Badgers! Lovely animals in their own right, but not only will they, on occasion, eat hedgehogs, (although I don’t believe they are a preferred prey source) but they also compete with hedgehogs for much of what they eat – earthworms, etc. For these reasons, I understand, they often don’t share the same areas to live in. It might, partly, explain why the visiting hedgehog numbers fluctuate so much there, with the hedgehogs potentially having to run the gauntlet with the badgers. If the badgers are new to the area, you might find the hedgehogs gradually move out, but if they have been there for ages, it may be that they have reached some sort of balance. I’m not so sure I, personally, would be so keen to get to know individual hogs so well with badgers around, though.
It sounds a lovely place there with all those animals visiting.
I think, you are, perhaps, getting frustrated too soon at the number of visits. Some people only have one or two hogs visiting or none at all. In addition to the badgers, the numbers of visits may be fluctuating because it is a bit of a funny time of year. Here I find some of the regular male visitors have disappeared and others, are turning up. Some of the girls have also been missing. I hope this is something to do with hoglets, but with hogs you never can tell.
I have my camera set for 20 second videos. I found it was getting too irritating when you could see something was about to happen and the 10 seconds ran out. Still lots gets missed – I know that because for part of the time I am actually watching as well. I often think ‘I hope the camera caught that’ but usually find it hasn’t! There have been loads videos of rear ends of hogs just disappearing and many with nothing on them, which I suspect might have been a slightly speedier hog. I don’t know much about cameras – I opted for cheap ones, which may have been a false economy as one of them has just packed up!
You will find that there are many questions about hogs that there may not be definitive answers for. But, here last year, most of the males had drifted away by mid- September and there was mostly only one younger chap who carried on visiting most nights for the rest of the month. Most males are thought to hibernate earlier than the females. They don’t have the hoglets to bring up! Also the males tend to return earlier in the Spring. This gives them an opportunity to put on a bit of weight before the females come back and they start tearing around trying to find them, and all the circling, etc. Obviously some males hang around later because there are sometimes very late hoglets. In Pat Morris’s book ‘Hedgehogs’ he says ‘…. the hedgehogs breeding season lasts from about April until September. ‘ But also ‘ ….Many females still fail to become pregnant, even after several matings, and a fair proportion may escape becoming pregnant altogether.’ With it taking roughly 9 – 10 weeks from gestation to independence (if I have worked it out right!) they pretty much don’t really want to be getting pregnant much later than now if the hoglets are to have plenty of time to put on enough weight to survive hibernation.
Pregnant female hedgehogs certainly aren’t as obvious as with horses. I thought one of the female visitors here was looking rather portly a few weeks ago and, I like to think, that she now looks a bit sleeker, but that may be wishful thinking. It isn’t always easy to tell – with hogs sometimes looking wider or narrower from one minute to the next. I think they usually do look a bit rounder, but they also look rounder, getting towards hibernation time.
I hope some of this helps.