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Male feeding female?

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Male feeding female?

  • This topic has 5 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Avatar photoNic.
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  • #42460

    We were delighted to see our three-legged female hedgehog “Pegleg” emerge successfully from hibernation despite her disability. A couple of weeks ago we saw her being wooed by “Blotchy” one of our regular male visitors. Pegleg is very nervous when leaving her nest box, but our camera picked up some shots of Blotchy visiting her at dawn. One shot appears to show them meeting in the doorway of her box. She didn’t look intimidated and they interacted face-to-face for some time. Is it possible he was feeding her?

    Avatar photo

    Hi Spinyfriend

    It’s lovely to hear that Pegleg successfully survived hibernation. I suspect Blotchey was trying to get into the box or encourage Pegleg out, so that he could do the ‘courtship dance’ successfully (i.e. the courtship circling which they do). Good old Pegleg for standing her ground! If she’s lost one of her legs, hiding in the box entrance seems a good tactic to avoid unwanted attention! With only 3 legs she may not be too keen on getting involved in seemingly endless circling activities, which can go on for hours.

    Do you know how Pegleg lost her leg?


    Thanks Nic. Here’s Pegleg’s story:

    Last autumn we noticed one of our hedgehogs really struggling to walk, leaning over at every step as she dragged herself to the feeding box. Eventually we saw that her right rear foot was missing, just a jagged stump left. We agonised over what to do. If we find an abandoned hoglet here, we usually take it to the vet for a once-over, and if they think it will survive they take it to a sanctuary nearby. However, I thought it most likely that if I took this hedgehog to the vet they would just put her down. I couldn’t bring myself to dig her out of her nest box in the daytime. In the end I decided to let nature take its course.
    Surprisingly, we saw her struggling to the feeding box every night, and slowly getting better. This went on for eight weeks, some time after the others had hibernated. Eventually she stopped coming, and we thought she’d either hibernated or was dead.
    So great joy when she reappeared in early April. We can now see that her leg has healed to a neat round stump but she still can’t walk very well. Blotchy circled her on the doormat one night, but she didn’t look pleased and I think she got away. We have put a new feeding box a little closer to her nest box, and she’s using it.
    I wonder how she’ll cope with motherhood though?

    Avatar photo

    Hi Spinyfriend

    That’s really interesting about Pegleg. Nature is amazing! Although she was lucky it didn’t get infected. I completely understand your dilemna. Some vets may be more likely to put such a hog down, or even amputate part of a leg, which could have made it even harder to cope than with a peg leg. But I think I might be inclined to go straight to a hog sanctuary/hospital/rehabilitator in such circumstances, as they may be able to give antibiotics if necessary. But the best course of action is not always clear. There are sometimes pros and cons.

    The important thing is that things turned out well for Pegleg which is brilliant. She may become better at walking as she gets more practice, but I agree, motherhood may not be for her. Female hogs have to pretty much co-operate for mating to be successful so she would need to be able to get into the right position – which may or may not be possible for her. It would be interesting to know if hogs like Pegleg ever do manage to successfully produce and rear hoglets.

    I hope Pegleg continues to do well. Happy hog watching!


    Thanks Nic, it’s good to know that Pegleg could decline to mate if she doesn’t want to. I’ll keep watching her. I have seen her a few times feeding from the new feeding box closer to her nest, usually at dusk, before the big fellas come out and start lumbering around. I’ll keep you posted.

    Avatar photo

    Hi Spinyfriend

    Well, the males may still be interested in her, but hopefully she’ll manage to learn some tricks to avoid them if she wants to. Sounds a good plan of hers to get there before the big boys visit! Female hogs seem to be quite clever like that!

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