Readers of this blog will know that I constructed an ‘uber-Hedgehog table’ in our back garden earlier in the year. Unfortunately, there was never any evidence that it was used, and I felt just a little hard-done-by when our next-door neighbour recently informed us that she had found a Hedgehog under some leaves on the other side of our fence!
After lunch today, Carole and I spent an hour or so in the back garden picking up the leaves that had fallen. If you look on the left-hand-side of this photograph, you will see a pile of leaves that I have deliberately built up.
That is because I discovered this Hedgehog nest as I cleared the leaves away. It’s a fairly substantial pile of stems and leaves and it was pretty obvious that it was the winter hibernaculum where the occupant would spend the next five or six months in a deep sleep.
I carefully peeled the outer layers away, and could feel the heat even before revealing this good-sized individual. It moved a little which, together with the heat, suggests that it is still fairly active, but it won’t be long before its body temperature drops to the rate of its surroundings, 4 degrees C being the ideal. At that temperature, its heart beat will slow from about 147 beats per minute to an amazing 2-12 beats per minute. I didn’t want to disturb it any more and so quickly replaced the vegetation.