I think he has been visiting our garden most nights, not always seen by us. Unfortunately for him, his arrival last night coincided with a visit from a local fox.
Our garden is on two levels – a raised patio near the house, with steps down to the main part of the garden, which is a lawn surrounded by flowerbeds. The hedgehog always visits the top part of the garden – he arrives from next door, and goes back the same way. But last night, he ended up on the lawn. I didn’t see exactly how he got there, but I am confident the fox had something to do with it.
I had looked out a few minutes earlier and seen both the fox and the hedgehog on the patio, which was an unusual sight. It didn’t occur to me that the hedgehog was in danger – I would have thought with their spikes they could defend themselves very well against a fox. But a few minutes later I looked out again and saw the hedgehog was now on the lawn – somewhere he could not easily reach under his own steam. And the fox was running around the garden. The fox left, and I went out to check on the hedgehog, expecting the worst. But he didn’t seem to be injured – he stayed still for a few minutes, and then quickly disappeared into the flowerbed.
But this means he is now most likely stuck in the lower part of our garden. It’s not a bad place for a hedgehog – with plenty of vegetation, places to hide, and slugs. But it’s not really big enough to be his entire world, and he seemed to have such a set routine that I expect the change in environment will be a bit of a shock. So this evening we’ll be seeing what we can do in terms of providing him with an escape route. We already have a little ramp of sorts, which we set up when we first saw him. If he finds that, it will take him back up to the patio, and from there he can get back to his usual route.
And so it seems that having a hedgehog visit our garden has turned into a full time job – but we’re certainly willing to do whatever we can to help keep him safe and happy.
(By the way, I didn’t take any pictures of the events last night, so this photo shows a fox detail on the side of a building from a recent open gardens event I attended.)