Following on from Part One and Part Two, here is the eagerly awaited Part Three! The three hedgehogs had gained weight and the weather had finally settled. It was time to release the hogs. First of all I prepared three igloos, in addition to the one that was already out, so that they would have ready made beds. I placed them in sheltered parts of the garden.
I then gave them a final weigh-in and their final portraits as captives. Daisy-Boy.
As night fell, I undid the front panel and raised it to hedgehog height before re-securing it and moving the stones away from one corner. It took a little while for their escape route to be noticed, typically they missed the big gap in the corner and squeezed over some remaining stones. Daisy-Boy was the first to notice and pushed most of his body out. Hans came up behind him and with an unkind punt to the butt Daisy-B was free!
Daisy-B ran straight to a wood pile at the back of the garden. Shortly afterwards there were crunching sounds. It seems he had found some tasty beetles.
Then Daisy-B reappeared on the path as if to say a final goodbye.
He shook his spines and then ran off again to the lilac bush.
Hans was the next one out. He spent a little while wondering why Daisy-B had mysteriously disappeared before it dawned on him. He squeezed under the panel and then cautiously sniffed around before disappearing under the ivy covered walls, still within the confines of the old greenhouse.
Frankly I got bored waiting for Hérisson and went in for my tea. When I returned a little later she was missing from the pen, but there was that familiar huffing noise. I found her and Hans in the ivy between the pen and the wall.
Later on I found Hans wandering on the path before he disappeared into the wood pile that Daisy-B had located straight away.
In the undergrowth under the lilac bush was Hérisson.
In the wee small hours Hérisson returned to the pen and went to bed in the house, less cosy but now more roomy without the boys. Hans and Daisy-Boy were sleeping in new beds that day. I have put a short film on You Tube here of the three hedgehogs finding their way out of the pen and Hérisson returning to it.
Hérisson continued to return to the pen and sleep in the house every morning for over a week. She seems to have found a new place to stay now though.
Hans was spotted having a huffing contest with the big hog in the shrubbery. I also spotted him trotting along the path on another night.
I did not see Daisy-B for about a week, but then we bumped into each other near the feeding station. The wildlife camera caught Hans and the big hog from the shrubbery going into the pen for food most nights. I had to keep extending the tunnel into the pen to deter cats from breaking in to steal their food. Although by the time the mouse had found a way in, Hans had scoffed most of the food. I have posted a video here of some of their comings and goings.
So here we are, three autumn juveniles who probably would not have survived hibernation are now roaming around wild and free. Hedgehogs face many hazards trying to find enough food and water throughout our fenced off gardens; netting, ponds, strimmers to name just a few. If you want to find out how you can help hedgehogs take a look at the Hedgehog Street website. And please do support your local rescue. I know how time consuming and expensive it has been for me to just provide bed and board for three healthy hedgehogs. Rescues are self-funded and rely on generous donations while they care for sick and injured hedgehogs.
I am very grateful for the advice and support I have had from kind and knowledgable people on Twitter. If you use the hashtag #pricklypals you will find a truly lovely group of people. I would particularly like to thank the following, who all have links to websites or Amazon wishlists so you can find out more and buy a hedgehog in need a little something:
Monique @FunnybunnyQ Amazon Wishlist
Emma @EmmDonald representing Poppy’s Creche
Jaqui @4theloveofhogs Amazon Wishlist
@OgglesHoggyQuiz Amazon Wishlist