Is this behaviour normal?
27th August 2019 at 10:13 pm #17641
I made a new hedgehog feeding station from a plastic storage box and put a partition inside to try to make it difficult for the next-door neighbour’s cat from getting inside to eat the hedgehog food.
The hedgehogs have been coming and going in there seemingly with no problem for a few days.
But tonight, I was watching two of the hedgehogs in the box and when one of them went to leave he seemed to get stuck and didn’t move for a while. By this time, the other hedgehog wanted to leave the box but couldn’t because the first one was blocking the exit.
I got worried and went outside, removed the lid and partition from the box and gently lifted the first hedgehog out and placed him on the lawn, then I left them alone.
Obviously, I frightened the poor little things, the first one curled up and the other kind of tucked his head in a bit and neither of them have moved for over 45 minutes. They were both perfectly fine before that happened.
Is it normal for them to stay still for so long and is it likely that might not come back again now that I’ve scared them?27th August 2019 at 11:12 pm #17647
The first hedgehog moved after about an hour but the second one stayed inside the feeding box, completely still for almost an hour and a half. He eventually turned around, ate some more food then left. I’m very relieved but worried that the experience may have deterred them from coming back to their feeding box.28th August 2019 at 9:57 am #17665
It isn’t unusual for hogs to stay rolled up for quite a long time. Initially, it may be that one of them wasn’t happy having the other one with it in the box and biffed it, causing it to put it’s spines up/roll up and get stuck in/near the door way, so that neither could get out. They would have eventually sorted it out if you’d left them (although it may have taken a while for them to get out, as the biffer may have re-biffed the hog, every time it started to unroll/put it’s spines down) but it probably won’t stop them from returning – or at least the one in the box, if it ate before leaving. The other one, who potentially was biffed by the other hog, might not be quite so keen, but probably will return – but might not be so keen on going back in the box with the other one. Having said that, some hogs seem to return night after night, despite being biffed and re-biffed.
You might like to make another feeding box. Hedgehogs are solitary animals and some take great exception to having to share a box with another! Or maybe make another box with two exits?28th August 2019 at 11:23 am #17672
Hi, can I also add, I’ve noticed when you first meet a hog and it curls up, if you hunch down and and put some food down near the head end, it will smell the food and un curl. However, when you stand up it frightens them, even when they see your shadow as you look enormous to them. Best wishes.28th August 2019 at 1:40 pm #17673
Thanks for replying. I wish I’d left them alone now, as like you said, they probably would’ve sorted themselves out eventually. But at the time I was so worried that he had got stuck and couldn’t get out.
I have a trail camera watching the box through the night and some hedgehogs did come to feed after but I’m not sure if it was the same ones or not as we usually have four that visit, they’re all getting so big now that it’s difficult to tell them apart.
I will get another box for them and two exits is a good idea. Thanks for your help 🙂28th August 2019 at 1:43 pm #17674
Maybe I should’ve tried putting a little bit of food just in front of him, that might’ve enticed him out a bit sooner.
Anyway, hopefully it won’t happen again 🙂28th August 2019 at 2:16 pm #17675
Hi Anker and RachH72
That thing with the food doesn’t always work. You may just have been lucky, Annker. A lot of hogs would just ignore that and get away as soon as they unroll. I have seen it so many times when hogs have been rolled up right near the food, which sometimes they may have been previously eating, and they unroll and leave despite there still being plenty of food left and the hog who rolled them up having left. It can vary from hog to hog. But probably more often they don’t stay to eat, from what I’ve seen, than they do.
Don’t worry too much RachH72 the hog may have been as worried about the other hog. They will probably be back. They might adjust their timings a little! Or maybe not. They like to be unpredictable, it seems.29th August 2019 at 1:21 am #17690
Hi Nic & RachH72, I was just pointing out the fact that they get frightened when you stand up and when they see a long shadow of a human. Yes, they are unpredictable, I seem to have a new hog in the front garden. I saw it last night and tonight I popped out to give it some treat biscuits. Remembering what you said about shining a torch on it to “freeze it” I went out armed with said torch as well. It stood there, eyes wide open, not bothered by the light and ran off to hide behind a tree trunk. It peeped round one side and seeing I had seen it, it turned round and peeped round the other side. It was quite comical really. I don’t think it’s a regular one as it hasn’t found its way to the feeding station in the back garden. Nothing has been eaten for days, so I’ve been out today and given the box a good cleaning out. I shouldn’t worry too much RachH72, you did what you thought was best at the time and you haven’t harmed them. They’ve found the food so will come back now. Best wishes.29th August 2019 at 11:09 am #17707
Yes, I think humans must be pretty scary to lots of animals!
I think it may have been someone else who said something about torches. Shining them at hogs should not be encouraged and should only be used in an emergency if a hog needs rescuing for some reason. It is probably not so much that the hog wasn’t bothered by it, than it was dazzled by it.
Glad to hear you have a new hog there. It can be quite amusing watching their antics. Probably the best way to watch them is to have an area that is lit, so that they can choose to go into that area or not. Then they will often provide lots of entertainment, what with biffing sessions, courtship circling, etc. I feed near to the house, so that I can see them out of the window, with the room I am in being dark, so they can’t see me and I don’t interfere with any of their interactions. Even so, they often ‘appear’ to be looking at me with those lovely shiny eyes.
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