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Query unusual behaviour

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Query unusual behaviour

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  • #36172

    After over 2 years occupying the same very comfortable hut and having a very predictable routine and timings. ‘Harry’ (a bully boy male about the size of a shoebox) disappeared. I took the opportunity to replace his hut with another identical which I loaded with a similar amount of fresh dried leaves (ex apple trees) and hay. Late last night Harry reappeared and stomped around the garden as though he was high on something naughty. He ignored his old home and two other unoccupied huts. He also ate very little food from the feeding station and disappeared after 20 minutes. Is this normal behaviour? Should I be worried?

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    Hi 3Huts

    It’s hard to be sure from short descriptions on the forum, but it does sound a bit like male hog behaviour when there are females around – especially the more dominant males – when they will often tear round the garden seemingly ignoring everything. I always think of it as ‘being on patrol’. But they do tend to look a bit ‘hyper-active’ in those situations.

    Once the hogs have come out of hibernation they won’t necessarily go back into that box again (or in your case its replacement). If Harry has stayed that long in the same box before, that might have been unusual. Hogs will sometimes even change nests during hibernation time, not least to avoid build up of parasites.

    Normally the male hogs would come out of hibernation earlier than the females (having gone into hibernaton earlier). That gives them the chance to put on a bit of condition before they got involved in wasting a lot of energy circling females and biffing males (as well as tearing around searching for other hogs). But there may be some females around already. Some ‘rescues’ tend to release over-wintered, previously underweight, hoglets once hogs start emerging from hibernation and the weather is nice. But there could also be some females who chose not to hibernate. If non-hibernating hogs have access to sufficient food, even the youngsters will put on weight over winter.

    These are amongst the ways we humans could be inadvertently impacting on hog behaviour. i.e. females normally hibernate later than the males and then emerge from hibernation later. Any female hoglets from the last year which may emerge earlier don’t normally seem to be particularly interesting to the males until later. Although if they have put on weight and size over winter, that might be a different situation.

    But it’s possible that Harry has become more dominant (or wants to be) and is patrolling his range more energetically. Alternatively he was already the dominant one and wants to keep it that way!

    Having said all that, if you are, at any time, worried about a hog you can ring the number (bottom left of this page re. sick or injured hogs). They will be able to give you the number of your nearest hog carers, but you will also be able to explain the behaviour more fully than is possible on the forum.

    Good luck and happy hog watching!


    Nic. Thank you for your very comprehensive reply. We have not seen Harry for a few days now but there is plenty available clean accommodation available if He wants it and we will keep the night camera working in hope and expectation. Regards,


    Can someone please help me?
    I have had a hog visit for weeks in April in my front garden, I made a hole In the back garden gate, then he started coming down the side of the house so I moved the feeding station into the back garden.

    When I had a look at him he was absolutely jumping with fleas so I took matters into my own hands and bathed him with a gentle baby soap. Rinsed him well with lukewarm water and popped him back outside but he still had fleas.

    Inorder for him to recover I was going to give him regular water therapy sessions so I bricked the hole in the gate which is the only access point, to temporarily use my garden as a ‘hog hospital’ for him.

    I gave him lots of meaty food, water, a sturdy wooden hedgehog house, all he needed to recover while I was planning on giving him regular treatments for parasites. But that same night he climbed over the gate, (it’s 2.5ft metal sturdy mesh, easy to climb) and so I found out in the morning where he was nowhere to be seen in my enclosed garden.

    He was nowhere to be seen for 8 days, until he turned up to my front garden for one night to eat where I had put food out ( I have only ever seen one hedgehog on the camera and in every shot it’s looked the same and I know it’s him because he has the same head shape + a row of claws missing on one of his feet from day 1)

    I haven’t seen him since may 1st and he’s stopped visiting my garden, I live near a nature reserve.

    What’s going on? Could the climbing of the fence somehow disturbed him?

    Thanks 🙂

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    To start with it is not a good idea to block a wild hedgehog into a garden and the hedgehog, once it had escaped may have decided it was not a good place to be, bearing in mind the treatment it had received. It is always best to leave any treatment of hedgehogs to experienced carers/rehabilitators which you do not say you are.

    Having said that, hedgehogs do tend to ‘disappear’ from certain locations from time to time. Males, in particular, have large ranges and he may be concentrating on another part of his range – especially if there is good habitat available in the area. It’s possible he may eventually return if he can easily get into and out of your garden. Alternatively, if there is one hedgehog in an area there are likely to be others as well, so one of those might also visit. Although, bear in mind that by trying to stop one hedgehog getting out, you may have been stopping other hedgehogs from getting in.

    One of the main objects of Hedgehog Street is to try to improve access to gardens for the hedgehogs by making hedgehog holes – so that they have more available accessible habitat in which to forage. So as many hedgehog holes as possible are good. Ideally we would also all be making our gardens as hedgehog friendly as possible so that the hedgehogs can rely on finding wild food for themselves rather than relying on any artificial food we might offer them.

    Let us know if he returns.


    Hi nic,

    Thank you for giving me some advice etc, I do also live near a huge country park? Hedgerows, brambles, long grass etc, but have only had one hog visit for a few weeks but I haven’t seen him in two months, I have cameras set up and a constant feeding station, yet no activity

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