23rd October 2017 at 5:54 pm #8043
Hi. We’re new to this site, and were wondering how you know if you have male or female hedehogs in the garden? We think we have two regulars, as one sighted definitely seemed much bigger. We have a hog house, brick and slab feeding station, feed with ‘Spike’ and have some suitably unkempt areas of garden for their use. Would love to know more about our individuals. We’ve also recently bought a wildlife cam with motion sensors and infra red, but so far all we’ve caught is a fox and a local cat who seems to be hanging around the feeding station a lot at night. Any advice very welcome :o) Vic n Sean24th October 2017 at 5:37 pm #8050
Hi Vic n Sean,
It can be difficult to sex hedgehogs from a distance. It can be done with a hedgehog in the hand as the males willy is up in tummy area away from the anus. Females bits are closer together. Of course the hedgehog is likely to be rolled up anyway and handling hedgehogs should be left alone unless absolutely necessary. I don’t think body size would be an accurate indicator either.
By the sounds of it you have a good wildlife camera and i think that is your best way to tell them apart.
In the breeding season a male hedgehogs willy is huge so if you get a rear end view you will know for sure. If it doesn’t look like it has three back legs it will be female. I think if you persevere you will get some hedgehog pictures
soon enough. good luck24th October 2017 at 5:47 pm #8051
Many thanks for reply..wont handle unless an emergency so will look out for hogs with 5 legs !
Vic and Sean26th October 2017 at 9:41 am #8058
Hi Vic and Sean
I agree with Baldwin Hedgehog about not handling too much, but not sure about the male’s ‘fifth leg’. You could mistake their tail for a fifth leg. However, you can sometimes tell on film if they get up on their legs and see a ‘blob’ or larger, as Baldwin Hedgehog says, in the tummy area. I usually find it is easier to see this from the side. If they scratch in front of a camera, it is also a bit of a giveaway.
The other way is, as the second link suggests, by observing their behaviour. You will need to watch for a while to be sure, because youngsters, in particular sometimes have some confusing behaviour, but in general it is the males which circle the females during courtship. You will probably need to wait until next year, now, to observe this behaviour as most of the hogs will be going off to hibernate, if they haven’t already.
I agree, you can’t tell them apart from their size. Some males can be quite small and some females quite big, although the older males here do tend to be a bit larger than the older females.
If you keep observing the hogs, you will be able to tell individuals apart by their natural markings. And I really recommend watching them in real time. Cameras are nice to have for back up, but nothing beats seeing the actual hogs. Things to look out for are facial markings, (similar to with horses) such as stars, blazes, dark ‘tear drop’ marks, etc. also their skirts (the hairy bit below the spines) and the band in between. These can be different colours, there can be different marks along the ‘skirt band’ (between skirt and spines), etc. I usually try to sketch the markings, as not only does it help you to observe more closely, but it is also a reminder. My current profile pic is a sort of template, which I use to start the sketch off, which you are welcome to use, if you wish, although you might be able to produce something better yourselves! I have written various things in more detail on the forum about natural identifying. If you are interested I will try to find one of them and send links.
Good luck to you and the hogs.
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