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Cohabitating females

Home Forums Champions’ chat Cohabitating females

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    Our hedgehogs continue to do well, we had a winter guest in the nest box who moved on in early spring. We cleaned the box out and put in fresh straw and a few weeks ago we had a large mature female take up residence. She went through a period of nest building, using mostly forget-me-nots for preference and then extra straw we put down for her. She has adopted a very regular habit and we see her on the camera each night, she normally just feeds and drinks and then goes back to bed. We have noticed recently she has been up early and late (dawn and just before dusk) to have feeds and we rather expect some hoglets to appear shortly. However a few nights ago another large mature female appeared and we thought she was also in the box at the same time (we put out a trail camera each night). Then a couple of nights ago she had a frantic nest building (she seemed to prefer hardy geraniums rather than the forget-me-nots). So now we have confirmed we have two mature female hedgehogs sharing the same nest box. I went out into the garden last night to watch them and confirmed there was two. We still think one or maybe both might be pregnant but not sure what will happen next.

    Cohabitation we know is rare but does happen, we don’t know what will happen if one or the other has hoglets ?

    We will just leave them to sort themselves out but does anyone have experience of cohabitation of females and one to the other giving birth ?

    Overall “our” hedgehogs are doing well, last night in just over and hour from around 9pm to 10pm I saw six different hogs in the garden. We now have a number of neighbours who are putting out food and have cut holes in fences as well and we have a good idea of the routes they take each night. Some of the hogs seem resident and we see the same ones regularly and then we also see some transients we have not seen before. We also see a good mix of males and females of various ages. Numbers are definitely increasing locally which is great.

    Just a bit concerned about these two girls though.


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    Hi ColinA

    I think this must be your post that went AWOL.

    It seems to be happening more often that hogs are sharing hog boxes. That may be due to lack of suitable nesting sites, or may be because so many more hogs are taken into care over their first winters when they are sometimes kept with others – they apparently find that less stressful. It is normally fairly young ones that continue to share and, given the chance it seems they move into their own boxes eventually.

    What you are describing sounds slightly different. But hog boxes are just structures within which hogs can build their nests. If the box is large enough, there is nothing to stop more than one hog building a nest in the same box, in the same way that there might be more than one nest, say, under a shed. If nesting sites are scarce there may be no choice but to build a nest near another one.

    It does sound from your description that each has built their own nest. Love it that each had their own preference as to plant material! It seems to me unlikely that two hogs would both give birth in the same nest – although never say never and there’s a first time for everything! But it seems more likely they each have their own nest in the space. Please don’t be tempted to look, in case they have new borns in there.

    It may be that they are siblings and don’t mind living in close proximity. When I was studying the hogs round here more carefully, I noticed that some female hogs would tolerate certain other females sharing the same food bowl, but would not tolerate others. The females always were the most regular visitors and more reliable as to timing, so it may be that they retain some connection/recognition with their female siblings/mothers (as they seem to stay roughly in the area where they were born) – but those are just my own thoughts. The male youngsters, I believe tend to disperse a bit from where they are born.

    It will be interesting to know what transpires. With a bit of luck you might at least end up with two little trains of hoglets! Let us know.

    Good luck and happy hog watching.


    Thank you for finding my “lost” post and your helpful response.

    After a while both the females seemed to go their separate ways, but we do have a batch of young hogs in the garden that visit each night and are often to be seen feeding together. It is also the case that the females can be very regular in their visiting times and often you can predict within minutes when particular individuals will visit, males are much more random.

    It was interesting the observations about hogs that seem happy to feed together and often from the same bowl whilst others seem much less tolerant and grumpy. Particularly the mature males who are especially grumpy.

    I got a video clip a few nights ago that showed three distinct age groups feeding together, there were two of this years and what I’m guessing based on size a hog from last year and one bigger still, so I’m guessing a two year or older hog. They were getting on fine until a male came along disturbed the harmony.

    On another subject – poo. We just use a dustpan and brush and sweep the patio each day and have not found any issues with staining and we have quite porous Cotswold stone. I would be wary of using any chemicals, some of the commercial patio cleaners are pretty harsh chemicals, but actually if you clean the patio regularly then nothing more than a stiff yard brush is necessary.

    Certainly the poo varies considerably in size and colour, it seems just to be reflective of what they have been feeding on and the age of the animal. Which is what you would expect.


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