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Home Forums Champions’ chat I’ve missed them! Reply To: I’ve missed them!

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Hi tin tin

You can’t reliably tell male from female by size. Some females are bigger than some males.

Males have a ‘blob’ roughly mid abdomen, which can sometimes look a bit like a fifth appendage. They sometimes conveniently scratch in front of cameras. So if one scratches and there’s a ‘blob’ there roughly mid abdomen it’s a male. If one is particularly furry underneath you can’t always see for certain. You can also sometimes see underneath them on video, especially if they get up on their legs a bit.

You might get the opportunity to tell from their behaviour. The males circle the females during ‘courtship’ whilst the female is in within the ‘circle’ and turns round and round, huffing as she goes, so that her face is roughly facing his and he is unable to get to the rear of her. This circling and huffing can continue for hours. It sometimes makes you wonder how they ever manage to produce any hoglets with all the time they waste circling!

You might have seen some of this behaviour on Alanfrew’s videos. Some of the females there are youngsters and so not behaving in the way a more mature female would.

Mature females often start the circling process with a pitter patter of their feet (sometimes described as looking a bit like jig) and tend to go backwards. They huff at the same time, usually in time to the jigging. You can often hear the huffing from a fair way off and that is the sound people often used to hear before ever seeing any hogs, and wonder what what on earth it was.

The males tend to be more aggressive and roll each other up if they meet. They don’t normally roll up a female except very rarely, seemingly by mistake. The females might on occasion nudge males or other females, but not usually anywhere near as roughly as the males will.

The males tend to return from hibernation earlier than the females, so that you might find that all those around so far are males.

Re. the food. You will probably find the hogs will eat the food if they’re hungry. I tend to use kitten biscuits and hog food. But you could end up with as many answers as there are different cat foods! Don’t forget to leave water available all day every day. Very important.

Good luck and happy hog watching.