15th May 2019 at 11:08 pm #15207
We’ve had regular hogs in our garden for a few years now. Last night we were lucky and had 4, (2 fairly large ones and 2 smaller ones). I guessed they were a family, they were all quite happy eating and drinking from the different feeding areas. Tonight one of the larger ones turned up on it’s own and started eating, the next time I looked out it was on the grass with another larger one and one was pushing the other around and circling it. It didn’t sound aggressive behaviour but was it?? I went into the garden and filmed the behaviour and they weren’t distracted by me at all.
My question is…should I have stopped them somehow in case they were fighting or leave them in case it’s some kind of mating ritual? I’ve looked at other videos to try and determine the behaviour but it looks like a bit of both.
I don’t want to interfere but don’t want an injured hog either….??
Thanks x16th May 2019 at 11:07 am #15210
No definitely don’t interfere at all. When males biff each other it looks a bit rough, but remember that the hogs have all those spines to cushion them. But if you interfered any fight might just become even worse, out of sight. It really isn’t a good idea to interfere with any natural behaviour of wild animals.
Hedgehogs are normally solitary animals and we are, in effect, encouraging them to congregate by providing them with food. Normally other than male and female, their meetings would just be in passing. One, more dominant male, may not like another in his personal space, so might biff him. But when they are gathered together it probably happens more often – and also if there is a female around.
If they were a family, it is likely to be only by chance. Hedgehogs don’t stay in family units, other than a mother when she has young hoglets. The Father has nothing to do with the raising of the hoglets and probably doesn’t even recognise his own offspring. Not surprising when females will apparently mate with more than one male and some litters have even apparently been found to have more than one Father.
The ‘courtship’ is quite noisy with the female continuously huffing, rhythmically, as the male circles round her. (some people think she sounds grumpy) She turns as he goes round. This can go on for hours. It is quite different from the biffing amongst the males when one of them is likely to be rolled up. The female will occasionally give a male a small biff, but, in my experience, not so much that he rolls up. He might nudge her, now and then but this doesn’t look at all aggressive.
Difficult to tell from such a short description, what was happening in this case, but hope that gives you a better idea.17th May 2019 at 2:23 pm #15230
Nic!!! THANKYOU so much for replying. From what you’ve said they must’ve been courting 🥰18th May 2019 at 12:07 pm #15245
That’s good news, Array. Fingers crossed for some hoglets later on.
Happy hog watching!22nd May 2019 at 8:16 am #15311
I think I’ve been lucky enough to capture both behaviours on film!
As you say, Nic, the Courtship dance is a sort of circling one way then the other ( I assume the Male ) with head down, presenting spines towards ( again, presumably ) the Female, who looks a little jumpy following the other one’s track..
..but then the other evening I fillmeed two Hogs entering the Diner.. but hadn’t captured one leaving..! It soon became apparent that one was still inside & decided to eject the 2nd visitor..! Quite forcibly, as it happens.. with a big ‘bif’ ! & as the smaller one rolled up in a protective ball, the more aggressive one biffed the former fully off the pitch!!
Looks quite aggressive for such cute little critters, but it’s fascinating seeing what goes on naturally in the garden at night!!
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