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Got an Oggie….maybe two

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Got an Oggie….maybe two

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    We had 5 regulars last year, but as Autmn drew to a close we over a period if 2 weeks saw 3 that had been run over and one morning, around 5am, i heard a guy telling a dog to “drop it”….later to discover it was a hedgehog, who i had seen the night beford walkng my garden wall outer edge, having been in for a feed. Entered winter rather diwnhearted. A few days ago I noted hogpoo in the garden, so i put out food, the kind cats wont touch, and was rewarded by a visit of a small hog, he has come in every night since

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    Hi Magicshaz

    So pleased to hear you have had a hog visit. I can completely understand how disheartening it must have been finding all those poor roadkilll hedgehogs. The dog story, too, is very sad. A dog got into my garden a few years ago and fatally injured a female hedgehog, who I had known for quite a while. So sad. It really is a bit of a mixed blessing loving hogs.

    Thank goodness that other hogs keep trusting us enough to visit our gardens. Nothing like a hog visit to lift the spirits!

    I hope the small hog there continues to visit, and is hopefully joined by some more. Good luck to you and the hogs.


    Definitely two. And as we didn’t ße 5 dead last Autumn I think 1is a survivor and the original visitor is its offs npring. I’m gonna post in gallery

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    Hi Magicshaz

    Brilliant to hear there are 2 visiting now. It could be it’s offspring, but it is likely that there are other hogs in the area, so it’s also possible it’s the offspring of one of them. They do tend to spread out a bit when they mature – especially the males – adult males have a larger range than the females.


    ….without picking them up, is there any easy ‘on sight’ way to telling the gender….and approx age?.

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    Hi Magicshaz

    I can’t remember whether or not you have a night cam, but if you do, it’s sometimes possible to see underneath the hogs, or if you see them scratch in front of the camera, a ‘blob’ mid abdomen indicates a male.

    Otherwise it requires a certain amount of observation and then it can become clear which ones are male and which female. I would stress, though that only one episode of behaviour should not be taken as a definite indication. But if the same hog repeatedly behaves like a female or male, it is likely they are.

    So males are the ones which tend to rush around looking for females and when they find them they start circling around them. The female initially will usually reverse on the approach of a male and ‘jiggle’ her feet up and down – huffing at the same time but at a fairly constant rythm. If he continues showing interest, as he circles around her, she turns round, so that her face is facing towards the front of him. This is the normal ‘courtship’ for hogs and can continue for hours.

    Other characteristics of males are that they are more likely to biff and roll up another male. Females will occasionally give grumpy biffs and nudges out of the way, but in my experience don’t show the same aggression as the males. Also, in my experience, a male is unlikely to roll up a female – other than possibly a youngster – and possibly by mistake.

    It does require a certain amount of observation, but collectively with the different behaviours it is possible to be fairly certain whether male or female. You do, of course, need to recognise the individual hedgehogs in the first place, but it is possible to do that from their natural markings.

    Age is not so easy. In general, the really big ones are likely to be older than the smaller ones. But, as with humans, some hogs just never get as big as some other hogs. Some female hogs can be larger than some male hogs, although I have found, here, that the really large hogs usually turn out to be males – but females can be pretty big, too. So size is not really a reliable indicator of male/female, or age.

    Hope that helps!


    Thanks Nic. No cam so anything I see is at first hand. Another is in already tonight. Small but long in the body, not camera shy either. Makes a sniffing sounds so I have called him/her “sniffle’. Face is very pretty so I am thinking female.. posing pics to gallery.

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    Ah pretty hogs! All I can say is that the prettiest hog I have had visiting, so far, has turned out to be a male! He really was the most beautiful hog and quite a character as well.


    It’s funny how they have individual traits… Without anthromorphosising…


    Tonight, we came in at 23.20….and what a treat…not 1, not 2….not 3 but 4 hogs…chasing each other around, going in and out the hog house, generally having a ball !!!

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    That’s really good news Magicshaz – about all those hogs. It’s so nice when there are a few of them around – then you get a chance to see some of their behaviour towards each other.

    And yes, some of them do have little differences of behaviour. i.e. some like standing in the water bowl to drink, whereas others always drink from the side, etc.


    …. In flagrante delicto…


    We have three regulars, two in particular are identifiable in the dark by their sounds, the third seems to be pretty quiet. It’s possible there’s a fourth, but because of the garden layout and minimal lighting at night, almost impossible to be certain.
    The two we do know of I’ve named Snuffles and Chuckles, which should be pretty self explanatory! Snuffles does exactly that, and loudly; Chuckles, on the other hand, makes funny chuckling, almost clucking noises. Sometimes a bit difficult to hear over the eating noises they make.
    There are at least three entrance/exits to my garden, so they can come from any direction, two of which I enlarged for the ‘hogs to get through more easily.
    One we had last year which was using a nest I made sadly died, she, (I assume it was female from size and behaviour), showed signs of illness, she was out in daylight, went to sleep in her food dish, and when I picked her up, although she curled up, when I put her in front of her nest, she just stopped half-way in.
    I put her into a box full of hay and put that into a dark room, but she was clearly dead the next day.
    I wasn’t sure if there would be any come back afterwards, but within a day or two there were three back in the garden after the birds suet pellets!
    They do seem to be fairly discriminating regarding food – I put out three dishes with a mixture of suet pellets, mealworms and Go-Cat kibbles, hard ones and soft-centred pockets, the last two seem to be particular favourites, the eat the lot!
    I tried cat food of various types, they ate a bit and left most, and one morning I found a dish untouched except for a very large poo right in the middle!
    A bit more blunt in their opinion than a Guardian food critic, that’s for certain!
    I’ve given up on the cat food now…
    Hopefully, we’ll get some more hoglets in the garden this year, we had two in June last year, one fell asleep on the lawn in the shade on a Sunday afternoon!
    Too cute for words.

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    Hi Phasmainmachina

    It sounds as if you are very fond of the hedgehogs, but what you have said rings several alarm bells to me.

    Firstly, chuckles and snuffles. The noises you describe don’t sound normal to me. They sound as if they may, possibly, have a lungworm infection or the like – although it isn’t possible to tell, only by descriptions given on the forum. The best thing to do is to find who is your local carer by ringing the BHPS on 01584 890801. You will be able to tell the carer more precisely what they sound like and take advice.

    Regarding the hedgehog who died. Except for some specific circumstances, ie. Nursing mothers, who occasionally come out, (but would be likely to be in shade under bushes) it is not normal for hedgehogs to be out during the daytime and especially out in the sun or in the open. If a similar circumstance arises again put the hedgehog out of the sun in a box and offer food and water (and leave the food and water there – most hogs are not likely to eat or drink immediately after being caught even if they are very hungry). Then you need to contact your local carer (as described above) urgently. The hedgehog may have been dehydrated or otherwise ill and past being able to drink for itself. Again, describe all the circumstances to them – and take their advice. It is also not normal for a hoglet to fall asleep on the lawn and is an indication of a problem. If that happens again, follow the advice above.

    Regarding feeding. The best things to feed hedgehogs are good quality hedgehog food, cat/dog food and/or cat/kitten biscuits – and nothing else. There has been much written on the Forum about the dangers of mealworms. They are bad for hedgehogs even if they do like them and are implicated in Brittle Bone Disease. It is best not to feed mealworms at all, although you may need to reduce the amount gradually. Hedgehogs natural diet is high in protein. In my opinion it is not a good idea to feed them suet pellets, which are very high in fat. It is not natural for hedgehogs to eat such large amounts of fat and could lead to problems for the hedgehogs similar to those found in humans if they ate large quantities of fat – i.e heart problems, etc.

    I am not familiar with cat kibble with soft centres, but imagine that the cat/kitten biscuits are better as they help to keep their teeth clean. So my advice would be cut out everything but cat/dog or good quality hedgehog food. This should lead to healthier hedgehogs.

    It is also a good idea to leave plenty of water in your garden every day, 24 hours a day, in case a dehydrated hedgehog (which you may not see) is desperate for a drink any time. Preferably some in the shade. I use large plant saucers for water and have them both ends of the garden. At the same time try to make your garden more hedgehog friendly. Lots of tips on Hedgehog Street.

    I hope you will take this advice in the spirit in which it is given – we all want the very best for all hogs. But don’t be too hard on yourself – remember, we can’t know something, until we find out about it. I hope that, in time, you have some healthier hedgehogs around and that they do, indeed, produce some hoglets for you to enjoy watching.


    I can’t stop them eating mealworms or suet pellets, because there are always lots under my Acer tree where I hang my bird feeders, and I also throw mealworms on the ground for birds who don’t use the feeders like the robins, starlings and blackbirds, and also the sparrows. This is where the ‘hogs come every evening, and there are four out tonight.
    As I explained above, I put down a variety of different cat food, the ‘hogs would eat a bit, spread it around then poo on it! They made it perfectly plain they weren’t particularly interested in it, and I tried half a dozen different varieties. When a plate full of fresh food is ignored except for a very large fresh poo right in the middle, and what looked suspiciously like a puddle of wee as well, then I honestly don’t think it’s worth trying to force an animal to eat what it obviously isn’t interested in.
    They get plenty of water, there are three dishes set out for them, and they drink a lot, I’ve sat and watched them put their paws on the edge and tip them up to drink when the level gets a bit low, which is rather sweet!
    The one that died clearly had issues, and if I’d known about it I would have sent it for autopsy, but I didn’t have the info at the time. It’s possible she was just at the end of her natural life, I only became aware of the ‘hogs regular visits to my garden last summer, because of a change in circumstances and the warm weather causing me and my partner to sit outside late into the evening, and seeing them arriving.
    I think they’ve been visiting at least since the early 80’s, my then girlfriend accidentally kicked one down the front path when leaving the house one night! They’ve probably been coming into the garden all this time, I’ve just not been aware of them at night.

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