This year we have been blessed by the presence of some hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus in our garden in France.
I have seen them on odd occasions several times in the past, but not that often. This year we have had a group of young ones, we have seen up to 3 at one time but as they only showed themselves at night time we are not sure how many were present. I suspect it was more than three, as we could here lots of rustling from other parts of the hedge at the same time as being able to see the one two or three that had emerged from the hedge.
They were only babies, and I wonder if they will survive the winter as they were quite small and need to grow and accumulate reserves quite quickly before winter sets in. In order to help them out a bit we did purchase some dog food and set out little morsels of it, they did eat some but did not seem to finish what was on offer. However all was gone by the morning, so they might have returned later, or more likely the local cats eat it.
Hedgehogs have between 4 to 6 young but as many as 10 are possible. They live for about 3/4 years but can live as long as 10 years. Although their numbers have declined significantly in Britain, their numbers are supposed to be stable in the rest of Europe.
We hear all sorts of noises in the garden at night, and have over the years seen several different animals, most common have been the Edible dormice but we also have seen Beech martens and Garden dormice, along with various mice voles and rats.
In order to get the photos I used my 100 to 400 mm telephoto but at 100mm and used the flash from the camera, hand held. They were then tweaked a bit to brighten them up and alter the colour balance…. but not too much.