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Do hedgehogs follow old routes ?

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Do hedgehogs follow old routes ?

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    Just wondering as on the map of my location, there appears to be a pattern of sighting which follow and old pathway from the farmers fields to the mill on the hill. The pathway used to cross the bottom of my garden, and although no longer there, it is where the hedgehogs aim for and then sneak through the fence in the same direction. The old path to the mill was used as far back as the 1800’s and now crosses a main road, and houses have been built all along, but never the less the sightings still connect from the farmland to the hill with the once mill. Could this be coincidence or an ancient hedgehog track ?

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    Hi Puddle Duck

    That’s lovely. It would be nice to think hedgehogs had been using ancient pathways! But I can’t see why they wouldn’t have.

    I know that the hogs which visit me nearly always come along the path. It always makes me laugh that they seem to prefer that to walking up the lawn (which would be a slightly shorter distance). But to them it must just be an easy route to get around. So that may have been the case there, too. A bit unfortunate that it crosses the road, though.

    But hogs may be following the scent of other hedgehogs, so that multiple hedghogs could be using the same route at different times and that could have been something that has gone on for a very long time. I have a feeling there were a great many more hedgehogs around in the 1800s. But, I have been told that someone who walks their dog at night along old trackways often sees hedgehogs.

    The sightings on the map could just be because that’s where the people were to see the hogs, but even so, the hogs could have been using that route.

    There’s no way of knowing for sure, but it’s a nice thought.


    Thank you for your speedy reply, Nic. As you say, there is no way of knowing. I have had 4 coming through my garden and feeding at the same time last year. This year I have only seen 2 together and it’s difficult to tell if they are the same ones. Quite a number of people were feeding them in the wider area last year, so hopefully these delightful little creatures will continue to do well.


    I am always surprised that if I put food and water for them at exactly the same spot before they had gone into hibernation that they remember where to look for food once they are out of hibernation. Or is that just coincidence – could they be the same hedgehogs from last year or new ones finding the food anyway?

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    Hi Jennifer

    It’s very likely that some of the hogs will be the same ones. I found that the females seem to stay in the same area for some years, although the males come and go a bit more and I think that the young males move on to new ranges soon after they return from hibernation. But it follows that some young males may move into those ranges from elsewhere. Some of the adult males may be around for a couple of years, some possibly more.

    I had one female here who visited during at least 5 different years. She was a lovely hog, very distinctive in appearance and a real character. Not all survive that long. She was already an adult when I first knew her, so could have been visiting even longer.

    But yes, they know their ranges very well, which is one reason why it’s so important that if they ever need rescuing they are returned to their home range upon recovery. They learn their ranges from young hoglets. The young males who have moved on from here tend to visit less and less often as time goes on and then from occasional visits, they eventually disappear completely.

    Having said that, it is the males that tend to come out of hibernation first, so it may be that amongst the larger hogs it is mostly males around at the moment.



    Just wondering when my hedge hogs may come out of hibernation they were still eating food till late December as it was a late litter that i fed up well . I have read march/April and i know some don’t hibernate as you told me too . I have had no sign of anyone yet . I have set up their homes already .When would you suggest putting food out . I did put some out a week ago and the cats ate it . You gave me good advice last year and i’m hoping they come back as last year was the first time they ever went into my hedge hog boxes . Fingers crossed they come back to my garden . I am worried as new houses started to get build not far from me in an area of lots of trees and grass etc and i was worried they may have been hibernating there .😞

    Hope all is well

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    Hi Yvonne

    Sorry to hear about the new houses. Building work can be disruptive to hogs, not least to their routes. There seem to be hogs re-appearing in many places now, even if many of them might be males. But if they didn’t hibernate until December they might not appear until later than normal. The females tend to hibernate later, anyway and in the past I have had females making their way back here as late as early May.

    I had a female here who didn’t disappear until 3/4 into January. She isn’t back, but there is no guarantee that any hog will return. It is a dangerous time of year for hogs. All we can do is hope.

    I would be inclined to continue putting a bit of food out, if I were you, even if it’s a bit less than usual. I was being plagued by cats, but once the hogs started appearing, the cats aren’t around so much. But at least any hog that returned would have half a chance of getting to the food you put out first.

    The absolutely most important thing, though is to leave some water out, all day every day, all year round. A hog newly out of hibernation would likely welcome that and water is often hard for them to find.

    Good luck. I hope some hogs return soon. Fingers crossed.


    Hi Nic
    Thanks for the info . Yes i always put fresh water out every night. for the birds in the morning .We also had the neighbours complaining of rats when the new estate started to get built too and i am just hoping that the hedge hogs were not hibernating there 😞
    I will keep you updated when i get my hogs back and your right i’m maybe just too early in hoping they come back . Fingers crossed i get to meet my little hoglets i fed up once again. There is about 10 cats in my street alone same ones every night so i haven’t put food out but still putting my camera out and no sign of any hogs yet . I think once i see a hog in camera i will start again with the food .Thanks again
    take care and stay safe

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    Hi Yvonne

    Yes, it’s always a worry when there are rats around that someone may put poison down which hogs may be able to access.

    It would be nice if the hogs do come back after you took such care of them up to hibernation. But as they disappeared so late, they may come back late too. So don’t give up hope too soon. I’m still hoping that the one here will return.

    Goodness, that’s a lot of cats. I thought 5 or 6 were bad enough. But none of them are ever anywhere to be seen if there are mice or rats around!


    Since they seem to have bad eyesight, I guess that they have a good memory of places and a good orientation.

    I saw a video of a gps tracked hedgehog during many days. As I remeber it often folowed some paths in the urban environment and mostly had the same place to sleep.

    When i see hedgehogs in human environments i can often anticipate from their general direction where it will pass. Like when a hedgehog was heading over fairly short grassland where it was a single tuft of grass. I thought the tuft might be a place for it to find food or a little shelter. I laid down beside the tuft and filmed this:

    In sweden hedgehogs very often move about in late afternoon while being well. This might be because the nights aren’t really dark and they would starve if they waited for dark in june.


    Hi Nic

    since we last spoke , I still have no hedge hogs come to my garden not even one sighting as yet .On the plus side i’ve spoken to my neighbours about fences and adding some spaces to them to allow entry from garden to garden etc and some have agreed to make pathway . I doubt they would still be hibernating now so who knows where they all are 😭
    Hope your well

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    Hi Yvonne

    Oh, that’s so sad. Yes, I think most hogs are back from hibernation by now. Although still no sign of the hog I mentioned. I haven’t quite given up on her yet, but do fear she may not be back now.

    Really good news about the hog highway, though. Hopefully some hogs will use it and make their way to you. Fingers crossed.


    Yes it is very sad i’m hoping they have woken up and just went looking in other gardens as there should be lots of food for them this time of year . I think some of them must have survived but there is no way of knowing . Fingers crossed your wee hog turns up too . 🦔❤️


    Hi Nic
    Ignore the last message because My camera picked up a one little hedge hog last night ❤️🦔 .He/she ate some food then left quickly maybe a cat came as 4 different cats on the screen were eating the food too .

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    Hi Yvonne

    That’s brilliant! Really good news. So there must still be some around. So pleased for you. Now it realises there’s food there, hopefully it will return. Fingers crossed.

    I’ve had a rat here. The last one didn’t like kitten biscuits, but this one seems to and has been busy emptying the bowls. I suspect it has a cache of them somewhere now! Wish one of the cats would come and catch it, but it seems when there’s a rat around there are no cats to be seen!

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