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Hedgehog HMOs?

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Hedgehog HMOs?

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    So last night I was watching the hedgehogs, I had two adults and three juveniles active, but the bizarre thing is they were sharing the houses, which I’ve never seen before. I’ve once seen a hedgehog enter a house that was already occupied, but there was loud sniffing and they newcomer backed off immediately. I expected that to happen again last night, when a juvenile entered the bunker where an adult was already sleeping, but nothing happened. Total quiet. About an hour later, they both woke up from their naps and came out, one after the other. They must have been sharing the nest box, as the adult both entered and left first, and there was no room in the tunnel for them to get past each other.

    I’d also previously seen another adult settling down for a nap in the next house along, which we call the mansion, as it’s a bit bigger than the others. While the adult was sleeping, the two juveniles who eat together turned up, one from outside the garden, and they ate together, but to my astonishment, after they’d finished eating and had a drink, they both went into the mansion, right behind each other. Again, there was no huffing or sniffing, and no indication that anybody was at all unhappy with the situation. I must admit by this point I was thinking that the adult had come out without me noticing, and so it was just the juveniles sharing, because of the lack of fuss and I really didn’t think there would be room for the three of them. But about half an hour later, the adult emerged, ate more food, drank more and went back to the house with their two juvenile housemates. By the time this happened, it was starting to get light, and so I think those three would have most likely spent the day together.

    Has anyone seen or heard of this sort of behaviour? Is sharing houses more common when they are just napping, rather than settling down for the day? I was aware two hogs might share, but three seems really strange. The house is big, but it’s really not that big, so they must have been in close quarters. There were also at least two hog houses available throughout this that were vacant and available that night but they showed no interest in them. I am really surprised as I hadn’t seen them share before, but twice in one night, and having three hogs sharing, is amazing.


    I love how friendly the hogs can be, still got the juveniles hanging around together.


    In terms of monitoring we have really only just started watching hog behaviour – made easier now they are coming into more contact with us and their natural world is shrinking so I suspect this will become more ‘normal’
    A lot of hogs that are overwintered with carers also live in multiple occupancy cages – it’s less stressful for the hog and additionally most carers have space constraints. I suspect we are quite rapidly changing hog behaviour

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    Hi Stef

    I agree with: “I suspect we are quite rapidly changing hog behaviour” – and not only with regard to sharing hog houses, but also how much contact they have with each other generally i.e. at feeding stations.


    Yes you’re right Nic.
    It’s interesting how rapidly they are evolving to these changes.


    It seems they are far less fussy about where and who they sleep with when they are just having a nap after eating. I’ve seen them napping in the feeding station and a large bin I use to provide straw- both of which are far too open and exposed for them to spend the day in, but seem to be fine for napping purposes. I suppose the napping in itself is a learned behaviour, as without us providing food they would be foraging for most of the night.


    stef, Nic, Kitty,
    Is this a good thing? I’m sure all here care about wildlife and the environment, and evolution is obviously a necessity to survive. But personally I do worry we can go too far.
    I live in a very rural area which really should provide food and habitats for local wildlife naturally. Still I put food out for birds and hedgehogs and have neighbours that encourage badgers and foxes with regular feeding.
    In my type of area only I do wonder if this is right?
    Clearly in more built up urban areas (where I read wild animals are increasingly seen) the normal food and habitat areas are diminishing so all help is welcome but are we encouraging wildlife where it is difficult for them to survive naturally?
    Bit of a debate here sorry – I stop feeding birds in summer as otherwise from nesting to a feeder is a few feet and I worry the young become reliant on provided food.

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    Hi daffydill

    It isn’t ideal. But from the hogs point of view – as things stand, there isn’t sufficient habitat of sufficiently good quality for many of them to survive without being offered some supplementary food. That’s why we hog lovers all need to do our best to make sure our gardens are as hog friendly (which means wildlife friendly) as they can be. In other words improving the habitat in them and by linking gardens and by that means increasing the available habitat.

    Hogs are apparently doing less well in rural areas. That is probably partly down to habitat loss, modern farming methods, loss of hedgerows, large fields of monoculture, fragmentation of habitat, etc. It’s a complex problem. But many gardens mimic their preferred habitat of hedgerows and woodland edge (as they do for many bird species) and there are more gardens in suburban areas, so arguably a larger source of more suitable habitat. If the hogs are lucky enough to live where there is sufficient quantity of sufficiently good habitat, they would be able to survive without our help. But many do not.

    As I understand it, animals are choosing to move into urban areas, sometimes due to loss of habitat, potentially persecution, etc. But also (i.e. foxes and badgers) because humans seem to be a very wasteful and messy species (with regard to food in this instance) and the animals are able to take advantage of that. But of course urban/suburban areas have their problems too – roads come to mind.

    But, it’s really all much more complicated than a few paragraphs, or I can do justice to! But just a few thoughts.

    You might be interested in:


    Well hi,
    Lost my post but just wanted to thank you Nic for that link.
    I do appreciate the loss of habitat for so much wildlife, it is a great concern to us all.
    No doubt all here do what we can to encourage and support hedgehogs and various other wildlife (excluding those orange bellied slugs!! ) in our gardens.
    So important now because of the loss of natural habitats. Let’s all keep doing as much as we can to help wherever we live. x

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