Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Here are a few photos I took this evening of a four legged thug who caused criminal damage in the garden
We feed visiting hedgehogs each evening.  To prevent neighbourhood cats or seagulls stealing the food (tinned catfood) we protect the food dishes under clear plastic storage boxes in which we cut little doorways - large enough for hedgehogs to use but too small for the cats.

When the last container got trashed by fighting hedgehogs we shopped for a replacement and ended up trying a cheaper option - a plastic laundry basket which came with handy carrying holes already cut out at each end.    Unfortunately the laundry basket is smaller and an enterprising cat discovered it could reach a paw in the doorway and drag the food dish over to where it could get to the meat.

So I blocked one doorway with a strip of anti-seagull spikes attached with plant ties to the basket.  This worked perfectly.  If the food dish was placed close to the blocked off doorway the cat couldn't reach it from the open end of the laundry basket.   The hedgehogs soon got used to only having one entrance/exit.

Till tonight .... this little thug was determined to get in through the blocked doorway and just kept barging into the spikes (ouch) till he snapped the ties and pushed the spikes to one side.   I guess the spikes didn't worry him too much .... bit like snuggling up to another hedgehog!    He had us in fits ... once inside the basket he just upended the food dish and demolished the lot.  Even when the food had gone he continued pushing the plastic dish round for about half an hour ... think he's in line for an ASBO (Anti Social Behaviour Order)

Here you can see one of the snapped plant ties and the spikes pushed to one side.  He's standing in the food dish and has tipped all the meat out - bless!

Kicking the food dish round (very noisily).    We keep a paving slab on top of the 'feeding station' to stop it being blown away in windy weather or pushed over by hedgehogs.  This time of year they are pretty big and strong as they are piling on the weight ready for hibernation

off for a drink of water

One final check to make sure he hasn't missed any food and then back out the way he came in ....

As I'm typing this I can hear another hedgehog rattling the empty dish.  I often replenish the food dish if the meat gets eaten too quickly but its past midnight and is now pouring with rain outside so they'll have to hunt for bugs/snails tonight and wait till tomorrow for more cat meat!!  


Jo said...

Meanie, you won't go out in the rain late at night to feed the poor little sods??? I have never known anyone do this. Good subjects for you to draw? I didn't know they were that prevalent, think I only ever saw one in my life.

sue said...

It wasn't 'ordinary' rain - it was gale force wind and sideways rain. I wasn't going out in that! But ... it was the 25th anniversary of the Great October Storm that caused so much damage in the Southern part of the UK with the loss of 18 lives and 15 million trees!

Thankfully the wind has died down a little as we are going to France for the Day so prefer it not to be too windy on the Channel ... the Ferries are large enough to give a smooth crossing in most weather conditions but I'd prefer not to put my sealegs to the test!

Hedgehogs are on the decline in the UK so I'm very happy to feed those that come into our garden. They are very active little hogs and travel miles each night on food foraging routes. I love watching their antics - better than TV!

Keith said...

ASBO hedgehogs. Brilliant !

I wish I had hedgehogs as I am plagued with slugs and I am told they eat them.

Katherine Thomas said...

Oh my goodness! I've never seen a wild critter so up close and in one's domestic space like that! That's a little bit scary! Your photos are so clear and vivid!

Jo said...

That sounds like a hurricane you are describing. I have lived through a few of those.

Envy you being able to go to France for a day. Hope it was a good day.

sue said...

Hi Keith :-)
Well, they do eat slugs and beetles and other garden pests .. .but not if they are stuffed full of cat food so I try to keep a good balance where they can get extra food near hibernation time, but don't forget how to forage for themselves.

They mustn't have fish based foods, just meat in jelly (not gravy). They can have mild cheese and raw mince beef. They also like fruit so I buy cheap raisins to feed them. Fussy little critturs but they really are entertaining!

sue said...

Thanks Katherine ... these were taken at night with flash camera so they aren't as clear as I'd like but hedgehogs are nocturnal.
They are 'good' wild creatures but numbers are declining as they get killed on the roads and their preferred habitats are disappearing as people make their gardens too tidy and replace foliage with decking and paving stones.

sue said...

Had a great trip to France Jo. We get some very cheap deals on the Ferry. £24 for the two of us and we were given 3 free bottles of wine and a 'bogoff' lunch - Buy one Get One Free. So in fact it cost us around 6 for the crossing. We've stocked up on enough wine to see us through till February - at prices half those we'd pay in the UK!!

We left home at 10.30am and were back indoors at 7.30pm. Not bad eh??

Jo said...

Not bad at all. Where did you go, Calais? Used to know some cafe owners there, good friends, but many years ago. Last time we were in the UK we thought the wine was pretty reasonable anyway, so it must really be cheap in France.

sue said...

Yep, Calais this trip although sometimes we go Dunkirk (depends which shipping line gives best deals)
The Ferry crossing is 1½ hours. If we go via EuroTunnel the crossing is just 40 minutes but is normally not competitive pricewise.

Cheapest (drinkable) supermarket wine is approx £4-£5 per bottle. In France we get same quality for £2 per bottle so buy that for private consumption at home and a few cases of better quality wine for when we entertain or just fancy something 'nicer' LOL.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i love hedgehogs :D always wanted one as a pet

i wish we could put food out for them here, i know there are a few around even being so close to the road, but there are way too many cats in the area :/

Jo said...

That is cheap. We pay about $10-$12 for drinkables and $19-$22 for specials. There are much pricier ones of course, but....

Don't think I've ever been to Dunkirk and never been through the Channel Tunnel, they hadn't built it when we left.