoeuvres around the gardens and tunnels. She has spent the odd day somewhere in our or our neighbour's back garden, but like male hedgehog A, she tends to come into the back garden each night FROM the front garden, under our side passage door. She, as far as I can make out, still has not even discovered the hedgehog feeding station in our back garden, which her male counterparts most certainly have. No... for now... she *seems* to have followed a scent trail left by male hedgehogs (you'd think it would be the other way 'round wouldn't you?) into our gardens. This female hedgehog almost "whistles" as she moves. A bit like a badger cub. Quite sweet... if you appreciate that sort of thing?! (Listen to 02:38- 02:40 in the clip below)
Male hedgehog C is large and sexually active with a prominent penis. Male hedgehog C wipes his chin (you'll see in the clip below) along the flagstones. Read more about hedgehog chin and genital wiping here. I have a feeling that if hedgehog C really is a separate hedgehog and not for example male hedgehog A all puffed up and slowed down... nor actually a quieter male hedgehog D (which I thought it was for some time), then this male does live in and around our back gardens. I may be wrong here.
The extended clip below shows all four (I think) hedgehogs on manoeuvres around our "hood". In our side passage and using the tunnel that I chiselled out of the concrete floor under our side passage door.
Yes that's one of my muck boots in the side passage. And yes, it's not that these hedgehogs are that small - the muck boot is that large. I have big feet. Size 14, if you have to know.
The noise that suddenly starts at around 02:11 and scares the bejayzus out of the female hedgehog B in the clip is the tumble dryer that my wife has set to delay. No. I don't know, so don't ask!
In the clip (recorded on my lovely new thermal camera) below, you'll see two hedgehogs in an "encounter" in our back garden at around 10pm a couple of nights ago. I think this is male hedgehog C and female hedgehog B, though that would be complete speculation. It could (for all I know) be a large male and small male checking each other out. There is no sound on this clip (there is never any sound on these thermal video clips). Let's hope it is a male and a female, the female eventually succumbs to the male's charms and we have a few small hedgehogs bumbling around before too long.
That had better be that for now, as far as blogging about "our" garden hedgehogs is concerned.
I'll finish with a disclaimer.
I KNOW we have three hedgehogs in the garden (2 males and 1 female) but looking at all the clips I've shot over the last month or so, I'm cautiously confident that at present we do, indeed, have four. 3 males and 1 female. That said - I could be wrong. They do look (and act) quite similar to each other.