The first new photo I posted to Flickr in 2004 (as opposed to photos taken prior to signing up to Flickr) was of a hedgehog I found in the garden. I mention this because I don't think I've seen a hedgehog in my garden since, until this week.
Yes, we have hedgehog. Singular right now, but you never know.
For two nights in a row we've stumbled upon this little dude while going out to give the rabbits their evening feed so I think he's a regular. Tonight I fed him some slugs from the compost bin and he liked them a lot. I also left a bowl of water out because it's still quite warm.
What's particularly cool about this is we are out in the garden at night quite a lot. The rabbits, you see. So if hedgehogs were a regular thing we'd definitely have seen one by now. This is new, and probably means we have a hole in the fence, so now we have to find that and try and make it the right size that hedgehogs can get through but rabbits can't. Because it's important that the hedgehog can commute around their 1km2 patch.
We live in terraced suburbia and while the area of adjoining gardens is pretty large it is effectively an island surrounded by roads, so I don't think the hedgehogs can easily get to, say, the park or the river. But there are plenty of trees and bottoms of long gardens to live in. I'm sure they're as fine as can be expected.
But hedgehogs are in decline in the UK, particularly in the countryside, so anything we can do to help is a good thing. Did I mention they eat slugs? Much more useful than the idiot grey squirrels.
It's all very exciting, which means I've been reading up on what to do with hedgehogs. Here's some articles and resources.
Apocalypse hedgehog: the fight to save Britain's favourite mammal
Hedgehogs in the garden - RSPCA advice
British Hedgehog Preservation Society