12th July 2022 at 3:49 pm #38329
We have invited hedgehogs to our garden by making hedgehogs holes in the fences of both sides of the back garden, leaving a wild area and building a hedgehog house. We have a feeding area just as the hedgehogs enter the garden from the drive providing hedgehog kibble and water.
The wildlife camera covers that area.
We have a pair of hedgehogs who often arrive more or less within an hour of each other. We thought they were doing courtship behaviour but there is no ‘circling’ and a lot of agro. A small fox sometimes squeezes through the hole and helps itself to a fair amount of the evening ration but there has never been any trouble between the fox and hedgehogs, that we know of
last night, we watched our usual pair by looking through the patio door, an area that’s well of range of the camera. The hedgehogs were pushing each other all over the place, grabbing each other by the nose and other areas and shaking each other about violently.
I presume my smallish garden is not large enough for two male hedgehogs.
I am concerned that we are doing them no favours by encouraging them to come to it.
Does anyone have any advice. We’d hate it if we were enabling harm to TWO hedgehogs rather than helping them.
Any advice out there please?12th July 2022 at 8:35 pm #38335
Yes, our prickly friends can be quite aggressive at times, but the good thing is that they don’t seem to come to too much harm during their altercations and a hog which has been rolled up by another will usually eventually move off, seemingly as if nothing had happened. But the one who came off worst might try to make sure that he doesn’t cross paths with the victor again, if he can help it. For instance I have often seen male hogs approaching the feeding area here, only to turn tail and disappear again if there is another male hog present. Although that can vary from one hog to another.
Hogs don’t have territories, as such – they have ranges and the ranges can overlap. So that two (or more) male hogs’ ranges could easily overlap in your garden.
Having said that, otherwise solitary animals, hedgehogs are more likely to meet up where supplementary food is provided. That applies to both males and females, although the males may also be attracted to the females who have been attracted by the food. So we are, in effect, contributing to changing hogs’ behaviour by offering supplementary food.
Ideally everyone would make their gardens more wildlife friendly and link gardens with hog highways, so that the hogs could find sufficient natural food, but as things stand there may not be sufficient natural food for the hogs to find. It seems entirely possible that there are more hogs around as a result of people offering them food, even though they are still much scarcer than they used to be – with their natural habitats have been declining.
So, in the end, it is really your own personal decision whether to continue supplementary feeding. I don’t know what the answer is. Just bear in mind that the situation might sort itself out. In many cases a male hog seems to know his place in the ‘pecking order’ and will roll up immediately if a more dominant hog biffs him. It seems the actual fights (where one hog doesn’t give in) happen where the dominance hasn’t been sorted out. But next time, the hog who ‘lost’ might just roll up straight away and then there is even less chance of him being injured (with the cushion of spines to protect him). But by supplementary feeding, you may be providing a lifeline to several different hogs, so it’s a difficult decision to make.
But number 1 priority needs to be to link gardens (which I know you have already done, but hogs need many gardens to find sufficient food), make them more wildlife friendly (I’m sure most of us could do more in that respect) and encourage as many other people as possible to do likewise. Whether supplementary food is offered or not, water is vitally important, especially in this hot weather. A hog has more chance of finding something natural to eat than finding natural water.
Good luck to you and the hogs.13th July 2022 at 4:27 pm #38403
Thank you Nic19th July 2022 at 10:07 am #38475
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