We first saw him in April, and then hadn’t seen him since. But this week, I was in the kitchen at dusk and saw a little shadowy creature shuffle across the patio.
He didn’t set the security light off (I think he’s too small for that), but I watched him for a while in the dark (I wish my night vision was better!). After his last visit, I’d done some reading on what hedgehogs like to eat (and what’s good for them), and had bought a little tin of rather fancy chicken flavoured cat food as a result. The tin has been sitting in our cupboards for months, just in case he came back, and I was really pleased to get the chance to put some on a plate and sneak out there to leave it for him to find.
We saw him walk around for a good while, going back and forth around the patio, but mostly staying close to the edges (for safety, I assume). I didn’t actually see him eat the food – in the morning, it was all gone, but there are a lot of cats round here, in addition to the occasional fox, so it could have been any of them.
On Saturday night he visited again, and I watched him carefully to see what he got up to. Armed with that information, just before it got dark last night, I put out a saucer of water and another of cat food, in the spot he’d spent the most time in. Sure enough, just before 10pm, he walked across the patio and went straight to the saucer with water in. He had a drink, and then a little of the food, and then as he moved on he walked over the saucers and spilled the water.
Shortly after that, the cat from next door arrived, and the light came on. I opened the door to shoo the cat away, and since the patio was now illuminated, I snapped a few pictures of the hedgehog as he sat quietly in the corner (larger version on Flickr).
In all, he was in our garden for about 40 minutes – he headed off in the same direction from which he’d arrived. I’m already looking forward to this evening, to see if he’ll be visiting us again.