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Hurcheons

11. The Missing Piece Of The Jigsaw

Since posting ‘Bloodshed In Nynehead’ I found some clips which downloaded to the wrong folder. The camera I use is unreliable at the best of times; thus in the clips that follow ignore the date which should be April 19/20, not March 19/20 – which is how I came to miss them first time around. To view full screen click the 4-arrow sybol at lower right.

There are 5 consecutive relevant clips. Each clip is numbered on the ‘data’ strip and the time noted. The first clip [0017] shows a hedgehog entering the feeder uninjured at 23:24.

Two minutes later the next clip [0018] shows what I assume is the same animal emerging at 23:26 with an injured back, right leg. There is no clue on either video or audio [removed because of hum] as to what happened. No other animal is seen at this stage. Careful scrutiny of this video shows the hedgehog leaving a trail of faint footprints where none existed previously. [In reality, i.e. next morning, they were very obvious and clear.]

Six minutes later at 23:32 frame 0019 shows another hedgehog descending the steps recently mounted by the injured animal. They may well have passed eachother. This animal appears to inspect the bloodied footprints along the lintel before passing the large spillage of blood obscured by the water dish before entering the feeder which must have resembled a charnel house. It did next morning when I noticed it.

One minute later in frame 0020 the hedgehog emerges uninjured and passes out of shot at about 23:33.

The next two frames, not included here, were recorded about 2¼ hours later and show a male, in frame 0021, going up to the feeder, which it may briefly have entered, before turning around and, in frame 0022, exiting up the steps.

About half an hour after frame 0022 a possible culprit is recorded very briefly in frame 0023 at 02:15. It moves very fast and in two spectacular bounds vanishes up the steps. Blink and you’ll miss it. It was probably a weasel or a stoat. Both can kill bigger animals than hedgehogs e.g. rabbits, but whether they would tackle a hedgehog I don’t know. Whatever the animal was, it cannot have materialised out of thin air as suggested by the sluggish response of the camera, which only just captured its flight up the steps. In case you miss it first time round I have reversed its movement and replayed it.

Given the time-lag, i.e. about 2¾ hours after the initial blood letting, whatever the animal was it might have been attracted by the smell of blood rather than the cause of its shedding, as blood was still present in copious quantities several hours later. There are mice that live under and around the feeder which would be natural quarry for mustelids. Generally mice are seen to avoid hedgehogs, but had one been caught shortly before the arrival of the hedgehog in frame 0017 who knows what sort of bad tempered exchange might have taken place.