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Is it too hot to fight?

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Is it too hot to fight?

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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    After all the biffing we’ve seen in the garden, over the last few days, we’ve just had the unusual sight of adult males feeding peacefully side by side at the food dish and another eating nearby!
    One of them is the “top” hog but after he gave both of the others a cursory biff on their arrival, he couldn’t be bothered after that and allowed another male to eat right alongside him.
    A few nights ago we also spotted our resident wood mouse coming to the drinking bowl whilst a large hog was drinking. We’ve heard that hogs eat young mice so we held our breath. To our amazement, the mouse went on tiptoe and drank from the bowl facing the hog. Sadly we had no camera to hand. Would have been a great picture!


    Always the way Marion, you’ve never got your camera to hand when you need it. Haven’t seen our wood mice for a while, but they don’t bother too much about the hogs, it’s the cats they worry about!


    Further to my comments about the male hogs no longer bothering to fight, this has gone on now for a number of days. A token biff here and there but mostly peaceful eating side by side from the same dish.
    However, I have also noticed that they can’t be bothered with the females either! We have two rather feisty ladies that visit each evening. As soon as each one realises males are in the vicinity they rush up huffing and puffing and jigging about and on occasions, even poking their snouts right into the males’ faces!
    The men take no notice and carry on eating and drinking and eventually escape under the gate!
    Are we ever going to have hoglets???!!!


    Being a newcomer to all this hedgehog watching, how you can you tell the difference between the females and the males, please? Is it from their behaviour, or size?

    I think I have a male hog visiting my garden as it seems quite territorial and nudges a smaller hog out of the way but I wondered if there was a way to tell!


    Hello Jeanette – welcome to the site if this is your first time.
    Generally, I identify my hogs by their behaviour. If they take a run at another hog and start biffing and moving him about then they are males. The “victim” will usually roll into a ball.
    The females tend to ignore each other but if approached by another hog and they start to make jerky, often backwards movements and you can hear them “huffing”, they will be females and the other will be male. I’ve never seen a female roll up when approached by another hog.
    Sounds as if yours is a male!
    It’s harder to tell if you only have one hog at a time, but if you have some low level lighting in the garden and binoculars, you can sometimes see different markings and patches on their faces.
    We have 7 or more hogs coming regularly and I have compiled a description list so I can remember who is who!


    Hi Marion

    Thank you. Yes, it could be a male as he biffed a smaller one which curled up and stayed in a ball.

    I have a trail camera but even then it is hard to see if it is the same hog coming and going between 11.30pm and 4.30am or if it is different hogs. I capture a hog/s drinking water and it stays there for a very long time drinking. I now leave about 5 or 6 bowls all round the garden and now two bowls of food (spread out to stop fighting) and they are all gone by morning. I like the saucer on the top idea as that stops the cat and also (if I am still up!) I can hear that I have a hog visitor.

    I like the idea of low level lighting and binoculars so I will try that and see if I can monitor more closely and see how many visitors I am getting. I can feel the need for a notebook too so I can keep track!

    Thank you

    Avatar photo

    Hi Jeanette,

    My profile pic is an idea of a template you can use to draw hogs faces, which you are welcome to use if it’s any help.

    Sometimes if a hog scratches in front of the cam you can tell whether they are male or female. The males have a ‘blob’ roughly mid-abdomen. You can sometimes see this from the side if they are walking up on their legs. The females do occasionally biff another hog, but not usually as aggressively as the males do. The courtship is a fairly reliable way to tell – as Marion described above and then the male circles the female as she turns round. It can go on for hours!

    The best way to watch hogs is with binoculars. You see so much more than with just a cam and you can get a really close up view of them. The only thing is, it’s easier if all the bowls are in view. If you leave the light on you will probably find the hogs get used to it. It’s if is goes on and off that they sometimes become more wary. As well as the facial markings, you can check the shade and colouring of the skirt (the fur beneath the spines) and band between, colouring of spines, etc. Sometimes there are sort of ‘bars’ down the skirt and some hogs have naturally much paler spines than others.

    If you keep sketches of the hogs, and descriptions as Marion suggests, you will find that you can recognise them year after year.

    Good luck.


    Thank you, Nic

    That is really useful and I will keep an eye out – I never knew there was so much to Hedgehogs!

    I am still using trial and error to see where is the best place to leave the food and at the moment, point of entry to my garden near the side gate, seems best but does not make a good, comfortable viewing spot for myself!

    Can you leave food in the middle of an open area/ lawn or do they only like to rummage round the edges and boundaries of a garden?

    Avatar photo

    Hi Jeanette

    I feed the hogs on a patio within yards of the house. I leave the outside light on whilst I am up to watch them. I watch from inside the house with binoculars (inside lights off, or at least dimmed – outside on), so they don’t know I’m there. (Ideally you want binoculars that will focus fairly close, for this). There is ‘cover’ within 1 to 3 yards in each direction. The feeding area is at the opposite end of the garden to where the gate is, so it gives them the opportunity of doing a bit of foraging on the way to and from the feeding area. Although, the occasional more timid ones do approach through the flower beds, most just head straight down the path! Always makes me laugh! They seem perfectly happy with this arrangement.

    Sometimes they head straight back down the path after feeding, but other times rummage around in the borders. Recently (even before the hot weather) I have started to leave longer patches in my ‘lawn’ and since then the hogs have been spending a lot more time foraging there as well. The same hog can revisit the feeding area several times within a few hours.

    If you’re going to change the feeding location, I would move it gradually, and/or start putting some in your new chosen location as well.

    You will find there is always something new to learn about hogs and before you know it, your life will be completely taken over by them!

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