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Resident Hedgehogs

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Resident Hedgehogs

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    For past few weeks we have had several hedgehogs visit us, however for the last 6 days we have only had one very large one/small one visit us each night. Is this normal behaviour?


    I’ve had 5 different hedgehogs visiting regularly for weeks. Then suddenly, it was only one – and now none! I’m very worried, but I’ve been told by different knowledgeable sources that this can be absolutely normal. I hope that they will return soon, that they have been busy in other gardens etc. I keep putting food out and have the camera on – just in case I can catch them again. I’ve only bought my wildlife camera in May and I don’t have any comparison of what my bunch has been up to in the last years! Hopefully I’ll see them again, soon! And good luck to you!

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    Hi SnMuss and BobsMum

    Try not to worry too much. I know with hogs it’s easy to think of all the bad things that might have happened to them, but missing hogs is a problem which often happens and there can be all sorts of reasons for it. Mine are all missing at the moment as well, despite them normally being regular visitors. It’s possible that you might not see them again before hibernation, now, but hopefully at least some of them will be back next year. The males may even have started hibernating already, with the weather being so strange and it’s getting to the time when some males hibernate anyway. Males tend to hibernate earlier than the females (no hoglet rearing duties) and return from hibernation earlier.

    I’m still putting food out every night in case and it sounds a good idea that you do, too. Especially don’t forget to leave water out all day every day. Every now and then I am catching sight of a hog on one of my cameras, so I wouldn’t want it to turn up and find no food and water.


    We have 2 hedgehog’s in the garden, I am putting out a bit of food out at night, when we have wet weather(like last night) what is the best way to keep the dogfood dry I will try them on Spikes hedgehog food as well,

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    Hi Wren23

    Some people make boxes which the hogs can feed inside. The only problem about that is some hogs don’t seem to like going inside to eat. I use a sheet of perspex, resting on 2 and 3 litre earth filled flower pots at each corner with bricks to hold it down. That way the hogs can still feel as if they are eating outside. You could equally use a sheet of wood or similiar, but the perspex has the advantage of being able to see through it.


    Thank you , put some food out after the rain we had in Essex, & the hedgehog came out within the hour of 10pm-10.50pm


    We have 3 hedgehogs tonight, I resident in the hog house, but a big male accompanied by a small female who wouldn’t leave him alone, climbing on his back etc.. not sure what’s going on?


    What is the difference in the male & female, as we have a big hedgehog under our hedge.

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    Hi Wren23

    The following are a copy of some notes I wrote in another post a while back about about telling male from female. We are getting a bit late in the year to see the behaviours, so well, but it will give you the idea of how to tell the difference. Some of the males may be beginning to hibernate now.

    Male or Female

    You can’t reliably tell male from female by size. Some females are bigger than some males.

    Males have a ‘blob’ roughly mid abdomen, about where you would expect a belly button to be, which can sometimes look a bit like a fifth appendage. So if one conveniently scratches in front of the camera and you can see that, it’s a male. You can also sometimes see underneath them on video, especially if they get up on their legs a bit, although If one is particularly furry underneath you can’t always see for certain.

    You might get the opportunity to tell from their behaviour. The males circle the females during ‘courtship’ whilst the female is within the ‘circle’ and turns round and round, huffing as she goes, so that her face is roughly facing his and he is unable to get to the rear of her. This circling and huffing can continue for hours. It sometimes makes you wonder how they ever manage to produce any hoglets with all the time they waste circling!

    Mature females often start the circling process with a pitter patter of their feet (sometimes described as looking a bit like jig) and tend to go backwards. They huff at the same time, usually in time to the jigging. You can often hear the huffing from a fair way off and that is the sound people often used to hear before ever seeing any hogs, and wonder what what on earth it was.
    The males tend to be more aggressive and roll each other up if they meet. They don’t normally roll up a female except very rarely, seemingly by mistake. The females might on occasion nudge males or other females, but not usually anywhere near as roughly as the males will. Some of that might depend a bit on the character of individual hedgehogs.

    The males tend to return from hibernation earlier than the females, so that you might find that most of those around earlier in the year are males. Adult males also tend to hibernate earlier than females so likewise those adults around later are more likely to be females. Young ones may hibernate later than both.

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    Hi Lollypop

    I thought I’d replied to your post, but it hasn’t appeared – but you might eventually get this twice.

    It sounds most likely that the small one is a young male rather than a female and the large one a female.


    Loving that we have one hedgehog that visits every evening. Well, I assume it’s the same one every evening, I believe it is. Named him Harry, no points for originality and now the evenings are drawing in he visits earlier, usually before 8pm. Not many houses around us that he can access their gardens so very pleased he found us in the hole in the gate made for our 2 cats.
    I assume he has been drinking well from the cat water bowl outside that I refill daily and now he has a good meal from the bowl of cat biscuits we leave out for him each evening. He really wasn’t bothered with the hedgehog biscults, neither were the cats but all are very happy with the cat biscuits.
    One evening with the french doors open we even found him in the kitchen, twice, munching cat biscuits from their kitty biscuit tumbler dispenser. The cats seem happy to share. Luckily cat biscuits are not fishy.
    Also very pleased that have never found a slug or snail on the garden, though maybe should be careful how much we feed him? He will eat a handful of biscuits each evening possibly more if the house doors are open. Chillier nights mean he isn’t popping in now though I do go out to check on him.
    How much should they eat or I be putting out for him?

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    Hi pipkin

    Lovely that you have a hog visitor there. I would play the food quantity ‘by ear’. If he finishes it all, maybe offer a bit more and if there’s lots left a bit less. But you wouldn’t want to be reducing amounts too much this time of year, as he is likely to go and hibernate soon. Occasionally one will decide not to hibernate, in which case just continue to feed him (and provide water, of course) – bearing in mind that the wild food won’t be so easy to come by in the middle of winter. A wild hog is unlikely to overeat on the supplementary food we offer.


    Hi Hic

    I’ve also done the same, before they were under an old plastic chair with back cut off.. but as the rain comes in it’s too high to keep it dry. So I’ve got old plastic lid from storage box resting on upturned pots and brick on top.. lower to ground but they can come and go freely from all sides, they don’t like going into a box to eat I’ve found.

    I’ve also got a top up bowl if needed.. when all gone I go and fill them back up.

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    Hi WildlifeWonder

    Glad to hear that you are using the ‘shelter’ method as well. It’s also useful for deterring cats if the sheet is big enough, although there is sometimes one here which will still crawl under on its belly! Looks very uncomfortable!

    But yes, I had a hog a while back who visited for about 5 years – lovely old girl. But I never saw her go into a box of any type – even if it had food in it. But some others are the same.


    Thank you, I certainly don’t want to underfed him especially at this time of year.

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