I have been putting out apples to feed the blackbirds and in the hope of attracting redwings or fieldfares, both of which have been visiting the garden this past week. I noticed that apples uneaten by evening had disappeared by the following morning. Intrigued, I set up a camera trap and was amazed to see that the culprit was a hungry hedgehog. The next two photos show it had eaten two apples on Monday night.
I thought hedgehogs shouldn't be out in freezing weather in January and after my previous experience I assumed it must be either underweight or sick. However, St Tiggywinkles and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society both suggest that seeing them out at this time of year isn't all that unusual. I think all I can do is to feed it, so on Tuesday night I put out peanuts, suet and dried mealworms which it seems to prefer to the apples. The temperature overnight was close to freezing.
Last night I put out some water and a mixture of Sainsbury's cat biscuits (I didn't even know there were cat biscuits), dried mealworms, sultanas and peanuts which seemed to go down very well! The camera took only one photo of the hedgehog but I can now judge its size relative to the dishes so I don't think it is small. Maybe if the weather isn't too cold in the next few weeks it will have a good chance of surviving the winter.
So now I'm feeding the birds, and the fox, and the pheasant and the hedgehog. Word gets around.