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Biting ?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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    Hi, on the camera film from last night I saw what looked like two hogs having a fight . There’s one large male hog and one much smaller one who regularly feed and nap in the garden. Up till now the fights have mainly been Mr Big pushing the wee one who curls up until he stops pushing and wanders off. The wee one then uncurls and carries on sniffing around.

    Last night just at the corner of the camera view , it looked like the wee one was being dragged along by its face/head by the big one ! Is it possible that Mr Big would bite the wee one and pull at it like that ? I’m hoping the wee one wasn’t injured . I’ve never seen anything like that before !


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    Hi Gr8mums

    It’s very difficult to see exactly what is happening, especially when it’s at the corner of the view, but hogs do sometimes fight more ferociously than the usual biffing – which can appear aggressive in itself, at times.

    Here I found that there was a definite biffing order and I could pretty much predict which hog would end up rolling up which other one. They all seemed to know their place and certain ones would be rolled up by the more dominant ones, but then go on to roll up less dominant ones themselves.

    This all changed when hogs in the area started being marked by someone. Whether this was by coinicidence or otherwise, hogs started having full out fights, with some hogs being shaken like a terrier shaking a rat. i.e. hogs which would formerly have given in and rolled up, didn’t and fought back. It is logical to wonder whether this could have been because the hogs no longer recognised the smell of the other hogs (i.e. did not recognise the individual) so did not know where they came in the biffing order. Of course it could have been that certain hogs felt like challenging the existing order of dominance, but interesting that it happened after hogs had been marked, when for several years previously, when they weren’t marked, it hadn’t happened.

    But, basically, they do sometimes fight very ferociously. I never found that any of the hogs here had been injured, i.e. flesh wounds that I could see, but suppose, it is possible. In the normal course of events, you would expect the small one to give in and roll up, but if it didn’t the larger one may have felt it needed to take more extreme action.

    I hope they manage to settle their differences, or turn up at different times.


    Thanks Nic, I hope it wasn’t what it looked like !

    Having another look through the footage, there’s actually three hogs. Two wee ones who get on fine with each other, even sharing a food bowl together (I think they are the hoglets we had in the garden last year ) and one big bully boss hog . Another clip showed the two wee ones eating out the bowl together until Mr Big appeared and charged them both , both wee ones rolled up and the big one then charged into the food bowl and tipped it up. He really is a grump !

    A couple of times I’ve seen one of the hogs in the water dish, wonder if he likes a bath ?


    Three of them have appeared again tonight about 8.40pm. Mr Big was fist up, followed by the two wee ones later on.

    I’ve put three bowls out tonight, one inside the feeding box and two out in the open at opposite ends of the garden. Hoping this will reduce the chances of any more arguing .

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    Hi Gr8mums

    Probably a good idea to spread the food around a bit. They are normally solitary animals and we are, in effect, changing their behaviour by encouraging them to congregate to access food.

    It does sound as though the two smaller ones are last year’s hoglets, but some females will also share. I had two here that would happily share, but the larger, older one was quite grumpy if another female tried to share with her. I wondered whether the one she would share with may have been her daughter – there was a slight likeness – but that might just have been a nice thought! But hoglets do seem to like sharing, either with other hoglets, or with adults. The adults are usually very tolerant of hoglets trying to share – until they reach a certain size – then the gloves are off!

    The arguments aren’t always only about food, or even females. If another, particularly male, hog comes into the personal space of a more dominant male, he is likely to biff him. Luckily when more females are around and the big boys spend a lot of time circling them, others have a chance to get to the food!

    Good luck with the new arrangement. Hope it lessens the aggression.


    Thanks for replying Nic, nice to hear other people’s hedgehog stories.

    Got some nice films from last night. The three did meet each other at one point at one of the food bowls , soooo much huffing going on but no fights that I could see.
    Hope that they settle down a bit now.
    I’m still hoping to see the three legged hog from last year , but no sign of it yet.


    Hi Gr8mums.
    I think we chatted a bit last year. I had a one eyed hedgehog visitor called Cyclops. Wasn’t your 3 legged hedgehog called Tripod? When did you last see him?
    Cyclops hibernated in our hedgehog box and woke up a few days ago. It has been lovely to know she is nearby.
    Re the fighting I have caught a bit of biffing on camera but did actually catch 2 of them having a real argey bargey and it did look like a lot of biting. I was all for going in to intervene and break it up but the other half said it was nature and I had to let them get on with it…….not so sure!
    Do let us know if Tripod appears

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    It’s a pleasure sharing information, Gr8mums. I might sound like a crazy hog person, but I’ve spent thousands of hours studying hedgehog behaviour – from real life, not just video (although I have done that as well). So that, in general, the behaviours I write about are not behaviours I have seen once or twice, but behaviours I’ve seen repeatedly over the course of years. It helped that I was able to recognise individual hogs by their natural markings and I was very lucky that for a long time, I had a good sized population of hogs in my area, so was able to watch the interactions between them all. It seems a shame not to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained with anyone who’s interested – so you’re welcome.

    Glad to hear you got some good video. It sounds as if you might have a female amongst those three – the huffing we hear is probably most often the female during the course of ‘courtship’.

    I thought I remembered the three-legged hog was called Tripod, too. Hope he/she returns. Some of the females do return much later than the males, so if she’s a female, she may be late out of hibernation. Seems a strange idea with this Summer like weather, but it is still only April! But there are all the other possibilities, such as someone else starting feeding nearer to where he/she hibernated, etc.

    Simbo65 – I think your other half is right – re. breaking up the fight. If you intervened, they might just have started up all over again, out of sight. Hopefully, after the fight, one or other of them would have had the sense to just roll up the next time they met!


    Not so much biting, but biffing. Mind the steps!

    Bit of a cliff hanger.


    That is funny. I see you have a pipe tunnel leading into your food station. We have done similar with a 10 cm diameter pipe which we will put out today. I’m concerned it’s a bit small and maybe should have got a 12 cm. What size do you use?


    Hi Simbo65, the pipe is around 4 and a quarter inches. I borrowed a few pipes when trees were planted not far from where I live. Ones that were pulled up by local ferals. They are the green tree guards. Just what I wanted and worked a treat. Tried several sizes before I got it right. The bigger ones cats could get in.


    Thanks William. Our pipe is a 4″ diameter so hoping that the small difference will be fine. We looked at a slightly larger diameter- I bought it in Screwfix- but thought a small cat might get in. Fingers crossed the hedgehogs won’t get stuck.
    Thanks for measuring and getting back.


    Now I’ve seen four hogs . There’s two wee ones, and a medium sized one and Mr Big.
    Since leaving the food in a few places around the garden, none of them are going into the box for food. So it does seem like they prefer to eat al fresco !

    No sightings of Tripod who I saw last November and had the SSPCA check him over. I’m slightly worried that he might have passed away in the box with the big nest in it. But the box has hogs going in and out so I hope that means there’s no other deceased hog in there too. Yes this was the one we chatted about last year Simbo65.

    Nic, my family say I’m obsessed with the hedgehogs but they are so fascinating to watch and I’m starting to tell them apart too. Although the family do ask me , how many were in the garden and what they were up to, so they are getting as bad as me !


    That’s a good video William, and very similar to what the hogs I’ve seen doing too.


    Is the big box a feeding station or do the hedgehogs sleep in it? As I am still new to this, Cyclops has been our first hibernator. I did ask the other half how we could tell if she was asleep or passed away and he said if she had died there would be a lot of flies in the box……can you see inside?
    I too am obsessed. I just can’t help myself.

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