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Hog running laps for hours

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Hog running laps for hours

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  • #24374

    Hello hedgehog lovers

    I have a hog visiting my back yard since 7th May. It arrived around 10:10pm and runs laps around the yard for up to two hours. It occasionally stops for water or to eat cat biscuits. Does anyone know why it runs in circles for so long? I’ve read stuff about it being a mating thing but its just one hog on their own.


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    Hi Mightyhogs

    It’s difficult to know exactly what’s happening without a bit more detail. But there is some behaviour of circling reported in Pat Morris’ Hedgehogs’ book where a hog, on its own, will run round a circular track of 10 to 15 metres in diameter ‘without evident boredom or self-consciousness’. This can apparently go on for an hour or more.

    When the book was written the reason for this was unknown, but there was a suggestion that it could possibly have been caused by exposure to chemicals or an ear infection. I’m not sure whether that’s what you’re describing, but if it is it’s a known behaviour. Someone else, might know some more up-to-date information about that.

    I sometimes get a hog here who tears around into the feeding area, maybe grabs a quick bite to eat (but not always) and dashes off again the other side, but then may appear again a short while later, etc. I always think of that as ‘patrolling’ and that he (always a male) is maybe checking to see whether there are any females around. My garden doesn’t have an enormous area where a hog could run round and round, anyway.

    The courtship circling would involve a female as well as a male. Where the male circles round the female as she huffs and turns round and round. But sometimes if she is against an obstacle, he will go round the obstacle as well. That can go on for hours, but your description doesn’t sound like that.

    I wasn’t sure from your post, whether this only happened on one night, or whether the hog is repeatedly doing this on different nights. In any event, I would be inclined to contact your nearest hog carer/rehabilitator (you can get contact details from BHPS on 01584 890801) and see what they say, in case the hog is unwell/has an ear infection, etc.


    Hi Mightyhogs,

    as far as I’m aware, no formal research has been done into this. Part of the issue seems to be that it isn’t witnessed very often. Do you, per chance, have a video?

    As Nic has already mentioned, early suggestions included some inner ear imbalance or poisoning. More recently, Amazing Grace Rescue was featured on the Saving Britain’s Hedgehogs mini series and they have apparently found infestation with ear mites can cause hogs to run in circles. Hence, I would echo Nic’s suggestion that it would be good to get the hog to a carer to be checked over if at all possible.



    Hi both

    Thanks very much for getting back to me and your advice. The hedgehog turns up every night and will run around the back yard for at least an hour – it runs around the perimeter of the yard and doesn’t appear to be unbalanced with an ear infection or something. It feels more like it’s patrolling around / has lots of energy it needs to get rid of! I have a video which i have uploaded to youtube



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