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Habits (Dry observations, slightly less anecdotal)

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Habits (Dry observations, slightly less anecdotal)

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    Our Penthouse suite, a box on four pillars with rolled carpet tile tunnel up to entrance, has so far been occupied every other day, thus:

    Day 1,3,5,7,9 (today).
    It’s like clockwork and I am fairly certain that the same hog visits each time (without taking blood samples :p)

    From this behaviour, I conclude the “up-to one mile per night” roaming is a one-way journey between separate destinations rather than circular.
    The previous hog behaved similarly.
    Have you noticed similar behaviour?

    Out of five random observations on feeding: Upon exiting the ‘penthouse’ Boss Hogg eats a certain amount of crushed cat biscuits, rests for at least an hour (food coma?) then exits the garden.
    The morning it returns, about 36 hours later, more food is eaten than above. A significant amount of food is consumed on return despite the hog having hunted for several hours and presumably eaten.
    Conclusion here is that if you start feeding these creatures you need to continue to have food ready even if hogs are away for days as they may be relying on it at the end of a tiring journey.

    Lastly, the three hogs I’ve witnessed, one at a time, consecutively, and about twenty times in total, prioritise eating over drinking straight after they rise in the evening.
    Drinking occurs after and not always immediately.
    I thought that was interesting considering the dryness of biscuits.

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    Hi Phileuas

    It depends where you are in relation to where the hog is currently using as a day nest. The hog may take a circuitous route and return to it’s current nest site in a night. Male hogs, in particular, can change nests fairly often so may decide to nest elsewhere. It sounds as if you are on a current route for the hedgehog and it’s just making use of your hog house if it finds itself there when it’s near sleep time.

    What we feed should be supplementary to what the hog can find in the wild. So ideally all hog lovers would try to make their gardens as hog friendly as possible so that the hogs can find some natural food there. You are likely on some sort of circuit, but if the hog didn’t find food there, it would likely move on but come back another time/day to check whether some had appeared.


    Chalky coloured banding. Very little data to go by here.
    Undercover down the side of the house, on a wooden shed base, a medium-sized, aggressive* hog repeatedly licked the wooden floor (about ten times) then would roll over awkwardly and appear to lick its lower spines as far back as it could. It didn’t appear to lick its fur.
    It would tend to overreach, topple and suddenly right itself in an undignified manner. I saw about five cycles of this process.

    The medium hog, a newcomer, was the first one I’ve seen of approximately five, that had a chalky band across its body.
    I’ve seen mention of colour banding in this forum where there was a suspicion of human interference.
    However, seeing the hog roll over where it had licked the wooden floor (otherwise pointlessly as there was no food there) I infer the hog was perhaps coating its spines via indirect transmission.
    Speculation: Coating itself in its own bug repellent?
    Speculation: Perhaps, like urates from a tortoise, the colouration to white takes time to occur?

    A little while later I noticed a couple of unmistakable chalky spots not seen earlier in the thirty minutes of watching this particular scene (I watched other activity intermittently before and after), but it’s quite possible I had missed them.

    *Aggression: <I’m comparing to previous hogs and the other, large, hog nearby, which it arrived after, and had butted several times with no reaction… I haven’t ruled out they could be related as the large one seemed to tolerate it but without backing down, at the food bowl for instance.
    I don’t know if the aggression is relevant, mentioned just in case.>

    Could all be coincidence. The medium hog was a strange character. For all its aggression, it ate far less food than the other hog and was not so clever e.g. it walked off instead of waiting its turn to eat -seen with other hogs.

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    Hi Phileaus

    What you are describing sounds like a well documented behaviour called self annointing. It’s isn’t completely clear why the hogs do it, but it’s thought that sometimes it’s in response to certain smells – which it sounds as if it was in the case you describe. The hogs get into those strange positions and spread frothy saliva over themselves. One study did suggest that more males self annointed than females – you mention that the hog was an aggressive one – which usually indicates that they’re males.

    In the short term this could look like blobs or possibly even streaks, but if it was only saliva, would not last for any substantial amount of time as artificial marking of hogs by humans does. It’s possible that on occasion some other substance becomes mixed with the saliva. But it’s thought that not all hogs display this behaviour, so it would not account for the numbers of hedgehogs which are artificially marked, nor the patterns they are sometimes marked with, etc.

    The most dominant hogs aren’t always the biggest ones, so it’s possible that it was more dominant than the larger one and sometimes they don’t always seem to have time to eat much before they tear off somewhere else!

    You are, though, very lucky to have seen the self annointing behaviour – not everyone even ever sees it. It would be interesting to know if the same hedgehog continued with the behaviour on different days and whether it was triggered by the same place.

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