Mating games in the forrest
22nd May 2018 at 5:20 pm #9685
A fwe nights ago I noticed a hedgehog passing a path in a small forrest. Suddenly huffing started about three metres from the path. It was a bit dark and there were dense blueberry bushes.
Tried to call for it and throw food but without any luck. Moved very slowly and was in the end less than a metre from a male trying to impress a female that seemed to be born last year. After a while they moved to be between my feet.
The female was very dismissive. The dense blueberry bushes and uneven ground made it impossible for the male to walk around the female. I took a few photos with flash that didn’t bother them a bit.
Being dismissed the male gradually took loops half a metre away, one metre, two metres.
Then another hedgehog, this time fully grown, came just two metres away. The male was already away from the small female and seemed to try with this bigger probably female. Then my leg and feet muscles were exhausted and I left without svaring the small female that was less than 10 cm from my foot.
Now there aren’t so many hedgehogs seen and maybe it was the small female I feed yesterday.24th May 2018 at 7:20 pm #9730
It’s interesting to hear about the courting hogs there. But, what happened to your trying to stay un-noticed?! Don’t forget that most of the professional wildlife film makers go to great lengths to make sure their presence doesn’t impact, in any way, on the behaviour of the wildlife they are filming, and there are very many excellent wildlife films around. Some of the film-makers started out just like you filming their local wildlife. Sounds like you were combining trying to be very quiet but then trying to call them as well! I think you will find it very rewarding when you find you can film the hogs without needing to try to attract them at all.
But back to the courtship ‘dance’. The females do tend to look a bit dismissive. In a book called ‘Hedgehogs’ written by Pat Morris, he says “…. ‘Courtship’ is a grandiose term for what is actually a rather ill-tempered and seemingly tedious affair ….”. But it can be funny when they meet obstacles on the way. I had one female who moved up very close to a very large flower pot and the male just incorporated the pot into his circle! Sounds like those there were doing something similar. I have also noticed, on occasion, that they will transfer their attentions to a larger (probably more mature) female which they may think is more worthy of their attention.
Hopefully the reason there aren’t so many hogs around is that they are hiding away somewhere having hoglets. That would be good. Happy hog watching and filming!
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