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Signs that a female may be nesting?

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Signs that a female may be nesting?

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    Hi all. Not been on again for a while. We’ve had plenty of sightings & signs in the garden this year which is great & we feed them cat food in a feeding station.At 4.20am this morning I saw a BIG Hog trundling along with bits of grass,etc & it went into one of the hog houses we have in the garden. I went out half an hour later & it was just disappearing into the house again & near the entrance are dead leaves from a shrub that isn’t near the hog house so it certainly looks like it could be setting up home.If its not a female setting up surely its too early to be preparing the house for winter isn’t it? I haven’t even cleaned the 2 houses out yet that we have & obviously I won’t touch this one now.Any thoughts would be welcome. On a sad note we had a Hog run over a few houses from us on Saturday so at least we know we still have more.


    Hi Ann,

    It certainly sounds like it could be a nesting female to me; if it is, she probably won’t leave the nest for a few days. You could always place a small twig across the entrance just to see if there are any comings and goings.

    Sorry to hear about the hog that was run over, one of our regulars Boris has gone missing, so I am hoping that he hasn’t met the same fate!



    Thanks Penny. I have put a twig across & it hasn’t moved yet. Do you know if they usually build a nest just as they are about to have the babies? If anything else happens I will update the page. Thanks again.


    Hi Ann,

    From what I have seen, building the nest seems to be a very last minute thing, with lots of ripping up grass and dashing around often during daylight. If it is a female with babies, you may just be able to here them ‘peeping’ or ‘chirping’. Hedgehog Bottom rescue have some very useful recordings online.


    Hi Ann
    We too have what I believe to be a nesting pregnant female. She spent all day yesterday gathering and building. Apart from making sure she has plenty of food and water, any tips? I am resisting the temptation to take a close look at the nest, but am hopeful we’ll see babies soon. Any your end yet?



    Hi LizzyK. I’m still unsure if she is in there! I’ve been putting sticks at the entrance every night,some nights they have moved & other nights they haven’t.Night before last one of the sticks had gone halfway into the tunnel entrance so surely someone had gone in there then? The feeding station hasn’t been used for a week or more by anyone, I only have dried cat food in there at the moment as I kept wasting the wet when it wasn’t eaten.We did lose a hog on the road as I said in my first post but I saw the big one after that but it does seem to have gone really quiet,not even seen any poo.I did gently lift the lid a few days ago & it is full of material (it had some straw in that I had put in earlier in the year but this was full to the top) but I didn’t poke about in there.Luckily its easy to look at as its built of brick (it used to house electric to a pond we had!) & has a wooden lid on it.


    Not seen my male hog for. 2 weeks

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    Hi Sammy9

    I know it is really worrying when the hogs disappear – there are so many hazards out there for them. But at this time of year the males do seem to go off exploring, or something. The regular boss hog here hasn’t visited for more than 2 weeks now. The same thing has happened other years, and he has eventually returned, so I don’t worry quite so much any more.


    Hi everyone. For several weeks an adult hedgehog has been sleeping in my hog house during the day, and coming out every night to feed, but he/she hasn’t used the house for the last 5 days. A hog has visited the garden at least 2 nights since this “disappearance”, but I get the feeling he’s not my regular, as his behaviour seems quite different. I leave a variety of foods in a feeding station, and also extra mealworms in a dish in another part of the garden, and everything has always been eaten every night. However, this most recent visitor has eaten only the mealworms in the dish – don’t think he goes into the feeding station, as the mealworms and all other food in there is untouched. Also, he’s visited in the early hours instead of the usual 9 – 10 p.m. slot. Really hope my regular’s okay, although of course I’m delighted to have any hogs at all. I’m feeling slightly reassured by what Nic says about them wandering off and then returning, but if this is a new boy, am wondering if he’d move into a nest made by another hog. Does anyone know if they do this?

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    Hi Dizzydog

    You might find the following extract from Pat Morris’s ‘Hedgehogs’ book interesting:

    ‘ … hedgehogs do not always return to the same nest, especially in summer. They may stay somewhere else for several days, then return to a previously used nest.

    Several of our studies have shown that males change their nests more frequently than females, with males using a fresh one almost every day and females staying in the same nest for a week or more. At different times, the same nest may be occupied by a series of different hedgehogs, so it is difficult to say whose nest it was originally. This is how hedgehogs pick up fleas and other parasites left behind by previous visitors. ….. ‘

    I didn’t mention in the post above that whilst some of the ‘regulars’ are missing their visits here, some of the less regular male visitors are calling in from time to time, which might be what is happening there. Although, having said that, I sometimes think hogs like to keep us guessing. One of the females who usually turns up like clockwork soon after 9, didn’t arrive until after midnight the other night.

    I am guessing you haven’t seen all the information regarding mealworms – they don’t have a good ratio of Calcium to Phosphorous which can cause leaching of calcium from the bones leading to Metabolic Bone Disease. This is particularly dangerous for hoglets and whilst all hogs love mealworms, hoglets in particular can become addicted to them and refuse to eat anything else, so it is particularly worrying at this time of year when they are around. Some of the hedgehog rescues are now advising not to feed mealworms at all. It may be a good idea to reduce them gradually.

    This link will take you to a video about Metabolic Bone Disease. You may find the beginning of the video distressing, but it is worth watching so that you can understand what it is all about. Please pass the message on to other hedehogs lovers who may not know about it.


    Hi Nic. As my regular hog is pretty big, I’ve always assumed he is a male so, as you say, he has hopefully just gone wandering for a while. I only installed the hog house last November – too late for it to be used for hibernation though – and he started using it in late June. He has stayed ever since – I’ve watched him leave the house to feed every night – and he recently took in the extra hay that I’d left out for nesting material. I had a quick look in after he went awol, in case he was in trouble, but he wasn’t there. He’s made a super nest, using the hay, paper and leaves I’d put in, and also feathers, moss and bits of my lavender bush that he’d added himself, so hopefully he or someone else will stay for the winter. Didn’t know about the metabolic bone disease, but I was only leaving out a few mealworms nightly, as I did read that they are quite fatty. However, will now certainly stop using them altogether. I’ve been feeding him small quantities of sunflower seed hearts, chopped peanuts, fruit suet pellets and cat biscuits – he loves the biscuits! Didn’t know what else to try, as I had been feeding chicken flavoured cat food in jelly, but about a month ago he stopped eating this completely. However, will start putting it out again – perhaps the new hog will like it. I live in the suburbs (near a busy road), so I don’t know if there are many hedgehogs in the area, although I did spot two in the garden together this spring and the previous one. Thanks for your advice. I’ve had a look online at Pat Morris’s hedgehog book, and am definitely going to get a copy.

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    Hi again Dizzydog

    I love that the hog has been adding lavender to it’s nest! You are so lucky your hog house has been used. He could be a male, but some females can get quite big too.

    Re. the feeding. Out of that lot, I would stick to the cat biscuits and food, especially if they like it, because, although not as bad as mealworms, peanuts and sunflower hearts don’t have a brilliant Calcium/phosphorous ratio either and suet pellets could be too fatty.

    If you are getting the ‘Hedgehogs’ book, try to look out for a new version. When I got mine, there were still various older revisions for sale. Mine was revised edition 2014, but someone told me they thought there might be a newer revision now.


    Thanks, Nic. I liked the lavender touch too – very feng shui!


    Hi all,

    I’ve had a very big Hedgehog feeding in my garden in the last week and a much smaller one. I made a hedgehog house and the big one moved in last night and has been asleep inside all day so I’m very excited. Is it too early for it to be hibernating or might it be a pregnant female?


    Hi All,

    We had 3 hogs this evening, judging by the little one and his behaviour he seems familiar with the the feeding ground. What we would like clarification on, are the two larger hogs, one seems rather susceptible to the little ones clicking however one scurries and squeezes itself past where it the enters the hedgehog house. I would be most grateful, if anyone of you could advise what to do next, as one that had chosen the house has blocked the entrance with it’s prickly self.


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