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Friday, 20 July 2012

Cruel nature

A little while ago I found a dead baby hedgehog in the garden. There are hedgehogs living here within the confines of the perimeter fence so presumably there is enough habitat here for them to survive. They are nocturnal but I know they are around by the poo on the lawn! So one dead one is sad but I didn't think that much of it, as these things happen, I guess.

But then a few days later my OH found a young one during the day under a conifer tree, which didn't appear very well. We decided to put out some wet cat food mixed with a bit of water in the hope that would help a bit. In fact my dear OH decided to help the little creature even further, as it was covered in flies, so he put it into a box with some sawdust, the food and a mesh over the top to keep out flies. We then observed it regularly (by this time he - or she - was called Herbie) and refreshed the food. It really didn't seem very active or much interested in eating so after a couple of days we decided to release it into a wild bit of the garden in the evening, as short of feeding it with a syringe we didn't see there was anything more we could do. Unfortunately the poor little thing died overnight. 

Now this is a bit more puzzling having two little hedgehogs die over the course of the last few weeks. It's certainly not been lack of moisture or lack of food as with all the rain this spring and summer so far there must be plenty of food for them in the wilds of the garden. I just hope it's not some disease that got them.

Herbie Hedgehog in his little box

Just prior to release.
A healthy hedgehog would have curled up into a protective ball.

Around the same time I noticed this out of the loo window one morning and rushed to get my camera! We don't see rabbits around this area ever and hares are rare. (I have posted these photos on both facebook and Google+ and the jury is out - it's 50/50 as to whether it is a rabbit or a leveret (young hare)). 

Bunny or Leveret?

To see one inside the garden was both a delight and a worry, from a gardening point of view! After having a sniff around the septic tank area it lolloped off out of view and seemed to disappear into the hedge.

Wonder if the violas taste good?

It does look more hare-y in this photo

So that was it for a few days until my OH went over the road to mow the orchard and discovered it dead and decomposing with its throat ripped out! Poor bunny/hare - on the one hand I am pleased if that means we won't be having a bunny problem in the garden, on the other of course it's a horrible way to go..... One also wonders what actually killed it yet didn't take its body away, which is a bit more surprising. 

Too many puzzles sometimes and nature can be quite cruel.

I don't like to end on a sad note so here's a couple of butterflies I have come across recently which are still managing to live and fly even though something has taken a good chunk out of the wings of one of them (bird maybe?) and the other had lost a fair amount of its wings somehow or other. Always sad seeing a tatty looking butterfly but they do manage to continue to fly and feed like this.

Peacock butterfly with interesting shaped missing chunks of wing,
which presumably happened whilst they were closed

Meadow Brown - it should have a fair bit more wing than this

I do have plenty of photos of intact butterflies which I'll be posting at some point as more and more are appearing in the garden now - and I get less and less gardening done because of it!


  1. Poor hedgiehoggy. Sounds like some kind of weird illness? I haven't seen any hedgehogs around here at all, and only a few rabbits (apart from the dead ones our mate brings round). Apparently our vanished ducklings could have been taken by crows. I knew they were evil, but not THAT evil.

    1. Or magpies, or woodpeckers, birds of prey, herons, all sorts of mammals .... anything can take chicks/ducklings so I think you're better off with an incubator and then try to keep them in a secure place until they are big enough!

      You may have hedgehogs but they normally only come out from dusk onwards and their poo is quite dark and recognisable (if you know what you are looking for!), but I guess you have enough poo there what with chooks and ducks and sheep and dogs and cats that you are probably not into going hog poo hunting! :-)