It's been a good autumn for Hedgehog sightings from 5 different local reporters. Hedgehogs are one of our most familiar and well liked British mammals. Often seen as 'gardener's friends' with their diet of insects, slugs and caterpillars. Their numbers appear to have declined in recent years. The Sandford Heritage Wildlife Group does not know if they are present in any numbers in Sandford. We are delighted that reports have come in over the last few months so we are a step closer to finding out.
Richard Mann was up early to report a hedgehog in his garden in Filleul Road at 5.30 am on 14th August. Dylan and Eden were able to take a photo of a hedgehog they found in Tyneham Close around 8.40pm at night on Friday 21 September following up their sighting earlier in the week.
Hedgehog on the grass verge in Tyneham Close taken by Eden.
Gary Straw also reported a family of hedgehogs in Sandford Terrace the same week. Sadly in late October a dead adult was seen on the edge of the pavement in Rowan Close. As John Wright's information on Hedgehogs says they will roll up as a defensive mechanism against foxes and badgers but this is fatal when encountering a car.
In mid November around 2.55pm Eli and I were delighted to see a small adult or nearly mature hoglet cross Maple Close and pavement yards in front of us and head into a garden. Later in the Autumn Tina Kemp reports a hedgehog regularly in her garden in Rowan Close and also sent in a photograph.
Tina's Hedgehog in Rowan Close.
Hedgehogs can 'do the rounds' and a regular visitor may be a series of hedgehogs!
If you want to attract wildlife to your garden leave wild areas and avoid tidying up too much. Hedgehogs tend to hibernate between November and mid March and may choose the stack of leaves or branches in your garden. Be careful if you later tidy up piles of leaves left for a while to burn as a hedgehog may be sheltering or hibernating in it. They like to nest under things such as sheds or hedges and they need plenty of dry leaves to build their nest.
Compost heaps and piles of leaves are also great for "thermo-regulation" of reptiles. Richard Mann, becoming a regular contributor, reports that in the late afternoon of 12 August he spotted a slow worm about 2-3 feet off the ground on a bush. The Lagdens saw on 2 different times a slow worm on the peelings in their composter. Who knows if this is the same slow worm or 2 different ones - perhaps a closer look next time!
All of our 'Wildlife Survey 5' have winter survival strategies as food supplies dwindle and temperatures get colder. Hedgehogs find a pile of leaves or even compost heap and hibernate, Common Frogs and Common Toads make use of piles of leaves, Sand lizards will hibernate in burrows underground and Glow Worms become more and more lethargic as thier food source of snails decrease and remaining snails seal themselves up with hard mucus. Glow worms have a kind of hibernation. Again piles of leaves are important or they concertina thier bodies up under logs or stones.
If you disturb any hibernating animal put the cover back and leave it be. Adult Hedgehogs can come out and return to hibernation without much help other than a saucer of water. Lena Ward has contributed some examples of hedgehog scrapes and droppings to guide possible other signs of our garden friends to report. When is the last sighting in Winter and the first of the spring?
Shiela Watters reports a white or possibly albino deer sighted near the Admiralty. Has anyone else spotted this deer?
The Garden Wildlife Survey 5 are Hedgehog, Slow Worm, Sand Lizard, Glow Worm, Common Frog and Common Toad but any wildlife reports are of interest. Please keep emailing in your wildlife reports. What, where, when(date and time of day), for hedgehogs any droppings, courtings, young or mature and it it is of interest when the last sighting of winter and the first in spring occurs. If you are lucky to get any photos or videos send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text researched from, and further information available www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk; www.glowworms.org.uk/ (John Tyler).