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Hedgehog Fighting?

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Hedgehog Fighting?

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    Hi all, We are very new to having Hedgehogs in the garden. We spotted one a couple of weeks ago and started putting cat biscuits out for it. This week we discovered we have 2! But now they seem to be fighting (we watch them on cctv)? Is this normal? Can we do anything to help the situation? Any advice was be greatly appreciated.



    The best thing you can do is put food in a couple of different places so they aren’t competing for it
    Then you just need to let them get on with it
    If one is circling the other and the one being circled is just turning round huffing then they are courting….


    One barged the other away from the food bowl. And there were a couple of incidents of circling to make it ball up. I wondered if I had 2 males? I’m desperate to have baby hogs in the garden!

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    Hi LeanaG

    Don’t worry too much about the hogs fighting – it’s just what male hogs do. I know it can look quite alarming. The first time I saw it I thought I was going to go out and find a dead or injured hog! But they have all those spines to cushion them, so it isn’t as bad as it looks.

    Hogs are solitary animals and the males don’t really like having another male in their personal space. But because there are likely to be more hogs than usual in feeding areas, these altercations seem to happen more there. Added to which, those are the areas many of us often have our cameras trained.

    But they will biff each other elsewhere as well. Male hogs, especially more dominant ones, do what I call ‘patrolling’, at this time of year, where they tear around and don’t or barely even stop for a bite to eat. I imagine they are looking for females, but not being a hog, am not sure about that. But any male hog which is come across gets cursorily rolled up before the hog rushes off again.

    You could try, as Stef suggests, putting feeding bowls in different places. Although 2 may still turn up in the same place. But at least it gives a chance to a more timid hog to have an opportunity to eat in peace.

    It isn’t really possible to tell from your description whether males or females, but the females don’t tend to be as aggresive as the males. So whereas they might give a grumpy nudge away from the food, or even occasionally a nudge during courtship circling, it isn’t so likely to be a full blown biffing and rolling up. Although females will occasionally roll up and I have seen a male nudging a female out of the way – possibly by mistake(!) – because he seemed to be trying to make amends afterwards!

    But if you see the circling, as Stef describes, the one in the centre of the ‘circle’ huffing will be a female.

    Make sure you always leave a supply of water available, all day every day, for the hogs. Water is often hard for them to find. Wide but shallow plant saucers are ideal and I have them in few places. The birds will appreciate them to bath in, as well!

    Good luck. Hope you continue enjoying watching the hogs. They are fascinating and it’s quite likely you will soon be completely hooked to watching them. Happy hog watching!


    Hi we were watching our videos of the hedgehog when a another one appeared and started to push it around it rolled into a ball and the other
    One pushed it about this went on for about 10mins then the one that had done the pushing had a drink went into the feeding station had something to eat then went


    Hello All,

    Just joined, we have a couple of years experience of watching and feeding etc.

    This year we think we have at least three hogs and possibly more, two males that seem to fight when they come across each other and a female. We see on the trail cameras various behaviours. A few weeks ago it was all very amorous and graphic !! Now it’s more hedgehog grumpiness, we see a submissive hog that gets biffed but it almost seems to accept it and is quite, almost used to it, and just waits until the aggressor goes away and carries on as if nothing has happened.

    The we see the “reversing” , one hog makes the loud sniffing noise, it might approach another but then “goes into reverse” and backs off.

    Then occasionally and more recently we have seen more aggressive fighting where one hog when biffed starts to fight back and it all gets a bit silly for a few seconds then they seem to back off each other.

    We have, for the last couple of nights, seen what we think is a new hog because it doesn’t seem to know it’s way around and just bumps into the food and water eventually.

    We have food and water in several places, including outside and in a feeding station. I am wondering, because it is tricky to tell them apart, if we have “resident” hogs and a number of “transients”.

    We know that there are quite a lot of hogs locally, but obviously it is the case that neighbours talk about “there” hogs etc. when it is very probable we are all seeing the same animals. We have worked out a patrol route for our “residents” that they seem to follow around local gardens.

    Our biggest problem is trying to identify individuals, they all seem well fed and a similar size at present, the males are obvious by behaviour and the occasional glimpse of it’s bits when having a scratch.

    So should we be worried about the aggression ? It seems not ?

    Secondly, any tips for identifying individuals ?

    Many thanks.

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    Hi Colin A

    Welcome to the Forum.

    “the “reversing” , one hog makes the loud sniffing noise, it might approach another but then “goes into reverse” and backs off” will be a male and female. The female reversing and huffing. Part of the ‘courtship’.

    Yes, the biffing and rolling up (and along) is just what hogs do. They have ranges rather than actual territories and their ranges overlap. But males, if they are more dominant tend to biff any male that comes into their personal space. That’s more likely to happen at feeding stations, because they’re more likely to meet there, but it does happen elsewhere as well.

    Sometimes it turns into more of a fight, as you mentioned. Hogs here have on occasion been seen to shake another hog like a terrier with a rat, but that happens very much more seldom than the biffing and rolling. I suspect that they recognise each other and know the other hog is more dominant or otherwise and react accordingly. I wouldn’t worry about it. It seems it isn’t as bad as it first appears – they have all those spines to cushion them. But as you say, they normally just carry on as normal once the aggressor has moved on.

    It is quite possible that your garden is in the middle of one particular hog’s range so that he visits more often. I have found in the past that the females tend to visit more regularly, i.e. most nights, and tend to stay in the same area whilst the males visit a bit more infrequently. They have larger ranges than the females, and so have more opportunity of finding food, but also other females elsewhere.

    You’ve obviously worked out how to identify which are males. The females are the ones that behave as you described, backing and huffing, but also the ones who turn round and round huffing whilst the male circles around her during courtship.

    I wrote some notes a while back with some tips on how to identify hedgehogs by their natural markings which you might find useful:
    I hope you decide to have a go at natural identification.

    Good luck and happy hog watching.


    Excellent, many thanks for the advice and information.


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