It has been a long winter here and a very cold one too. We had more snow this year than in any of the previous years since I moved here. Right before our first big snow fall about a week prior.... Suzy came in to the garden to eat and tagging along was a little one.... we were worried as it was too small to go through winter and she was starting to wean it.... She did put it in one of our boxes closer to the food and water, though it was starting to turn cold. This was about the first week or two of November. Another week followed and here she came again with another little one!!! So we brought that one in.... and in the same night she brought another. We couldn't believe it as it was already turning extremely cold out and we were having problems keeping water from freezing for them. The next night she brought in her last little one... and a few days later the snows came and Suzy went into hibernation. It was all rather quick and hectic at the same time. We already had Frodo in for overwintering. Not sure who's baby he was. But I am very certain that the three girls and Sam are Suzy's. We named them all after Lord of the Rings characters.... Eowyn, Arwen and Galadriel.
After trips to the vets and sending poo samples off in the post we wormed them and got them fit. The two girls Arwen and Eowyn were the hardest to treat. Arwen had fluke along with the lungworms. Which we wouldn't have known about, but Caroline at Vale Wildlife rescue centre kindly examined their poo samples for me and saw which parasites they had. Fluke is rather painful and takes a different treatment than the lungworm.
And since we are now needing to know what they have before treating them, Brian said for my Christmas present I could get a microscope. So Caroline has helped me with some internet tutorials of poo sample checking. There is a whole other universe to a hedgehog on a microscope slide. Fortunately or unfortunately, by the time the scope arrived, the hogs were clean from the parasites. So I am anxiously awaiting to check the poo of a hog that has woken from hibernation.
Suzy did make an unusual appearance on the 25th of February. We had a warm week that week. But she only showed up the one night.
And then on the 10th of March, Cookie woke up. He was a little wobbly at first, but knew to tuck in to the food we have out for them and some water. The hogs are really dehydrated after hibernation and need water. Then after Cookie, Harry woke up and started visiting again. And soon after Tyler. We have had a few little tussles in the garden so far. Cookie versus Tyler, Tyler and Harry, Harry and Cookie. :) Boys will be boys.
Cookie and Harry.
This will be Tyler's second year hibernating and Harry and Cookie's 1st year. Harry overwintered inside the previous winter. Cookie is still showing the signs of a youngster with the dark ears. I am so pleased all three boys are doing well. Now hopefully Alex and Merry will show up and the others too. :)
Unfortunately we have had an unwanted guest to the garden for the past week here too. A very young vixen. She is absolutely lovely looking and we were surprised to see her on the video last night with one of the neighborhood cats. Both seemed a bit timid of the other. And to me it looked as though both cat and fox were watching a hedgehog moving about off camera. Hopefully she won't bother the hedgehogs or the cat. We had heard that a man's urine could help put foxes off, it worked for one night, but she was back again last night. :( So not sure what we can try this time. Maybe I need to cut some of my hair and leave it about. Brian is working on editing a video of her and we will post it up as soon as possible.
Oh and the little ones we have been overwintering....... All are fit and fat and as soon as the temps allow will be going out to the pens for soft release. :) We over wintered the first year- one hedgehog Tiggy. The next year it was 3 - Tiny, Benjamin, and Harry. This year it is 5 - Frodo, Sam, Arwen, Eowyn and Galadriel..... I truely hope that doesn't mean this next winter it will be 7!!!!! We have no more room!!! As it was we had to go out and buy 2 more cages! I wonder if Brian and Jingles would like sleeping in the loft! LOL