So now there are two hedgehog houses, one for eating and one for sleeping quarters. Sleeping hedgehogs. Whatever.
But the houses are in the backyard, which is safely separated from the street by some steps and a fence, and has lots of hiding places, while the hedgehogs are in the flowerbed in front, which is separated from the street by just a fence and a sidewalk, but does offer optimal hiding places as said flowerbed consists of a couple climbing roses and otherwise a massive thicket of helianthus (“Caution: May Spread” the label on the trays of young plants said, when I bought them a couple years ago). Hedgehogs live in a burrow in the midst of the thickest part of the thicket. First there were three babies we saw when we lured them out with food, then last time only two, so we were thinking, maybe move them into the backyard when we can catch all of them at the same time, so’s they don’t wander out into the street and get squarshed or over next door and get eaten by the German Shepherd who barks all the time and was barking last night, my wife said, as if he’d a mouthful of quills.
The mother meanwhile commutes regularly between their burrow and the backyard where she chills in the eating house. They saw her fall off a ladder two days ago on her way to the backyard so they made me make a ramp for her, long slat of wood onto which I nailed leftover asphalt roofing for the non-skid effect.
Then, though, last night I get ready to go somewhere… oh yeah, to this party to pick up Beta, and there was the biggest of the babies, a male I guess, trying to figure out how to get under the gate to run out to the street and get squarshed. And we saw another one too so we decided to implement the relocation plan, and my wife gave me some gloves (to avoid getting my scent onto the babies in case mother hedgehogs abandon babies with human scent on them, who knows?) and I moved him – he rolled up into a ball and I put him in the hay in the sleeping house. Then I moved his slightly smaller sibling. Then my wife said she heard another one rustling about in the helianthus (this was at 9.45 at night and nearly dark, but for a bit of light from a distant streetlight) and I found it, and then a fourth one we hadn’t known about, much smaller than the others: the Usual Runt. As light, curled up there in my gloved hands, as a pinecone.
So now there are four young hedgehogs balled up in the straw in the sleeping house. I put a dish of food in there with them, to incline them to stay. Later that night I removed it again, as my wife feared it would attract rats. It was empty by then and although dark something was still in the house because it growled at me as hedgehogs do (sort of a hiss, with some abrupt motion as hedgehogs when threatened either curl up into a ball or make a little jumping motion to poke you with their quills). So something was in there, maybe the mother had found them. I moved the ramp so it would be harder for the young to wander into the street.
I checked again this morning, briefly so as not to harass them too much, and hedgehogs were in there. Could have been the mother snuggling with them, but it was hard to say where one began and the other ended, just a mass of quills there down in the straw.