Sunday, 1 August 2010

Hedgehog Hot Love

Last night in the twilight at about 9.20pm, two hedgehogs, a boar and a sow, were under the arch of berberis and Jacob's figleaf in my back garden, snuffling and snorting for England! The sow, slightly the larger and darker of the two and certainly the noisier last night, was rebuffing the male's sexual approaches.

They were nose to nose, snuffling and thrusting; the sow occasionally backed away a few steps and the boar pretended to lose interest by studying the undergrowth. Not fooling anybody! He'd be lunging and wiffling again a few seconds later. The soundtrack to all this was like a gruff sneeze on an infinite loop.

Eventually, after twenty minutes of this noisy courtship, the female withdrew to the opposite border under the lilac tree and waited coquettishly by the strawberry patch. The boar had got the message by now, though, and soon trotted off at top speed down the length of the garden, through the lavatera arch and away beyond the garden shed along the far hedge where the ash tree whispered in the deepening darkness.

Left alone, reluctant Mrs Tiggywinkle shuffled off under the hedge into the neighbour's garden and into the night. Romeo and Juliet they aren't, but practice makes perfect.

Topped off a wonderful week of wildlife which has seen new broods of Long Tailed Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, young Great Spotted Woodpeckers (male yesterday, female visited today), Wrens, Blackbirds and Dunnocks all swarming round the feeders like humming birds on a mission!

Photos: Top is from the London Wildlife site (c) Richard Burkmar and bottom photo is from the site with thanks!

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