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Home Forums Hedgehog tales Poo Reply To: Poo

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Hi Mags63

I have also noticed that i.e. when I have only had one hog visiting – in particular, hogs over-wintering, at different times males and females (so no difference between male/female) – that there was never any poo around the food area. But when there are multiple hogs around there is much more likely to be poo around. Video images also seem to be more likely to show a hog pooing if there were other hogs around.

So, whilst, as you say, hogs are not territorial, and so thinking it may not be anything to do with that, (I imagine there would be no need to have scenting rituals without being territorial) I have wondered in the past if there is an element of stress involved – causing them to poo when other hogs are around. In the normal course of events hogs would not congregate at the same place, unless it was a courting pair of hogs (or hoglets). So we are, in effect, encouraging them to behave in a way which is not natural to them. So it wouldn’t be surprising (to me, anyway) if they were a bit stressed by multiple hogs being around. Males could potentially be about to be biffed and females about to be pursued by a male, when actually she might have been wanting to eat.

I have seen the preponderance of hog poo around feeding stations being suggested to be something to do with the fast gut transit of hogs, but that wouldn’t explain why, when there is only a solitary hog visiting (or one hog at a time), there is often no poo at all left at feeding stations. Hence my wondering about stress. I don’t mean hugely stressed, but maybe just enough to bring on a poo.

Thinking whilst writing, I suppose it’s possible, that the poos may give other hedgehogs some indication of the health of the hog (like a bit of a signpost) – for instance whether a female would be a good potential mother to a male hog’s offspring (or the other way round). Although that seems a bit of a stretch when hogs seem to be fairly promiscuous – females are known to mate with more than one male on the same night and the males seem to follow almost any adult female they meet, if they aren’t rolled up by another male. I can’t immediately think of any other advantage and if that was the reason, male hogs normally show who is most dominant by rolling up the hogs which are les dominant – so if female hogs wanted to mate with the most dominant hog they would be able to tell that way.

I don’t suppose we’ll ever know for sure! Hogs seem to be good at keeping little secrets from us! It’s part of their mystery. But my observations seem to fit in with those of yours and your sisters.