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  • #28528

    Hi All,
    New to the forum because I have a pretty basic question. I’ll come to that in a moment, but I’m enjoying the stories and advice.

    Firstly, I have seen two quite large hedgehogs in the garden last week, they were making some odd noises which is what made me look. Secondly, I found quite a small one a few nights ago, well my dog did, but she just had a sniff and left it alone. It was the fact that it was small that I decided to leave some cat food in a new hog-house I’d made. For two consecutive nights, the food had disappeared. I suspected cats so I made an additional chicane but the food still disappeared and I mean licked clean! Now I suspect squirrels, we have three in the oak tree.

    Here’s the question; has anyone had squirrels scoffing the cat food?

    I think I need a camera to be completely sure.

    Thanks for your thoughts in advance.


    It probably is hedgehogs eating the food. I put out 2 dishes of food every night and they’re empty in the morning. They also need clean water putting out.

    I’m sure the experts will be along soon but if the hoglet is very small it might need weighing to see if it’s a good weight for hibernation. I had to weigh the hoglets resident in my garden, kitchen scales and a shoe box came in handy.

    I think I am right in saying that if you are using the house as a feeding station they are less likely to use it for hibernation but as I said expert advice will be along soon I am sure.


    Thanks Jackie.

    I have two other hog-houses which I had offered up as accommodation for new inhabitants, neither seems to be occupied just yet. The food-house is made up of an old planter which I’ve covered in bark but left no bedding, just a plate of food and a dish of water. I should mention that the cat food is meat in jelly, in pouches.

    I think I’ll invest in a wildlife camera.


    Hi All,
    Well I set up my new Campark video camera.
    First shot was of a black cat sniffing around, but with my new improved chicane there was no chance of it getting in the house.
    I then got several excellent shots of a large hedgehog wandering around then entering the house!
    Next shots were of a mouse and when it got light I saw the squirrel.
    Therefore I’m fairly sure my resident hedgehog is the one that’s taking the food.
    Happy days

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    Hi Khalif and welcome to the Forum.

    I was going to say, if a the bowl was licked clean it was probably not a hog – but most likely a cat which tend to lick the bowls clean. But now the cat can’t get in – perhaps squirrels lick the bowls clean as well! If it was early in the morning, at least a hog would still get a chance to get the food first. Brilliant news that you saw a hog going in there, too.

    I’m slightly worried about the noises you say the hogs were making. The female is quite noisy during courtship, but I would hope they aren’t courting at this time of year! That is a sort of rythmical repeated huffing noise which she makes as the male circles her. Is that the sort of thing you heard or did it sound like wheezing or a smokers cough? If so, one of the hogs could have a chest infection, such as lungworm and might need cecking out.

    If you are worried at all you could have a chat with your nearest hog carer/rehabilitator, explain it to them and take their advice. You can get details of the nearest ones from BHPS on 01584 890801

    Good luck with the hogs. Hopefully they are o.k. But be aware that they might disappear to hibernate soon. Meanwhile, happy hog watching.


    Thanks Nic,

    The fact that the bowl was licked clean did concern me that it was a cat. I would say that it is now impossible to get in my upturned planter with three tunnel-turns and two roof tiles on top!

    But again this morning, the bowl was totally empty. The video showed the hog entering the house, coming out just a minute later, so something’s amiss.
    Camera back in place tonight so I’ll be watching closely again.

    The sound the two large hogs were making was like a grunting, snorting sound. This was about a month ago, maybe six weeks. My first impression was that they were mating.

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    Hi Khaliff

    That’s a relief re. the sounds they were making. Grunting, snorting noises sound quite normal, possibly two males, too. Not always easy to tell with descriptions.

    The only thing about cameras is that there is a slight delay between clips – often enough for something to get in our out of somewhere without being seen. Leads to all sorts of mysteries! Not to mention suggestions of hogs wearing invisibility cloaks!


    I’ve been checking the camera an hour after the food goes out at about 10pm. The food is either scoffed or mostly eaten. The good news is that the only visitor is quite a big hog.
    Therefore, I’m happy that I’m only feeding and watering hedgehogs at the moment.

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    Hi Khalif

    That’s great news that you aren’t feeding the local cat population!

    That hog is out and about late! You might find you have a non-hibernator there. If so, it’s fine to just keep offering food and water.

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