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3 hedgehogs in one nesting box

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings 3 hedgehogs in one nesting box

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    I have two cameras in my garden, currently one is focused on a hedgehog house and one on the feeding station. I can see that 3 hedgehogs leave the house during the evening and 3 return early in the mornings, none of which are hoglets and I am guessing, from the behaviour, one male and 2 females. The male has spent many minutes courting one of the females but on camera she always rebuffs him, he meanwhile fights any other suitor coming in to the garden. There are frequent scuffles, a lot of shoving and I have watched him wander away as though he is the victor, and then run at the rolled up frozen opponent and charge again, he does this if another male comes in to pursue a female or to feed. He applies the same tactics when he is pursuing his would be mate, when she won’t accept his advances he moves away as though he has given up and then comes running back beginning the courtship all over again.

    The hedgehogs are active any time from about 8.30 pm to 5 am and it’s almost impossible to count the number of visitors, during one evening I counted 13 going out of my garden and only 2 coming back in, this was under the garden gate, they also use a hole under the fence which I was not observing.

    I feel almost desperate to clean out the house, but as far as I can see it is in constant use, I occasionally put hay outside and it quickly disappears, when I did once lift the lid the house was so full of hay and leaves it was impossible to see who was inside and I am reluctant to open the lid again. I haven’t been able to clean inside for several months. I do have another house a little further away and there does appear to be a solitary hedgehog in this one.

    I am hoping there will be hoglets, but can’t imagine a female giving birth when there are 3 adults in the box. Not that I have seen any actual sexual activity other than frequent courtship which might suggest any hoglets are on the way. I have seen one of the three collecting up more leaves to add to the nest, and I did see one of them out during the day feeding. I guess the next few weeks will be interesting.

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    Hi I.i.lewis

    Sounds like you need another hog box! I agree it seems unlikely a female would give birth with 3 hogs in a box. They may have been fairly young hogs (even though no longer hoglets) who were overwintered together and have continued to share once they were released. (Apparently hoglets being over-wintered in captivity – because they were underweight – find it less stressful if they share accomodation).

    But if you get another hog house, they might move into that one instead and give you the chance to clean the other one out. But if there is the possibility of hoglets be sure the house is not occupied before opening.

    Hogs will make several visits a night to feeding areas, so that may explain the various comings and goings. But also, cameras are not totally reliable re. checking numbers of comings and goings – there is always a gap between clips when a hog can sneak past. They can be surprisingly fast when they want to be!

    It’s lovely that you have so much activity there to watch and fingers crossed for some hoglets (one way or another!).

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