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Still very active and eating for England!

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Still very active and eating for England!

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #19079

    Good evening fellow hog lovers.
    Well there has been some really interesting posts and great videos on the forum, makes a welcome change to the boring stuff on the tv! I’m loving this forum!
    As all the regulars will know, every morning the first thing I do is retrieve the memory card to check the action from the previous night.
    This mornings video was fab! Both Hetty and Cutie on the patio side by side and I was delighted to see Cutie has grown to almost the same size as Hetty!
    They are easily distinguishable as Cutie has a really light circle of spines that seem to shine on the video footage.
    The increase in size shouldn’t really have come as a surprise, bearing in mind the amount of food that is going.
    And it’s not Big Bruiser because he went for the big sleep a while back. But I have continued to stock all five feeding stations, even though I know I only have Hetty and Cutie still feeding- the way I look at it is if I was going to be eating all night I would want variety in my dining experience!😂
    However, even though Hetty and Cutie were on the patio together, it was clear that they are not best pals! Hetty was pulling the maturity card and really pushing Cutie about. But as Cutie is nearly as big as Hetty , I was pleased to see Cutie was holding ground!
    From the videos I’m pretty certain that both hogs are females, I’d be interested to know if two females would live long term in the same garden. My garden is big enough and full enough to cater for more than one hog, in terms of foraging- but is it a bit like two women in a kitchen? 😂 will one have to move out eventually? Nic Im sure you’ve got the answer to that one?
    I still haven’t worked out how to post my videos yet and as those who read my posts will know, my hubby is not particularly a hog fan! But my son who lives abroad is visiting soon and he is bringing me another computer and more importantly computer knowledge so hopefully it’s just a matter of a few short weeks and I will become the video posting queen!😂 Although I’d have some way to go to match alan’s videos!
    Happy hog watching and best wishes to all! x


    Good evening hettiehog,
    I’m a ‘newbie’ here on the forum, but me and ‘wor lass’ have been hedgehog lovers for many years.
    We have made the obvious mistakes in earlier years, and some more recent ones in later years,.
    But the question is how do you record individual hogs? we recently counted 16 hogs in one night, but obviously some were ‘returnees’ though we find most are ‘once in a night‘ visitors’
    Obviously we don’t want to discourage there visits, but it would be helpfull to ascertain the actual population of our particular area?
    We have obviously found that motion sensors lights discourage some, but not all,.
    There are some ‘ extremely cocky’ hedges who aren’t bothered by lights, cats dogs and on a few occasions, foxes.
    Any advice on viewing, and recording visits would be appreciated.
    Ta, Coley


    Hi Coley
    I’m really not the one to direct those sort of questions at😂 I’m a real technophobe !
    Although I do have a video cam and have recorded the activity of Big Bruiser, Hetty, Cutie the local cats and a wee mouse each night lol and after a while of studying the videos you just start to notice the differences between the hogs. I think your probably right, that some of your hogs are returners. I only realised there were three hogs in my garden when I got the video cam and saw them all together. And I couldn’t believe my luck when I realised they were all residents – one under each shed and one in the hog house! I’m truly blessed!
    As you are if you do really have 18 hogs !😂
    Happy hog watching x


    Hi Coley
    I couldn’t remember where I got my video camera from, so I’ve just looked it up. I bought it online from nature spy – all their profits go to conservation.
    As I didn’t know what I really needed I asked them and they were really informative and helpful, plus the aftersales support was great!
    They have cameras in different price ranges, think mine was about £125 – I know a lot of money! But it was worth every penny and if I could afford another one I wouldn’t hesitate! It’s great fun watching the videos!
    Take care & best wishes x

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    Hi Coley

    Some hogs will return multiple times to feeding areas. I’m not sure if you meant you wanted to find out how to identify individual hogs, but if so, I wrote some notes a while back which you might find useful.

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    Hi Hettihog

    I’m glad to hear that Cutie is doing so well.

    There are all sorts of scenarios with two females. If it’s possible that Cutie is Hetti’s daughter, it may be that she is trying to encourage her to become more independant. Normally females won’t be as aggressive as males and it’s more a case of nudging out of way (rather than full blown biffing and fighting which the males sometimes indulge in). Is that the sort of thing you mean.

    They may not always both have a nest in your garden, they are likely to visit many gardens in a night and might choose to nest in any of them, or any other suitable place nearby. But there is no reason why they shouldn’t both continue to visit to feed, and even feed at the same time. It may be that once Cutie is more independant that Hetti will become more tolerant of her.

    I had lovely old female here, who visited for about 5 years. She was very tolerant of two other female hogs, (who happened to have some similarities with her in colouring, etc. and may or may not have been closely related) but was quite grumpy with another female. But they all arrived and left independantly.

    But hoglets are sometimes inclined to ‘attach’ themselves to other hogs, especially at feeding areas – other hoglets, adults male or female and it may just be that Hetti thinks it’s time that ended. She may be planning on hibernating soon and not want Cutie ‘gate-crashing’ her nest.

    I have found that it’s the young males who normally gradually move on and the young females continue to visit.


    Hi Nic
    Thanks for that very interesting. Yes it’s more a bit of biffing, pushing out the way and on this mornings video a bit of vocal complaining.
    In the early days they would feed literally side by side from the same dish, but not any more! Hetty won’t tolerate Cutie sharing the same dish.
    The reason I think they are both females is due to scrutiny of the videos.
    When they lift their legs up for a scratch, neither look like they have any tackle 😂

    There is no doubt that both are nesting in the garden and that’s what prompted me to ask the question about two females residing in the same garden.
    I have two sheds, both on a very large patio at the top of the garden and quite sheltered from the elements.

    Hetty took up residence a long time ago and she has always been very vocal if the day is too hot or the garden is a bit noisy.
    More recently, Cutie made a nest under the big shed on the other side of the garden. It is evident that Cutie is not quite as adept as Hetty at nest building as you can see a little bit of the straw she has taken for the nest from one end of the shed just poking out and each night Cutie emerges with just a little bit of straw caught on the spikes or it’s trailing behind Plus Cutie always comes out of and returns to the same spot .
    When I get up really early my last glimpse is the hogs disappearing under their prospective shed and I can hear them both settling in under their sheds for the days sleep.
    The only thing I’m unsure about is the resident in the hog house. I think it’s Big Bruiser but as I would not want to disturb I haven’t looked!
    Earlier in the year I filled it with straw, not expecting a resident – the only reason I put the straw in was to keep it dry. As previously Hetty had taken the straw from the hog box to replenish her nest under the shed.

    I think it may be Bruiser but whoever is in there is very large, because although it has catches on to secure it down, one side has come undone and when the occupant moves the lid lifts, so I have covered with a bit of tarpaulin to keep out the elements and secured at the sides with large stones – I don’t want to put anything heavy on top just in case I spoil the space and comfort inside!

    Thanks again for the info, best wishes and happy hog watching. x

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    Hi Hettihog

    Sorry about my wrong spelling of Hetty!

    Males, don’t really have any really obvious ‘tackle’ especially when they are young. The way to tell is that they have a ‘blob’ (fairly small on a youngster) roughly mid abdomen. So another possibility, if Cutie might be a male, is that he might be trying to make advances to Hetty which she might not be ‘amused’ about.

    They sound a right pair of characters! It’s good that Cutie, at least, has her own nest. If she decides to hibernate she might make a better one.


    Hi Nic – oh don’t worry about the spelling of Hettys name the only reason I name them is to make it easier to explain which one Im talking about .
    That’s interesting, I hadn’t realised that such a young hog would make advances to females quite so early but I guess it’s never too early to start practicing your technique lol!
    Bottom line is as long as they are both healthy and survive the winter all the caring, cost and the worry will be worth it and I will be a very happy bunny !
    Thanks again and best wishes x

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    Hi Hettihog

    I completely agree re. the naming. The same with any animal – so much easier than saying the one with ….. and …

    Yes, not saying he would have been making advances, just maybe. I once had a quite large male here, who started making advances to a really quite small female hoglet. I thought she might be frightened of this huge (to her) hog who kept circling her, but she didn’t seem to mind. Of course it was never going anywhere. But it wasn’t a one off, it was repeated over several nights. Always the same hoglet. Must have been a very precocious hoglet! He was one of the males a bit lower down the ‘pecking order’, although most of the other males had already left for hibernation. But, maybe he thought that was the only chance he would get to do a bit of hog ‘dancing’.

    Yes, you’re right, of course. It’s more important that they are fit and well for winter than if they are male or female.


    Good evening Nik, thanks for the link, as usually very informative, we have been identifying hogs by their markings, and I totally agree their faces are very different
    We have had a huge male around here for the last few years, who we named ‘brylcreem boy’ (gawd, I am showing me age) as he had a distinctive dark sheen to his bristles and a light halo around the outer edge of his face and now we have another generation who have the same distinctive colourations.
    Another two questions, do badgers, in your opinion, actually ‘predate’ hogs? While we don’t have badgers around the house, we do have a sett on land we own and wouldn’t want to release hogs in the area of the sett if it would put them in danger.
    2nd ? Is their any way to put medication in the food we put out….worming/flea infestation etc?

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    Hi Coley

    Really pleased to hear you have been identifying the hogs by their natural markings already. To me it seems such a natural thing to do, that I don’t know why more people don’t do it!

    Yes, badgers will kill hedgehogs. Hogs who have been rehabilitated may be at greater risk from this than any possible existing local population. Very often if there are badgers in an area, there won’t be hedgehogs.

    But I am also a bit concerned about why you would be thinking of releasing hedgehogs somewhere other than where they came from. It’s very important that anyone – local rescue/carer/rehabilitator, especially – read this information from BHPS and others:

    It might sound a nice idea to boost the hog population in an area, but it could not only be putting the released hogs at risk, but also the existing population. A local population is likely to settle at a size that a locality can support and adding more could adversely affect that situation. But there is also the question of resistance to various things, which you will read about in the document mentioned above. It’s a complicated issue, but important. It seems not enough carers/rehabilitators are aware of it. They go to a lot of trouble to get hogs well and fit for release and those hogs have the best chance if they go back where they came from, or as near to it as possible. You might like to pass a copy of the document on.

    Re. the medication question. Hedgehogs build up their own natural resistance to parasites to a degree. But, if you are talking about veterinary worming products, it could contribute to building up a resistance to that product. Hedgehogs should only be wormed if it has been ascertained that they actually have a worm problem. That should be done by a properly qualified person who knows about dosages, etc. It would be impossible to guarantee how much each hedgehog got, etc. if putting any substance in food, so could harm the hogs as well as potentially interfering with their natural resistance.

    Re. fleas, ticks, etc. I would just make sure any feeding box/station where more than one hog is visiting, so there’s the potential for passing on parasites, are kept clean, so eggs don’t get a chance of being passed on. Wooden ones can be cleaned with boiling water which should kill any parasite eggs. Also nest boxes at the appropriate times and when sure they have been vacated by hogs.

    Possibly not what you want to hear!

    Good luck with Brylcreem Boy I had one visiting once who was called Barenose – for obvious reasons!


    Good evening Nic,
    What is good for the hogs is what I like to hear, relocation isn’t a problem, I lift them off a busy A1 road and let them out on the quiet back road leading to our land, a matter of about half a mile.
    I was considering letting a few out around our caravan, in order to feed them (no more mealworms, I promise) but I know there are badgers in the oak woodland adjacent to our property, so scratch that..
    What I am wondering about, currently, is the disappearance of our hog population? We have had them appearing in groups and individually all of Spring and Summer, but in the last few weeks they seem to have totally disappeared?.
    Surely it’s a bit early for mass hibernation?

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    Hi Coley

    First of all, it isn’t too early for hibernation. Many of the hogs will have started hibernation quite a while ago, and probably most will be disappearing soon. Hibernation is a complicated process and not only triggered by one thing, i.e. weather conditions. But also food availability in the wild, etc.

    Regarding rescuing hogs from the A1. I can see that your intention is to try to help the hogs, but it really isn’t a good idea to move them out of the area with which they are familiar. If you found a hog actually on or about to cross the road, fair enough, move it to a safe space nearby, within the immediate area. But not half a mile away.

    To quote from the leaflet referred to previously “ …. Hedgehogs build a cognitive map of their home range and the environment will be familiar to them. …”. Half a mile may be taking the hog completely out of it’s home range and so it may be completely disorientated.

    Whilst there are very good reasons for not moving hogs out of their home range at any time of the year, it is particularly bad at this time of year, when the hogs are about to hibernate, if they haven’t already. They may have already built a hibernaculum and they will almost certainly have been laying down fat to enable them to survive hibernation. By moving them away from the place they know, it could mean that they use up a lot of unnecessary energy, either trying to get back to somewhere they know, or possibly having to find materials for and build another hibernation nest. Either way, they are likely to be using up extra energy unnecessarily, which could put them at risk during hibernation.

    Hibernation is already one of the most dangerous parts of a hog’s natural life. If they don’t have sufficient fat to keep them ticking over, they will not survive. Likewise if they do not have sufficient of the other type of fat (which they need to raise their metabolic rate to normal again, at the end of hibernation), they will not survive.

    Much of the U.K. is criss-crossed with roads, many of them major ones. There is a major ‘A’ road within 2 or 3 hundred yards of where I am. For many years there has been a good population of hedgehogs in the area. It is not necessarily safer for a hog to live near a quiet road. They may be lulled into a false sense of security and amble around in the road because it’s quiet, only for a speeding motorist to suddenly come along.

    I quote again from the leaflet (re. hedgehogs): “ …. trying to ensure that they never encounter a road, dog or any other danger is just not practical. …”

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