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How do we tell the age and relationship of hedgehogs

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings How do we tell the age and relationship of hedgehogs

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    We have had hogs in the garden for the last two years
    Firstly we had a mum and baby and now we have at least 4 hedgehogs that eat in our garden most nights.
    We have seen 4 together at one time and mostly we have 3 eating out of the same bowl but we can hear another in the border.Or another is eating out of the other bowl.across the garden.
    Only very occasionally do we see all 4 together in close proximity
    One is a very large hedgehog (We call him dad) He tends to be solitary and eats out of the bowl furthest away ftom the kitchen
    Then there are two (maybe three) small ones about the same size that eat together quite often
    Joining them later is a slightly larger one
    We call the middle sized one mum as she often has a small baby (or two) with her.
    We have 3 cameras in the garden but they are taking photos from about 8.30 pm until after 4 am every night . Trying to work out who is whom is really hard/
    Also I have no idea how healthy they are we have stopped feeding them meal worms as we have just found out how bad they are but how do we tell if they are fed well enough.
    We give them about 160 gms of Ark Hedgehog food a night and there is never anything left in the morning.

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    Hi Suecowp

    It’s really good to hear about all the hogs there. In answer to your question, the answer is you can’t really! However:

    It is unlikely that a family would stay together in the long term. They are solitary animals. The males don’t take any part in the raising of the hoglets. One litter of hoglets can even have more than one Father.

    In my experience, a male is unlikely to share a feed bowl with another male hog unless it is a fairly young one. All hogs seem to tolerate youngsters up to a certain size sharing a bowl with them, whether they are their offspring or not. So it isn’t really possible to say they are offspring of the adult they are eating with. Once they reach a certain size the gloves are off! Having said that, some females will share bowls when they’re older. But I have found that females are choosy about which other adult females they will share with, happily sharing with one hog but being very intolerant of another and nudge it out of the way. Because I was able to identify individuals, I have seen one hog (possibly related) is always tolerated and another is never tolerated. Hoglets seem to like sharing bowls, either with another hoglet or an adult, even if there is another bowl available.

    I wrote some information about how to identify hogs, which you might be interested in, at:
    It can be very rewarding identifying the hogs naturally.

    And how to tell male from female

    Re. the feeding. First of all, what we feed should be supplementary. But, in this exceptionally hot, dry, weather some hogs are finding it difficult to find natural food and especially water. It is best if water is provided 24 hours a day. Also, with the weather as it is, if the food is all gone in the morning I would leave a little bit more out, although, of course it may be birds or something else which is finishing it off? In the long term the best thing to do is to improve the habitat in your garden for the hogs and encourage other people living nearby to do the same. There are some tips at:

    It isn’t really possible to advise re. Weights or amounts of food, because of the variability in habitat in different areas, as well as whether other people are feeding in the area as well.

    Good luck and happy hog watching!

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