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Do sibling hogs mate with each other?

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Do sibling hogs mate with each other?

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    Absolutely thrilled to report that BOTH our baby hogs from last September survived hibernation despite being quite small. Believe one went back to the original birthing den and the other took straight away to a ready made, fully furnished with leaves, hog home from a supplier.
    The first emerged on 11 March. Assumed “it” to be a “He” and we have named him “Hoagy”. His sibling didn’t emerge until mid April so we have called “her” “Hetty”. Both hogs are coming out around 8.30 pm each night and eating from the food dish peacefully together except that Hoagy likes to get right in the dish and gently push Hetty out – but with no aggression!
    Hetty’s gender was confirmed when a third, larger Hog appeared last night and tried to get at her rear end whilst she was feeding, standing in the food dish. Luckily, Hoagy also had his nose in the trough right next to her bottom so Big Hog was out of luck!
    Whilst we would hate to see one of our hoglets leave, is it better for siblings to separate? and does anyone know if siblings are liable to mate with each other?

    Avatar photo

    Hi Marion

    Really pleased to hear the little ones made it.

    From watching the hogs here for many years, I have discovered that the males tend to move on after a while. They normally return after hibernation, but then move on later. This may be a way of preventing inbreeding. Normally the males return earlier from hibernation and have a chance to put on a bit of weight before the females return. The youngsters may try to ‘court’ a female, but are likely to get biffed out of the way by an older bigger hog.

    I have found that the males move on, gradually. They begin to visit less frequently and then only very occasionally. I am not sure how being over-wintered in captivity effects this. When the hogs become adult, they mostly probably just consider the other hog as just another hog, so if the male didn’t leave for some reason, I imagine it is possible that they could mate, if, as I mentioned, another bigger male didn’t interfere.

    I have found that the females tend to stick around. They tend to be more tolerant of each other, although some female hogs have certain other female hogs they don’t tolerate so well. They will share bowls together quite happily with the ones they ‘get on with’, but the males normally don’t.

    When the hoglets are around, the males and older females are very tolerant of them and often let the hoglets share, or even take over the feed bowl completely (whether their offspring or not). Once the hoglets reach a certain size, though, the gloves are off again, with the males.

    I hope they continue to do well.


    Thanks for your observations Nic.
    To our knowledge, our hogs have not yet left the garden (which is surrounded by a brick wall). The only way out is by squeezing under the gate (which the big ones seem to do quite well!) and they haven’t been anywhere near there yet. My other worry is that the Big Hog pursuing Hetty might be her dad! We only observed one big hog pursuing females last year (smaller ones were biffed away) and we think it might be him!
    So far she appears to be resisting his advances – I was surprised to see such activity so early after hibernation – but we can’t see what they get up to when they disappear into the bushes!
    Well, there is nothing we can do but leave them to it!
    Thanks again

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    Hi Marion

    As you say, there isn’t much we can do but leave it to them. It is possible that the Big Hog could be her father (no way of knowing – apparently even one litter can have more than one Father) but you might find, that when some of the more mature females return, the big hog might transfer his attentions to them. That seems to be what happens here. She is still very young.

    I wonder what impact females having been over-wintered in captivity has on all this. When they return they would be larger than the hoglets who were originally a bit bigger than them and hibernated naturally. Also sometimes they return when other hogs return and not necessarily when the females return. So they may be the only female around for a while. The males, I imagine probably all flock to them, but it may not eventually come to anything. I had two females re-released last year and they did get quite a lot of attention until the other females returned, but I don’t think they had any hoglets, although I can’t be 100% certain about that.

    As far as the males are concerned, I read on Wildlife Online
    That the males can be sexually active as soon as they come round from hibernation, ‘ testis activity resumes in the final stages of hibernation’ although the main breeding season doesn’t begin until May. Possibly giving the females a chance to get back and put on a bit of their lost weight.

    Is your profile pic Hetty? Looks a bit like one of the old girls here – not back yet, but I’m still hoping as she was the last to hibernate.

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