Buffy lives in our garden, summer 2015.
In fact Buffy's hiding place under the firewood-shed was discovered by Marta from Latvia during their visit.
Our cats Sophie and Evey found it OK to share some cat -food.
We built a hedgehog radar in order to meet Buffy more often.
The sensor was placed here.
*NB There is more technical stuff when you click the picture*
First time radar-assisted meeting.
Buffy is quite small compared to some of the other Hedgehogs we have seen in the neighbourhood, and she has a scar just above her right rear leg.
Buffy likes cat-food better then guinuea-pig food!
There is cat-food with guinea-pig food on top of it, but she digs down to the catfood.
can she be tamed? Sophie likes her already.
18 september: after dark the alarm went many times and we saw at least one baby!!
Next day the babies even came out at daytime. They were so tiny and could hardly walk.
Evey horrified one of the most courageous babies, but found out that it couldn't be a mouse because it had spikes..
So cute! There are 4 of them, and anytime Buffy went outside to eat they started investigating all directions.
Sometimes Buffy picks a leaf on her way back from the food-place to the nest, so we gave her some hay that she could use for her nest, but she was not interested.
In the background a baby is heading towards her. The other 3 are everywhere else.
baby checks why it smells so good.
Buffy went inside and collected the kids on her way, but this one tried to eat the food like her mother did.
That was a very funny sight because the little kid could not chew the hard catfood, and was generally not good at anything yet..XD
Finally it returned home and halfway it gave a loud screak-sound before it ran back to the nest.
21 september: baby 2 and 3 came very close!
nr.2 goes very close to Mattias
and now nr.3 also
In the evening after 20:00, the kids really went far away! Both in the middle of the grass and along the hedge.
One of them went nearly to the end of the garden and then turned right and went to the neighbours garden.
Not so clever for a baby that has learned to walk a few days ago, still drinks its mothers milk and often stumbles over a little branch...
Some of them screaked but Buffy didnt seem to be so worried.
We gave up trying to keep track of them.
22 september: We saw 3 babies so hopefully they are all back.
The babies have now also learned to drink water.
In the evening after 20:00, the kids went even further away, on their own!
And Buffy went off several houses away, got disturbed by a cat and "froze" in the middle of a path where people couldn't really see her in the dark.
A hedgehog's life can be quite dangerous!
23 september: During the day we concluded that there probably were 5 babies, because there was one that was smaller than the others. Also, this one behaved like the others did the first day they were outside the nest. It even wanted to taste Mattias's leg.
In the evening, the babies were all over the garden. Nr.4 was fighting with a snail as if he wanted to smear off all the snail-slime before eating it.
We had to warn the neighbours to watch out, because they are not easy to see in the dark and before you know it you walk over them...
Mattias could touch them without problems. Nr.4 even wanted to bite his finger.
24 september: Now we finally saw all 5 babies simultaneously!
The small one to the right that tries to chew catfood is nr.5
We gave them some dried mealworms because the catfood still is to hard for the babies, but they don't like it!
Only nr.4 ate a few.
And bought some soft kitten-food with chicken. But they didn't like that. Only nr.5 tried to taste it.
...So the solution was to smash the cat-food into smaller pieces, so the poor babies didn't have to chew so much..
In the evening around 20:00 they were all over the place again, and even one in the garage.
But it seemed as if they were a bit more afraid than yesterday.
Also Buffy reacted as if she tried to teach them something about dangers?
But the next day one of the neighbours came with nr.4 that had been trapped after it had fallen down their basement-stairs!!!.
So we made a little info-flyer that we distributed to all houses with basements in the neighbourhood.
27 september: The kids are now a bit more cautious.
They also have learned walking along the edge instead of just crossing the grass.
3 october: They still come out a few times during the day.
We picked up one of the smallest, in order to measure the weight.
It was not afraid at all, and didn't bother to ball up.
Weight: Only 182 grams!! They should weight at least 500gr to survive hibernation.
A good leaflet describing this can be found here: www.rspca.org
We also gave them sunflower-seeds, but they didn't eat those.
4 october: It would be a good idea to build some shelters for the poor kids. Then they don't have to build it themselves, and could concentrate on eating!
Some hints about the shelter size can be found e.g. here: www.britishhedgehogs.org
The following pictures show a 40x40cm shelter that was built into our woodpile along the garage wall:
The arrow shows the entrance, with a corridor so the wind cannot blow in directly.
The dotted arrow shows a shelter possibility that would be a BAD idea, because this side is north and there is not much room for isolation.
5 october: Buffy and also the kids still come out some times during the afternoon for eating. Usually starting at around 16:00.
But Magpies (terrible killer birds!) often come around and eat all their food, and also some neighbour cats eat it, so we placed a tunnel that was big enough for the babies but to narrow for the magpies or cats. The tunnel-openings on both ends were 9cm wide and 8cm high.
Funny enough, even Buffy could eat from the tunnel.
6 october: We bought some crushed peanuts and also some different type of jelly catfood.
After 20:00, while there were no birds and our cats were inside, we placed it outside close to the other food.
The result: Our babies didn't want to touch it!. Then there was an alien hedgehog (probably a big hoglet, at least twice the size of our own babies) that came along and ate all the jelly-catfood, and afterwards Sophie licked the bowl because it smelled nice!
Where did the intruder hedgehog come from? We tried to catch it in order to weight it plus to tell it that it should stay away from our own small babies' food, but it succeeded to escape.
We moved the radar-sensor from the nest to the food, in order to detect both our own family and intruders.
NB This results in a lot of detector-alerts in the evening from dusk to midnight.
7 october: We built one more shelter, 40x30cm and 20cm high.
The entrance is 10x10cm, in order to discourage big alien hedgehogs from occupying it.
9 october: Buffy and the babies really don't want to eat neither sunflower seeds, ragout catfood nor hacked peanuts!
They just walk right trough it and are only interested in the dry catfood.
This is problematic, since our dry catfood has 35% proteine but only 10% fat whereas e.g. peanuts have 47% fat.
10 october: We bought some dry kitten-catfood with 35% proteine and 23% fat (picture to the right). But it smells totally different.
We started out by making some mixes of the old and new dry-foods.
12 october: Now they have learned to eat the new catfood, also when mixed with hacked peanuts.
13 october: Many small birds have now discovered the hacked peanuts in the tunnel, so we made a bird feed-place in the opposite corner of the garden.
16 october: one of the babies was out for eating already 14:00, and we weighted it. Only 210 grams!
We consulted several hedgehog-help-forums but got several different or even opposite advices, between "you have to rescue them right away" and "they will be allright as long as the mother doesn't abandon them". Quite confusing!
17 october: In the evenings, it can be quite busy at the foodplace, so we made a second food-tunnel.
The size of the openings is 8cm high and 12cm wide. That turned out to be big enough even for 1kg hedgehogs!
26 october: Buffy is still around, and in the evenings there is a lot of activity so the kids have not left either. It is hard to tell how many and which one of the kids, but during daytime we always see at least nr 4 and 5, and often also a slightly bigger intruder.
28 october: last night the temperature was below 0 degrees C, and the kids are still very small, so we started being really worried.
We contacted pindsvin.dk hotline, and they told os that hedgehogs will loose approximately 300grams during winter and they will not gain weight if the temperature is below 10C, so we had to rescue all the babies otherwise they would be doomed.
So 16:00 we moved the radar back into the entrance of the nest, and were ready to catch the babies as soon as they would get out. We moved the bench and some other stuff, and mounted a big lamp in the tree so we could switch it on when we they would try to escape in the dark.
But that was easier said then done; after 1800 the babies nr.4 and probably nr.5 got out, but they were very fast and cautious, and nearly escaped to the neighbour garden. Only barricading the hedge to the neighbours with a long log helped us catch the poor kids.
They were placed in a guinea-pig cage with a lot of leaves and some food and water, but that stressed them very much because they could see the outside world but not get there. First when we moved them in a big wooden box where they couldn't look out, they started to relax.
We also caught another kid that didn't come out of Buffy's nest and also was slightly bigger than Buffy's babies and probably was the intruder that we had seen several times before. It weighted only 310 grams so we had to rescue that one as well. The other two babies were a bit afraid of the intruder so we gave it its own box.
After that we caught a really big fellow weighting 1100 grams, so we released it with a warning not to disturb our rescue campaign.
And then we waited quietly at a safe distance, patrolling the garden and monitoring the radar alarm....and it was quite cold..
22:00 there was still no sign of any other baby or even Buffy. Could it be that they had not been in the nest this afternoon? So we removed the barricades, moved the radar back to the food place and went inside the house to get some warmth. But we didn't spot any more hedgehog and that was very unusual because every day there used to be a lot of activity there after 22:00.
It was really stressing, so we didn't really take any interesting pictures of it. Where were Buffy and the missing 3 babies? We gave up approx. 23:30.
Next day 8:00 one of the missing babies was spotted at the food place, and we took it inside as well. It was only 210 grams!
Those 4 babies were adopted by a hedgehog-care centre.
Now they got real names; intruder baby turned out to be a girl and is now called Almira.
Buffy's babies got the following names: Marta (nr.4, a big healthy girl), Vincent (little healthy boy), Jane (little girl that was a bit ill and had to be treated with antibiotics).
We were still monitoring the radar at the food place for many days.
In the evenings Buffy still came around for a few days, and also another big hedgehog, but then it went really quiet.
They probably went off for hybernation, and we hope to see them again next year!
We still refresh the food and water at the foodplace, because hedgehogs tend to wake up once in a while and then they are really thirsty and hungry.