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Territorial fighting

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Territorial fighting

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  • #36651

    Over the last two or three nights the two hogs that visit our garden have encountered each other in the feeder box. A lot of buffering goes on both inside and outside the box and the larger hog always seems to walk off first. Neither have been injured. Is this usual. Should I have two feeder boxes? Or will they just sort out their territory. Thanks

    #36681

    I have experienced similar behaviour in my garden over the last 3 weeks…. In particular 2 females who invariably clash if they are in the same vicinity, which meant they were on ‘edge’ and only feeding for a few moments rather than the 10-15 minute feeds they would have if undisturbed. I created a second feed station 5 metres away last week and the fighting has ceased..
    …. so based on that, (I’m new to hog-watching), I would say reducing conflict by offering another feed area can’t do any harm?

    #36685

    thanks. I will see how things go and contact our rescue place to get another feeder box. Ours are both males.

    #36689

    Nic

    Hi plumhog

    It’s perfectly normal for a bit of aggression between male hogs. A separate feeding area might help, but if a male knows another is around it will often seek it out – so might just go to the other feeding area as well. The larger hog is not always the dominant one – although once a hog has rolled another hog up, it is quite usual for it to walk away, although it may return later to make sure it’s still rolled up!

    Hi Scratch

    Are you certain those two hogs are females? Females are normally more tolerant of each other, although will give another the occasional nudge if it tries to eat the food it has claimed, but nothing like the aggression shown by males. Male hogs do tend to eat for shorter periods of time once there are more females around. Females tend to come out of hibernation later than males, so by now there are probably more females around keeping the males busy, either searching for them or circling them.

    #36721

    Hi Nic
    Both confirmed as females. But yes, you are quite right- the fighting between them is usually a firm nudge from the more dominant one of the two.
    The males, on the other hand, have been fighting much more aggressively, shaking each other like a terrier shakes a rat!!!!
    All fascinating, and a pleasure to watch!!

    #36735

    Nic

    Hi Scratch

    I know what you mean about “shaking each other like a terrier shakes a rat”! It sometimes looks quite alarming, but they usually seem to emerge unharmed. Luckily that seems to happen less often than the more usual biffing and rolling up. The shaking seems to happen when there is no obvious more dominant male. There seem to be a few ‘levels’. The first is one being biffed just rolls up, then sometimes one will resist but not roll up and probably be pushed along sideways, sort of half lying on his side (that always looks as if it would be quite easy to injure a leg or foot), and third, the one being attacked fights back – which can lead to the shaking like a rat.

    I found that there was a fairly constant ‘pecking order’ amongst the males. The dominant male will biff all others, the second one will be biffed by the dominant one but will biff all the others, and so on. The least dominant ones will sometimes not visit the feeding area if they realise another male is present. They could sometimes be seen approaching and then do a U turn. But whilst the ‘pecking order’ held, no shaking like a rat occurred.

    But yes, they are endlessly fascinating.

    #36749

    “The dominant male will biff all others, the second one will be biffed by the dominant one but will biff all the others, and so on.”

    Sorry Nic, but your description of the pecking order just so reminds me of this: ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
    ‘Big fleas have little fleas upon their back to bite them, little fleas have lesser fleas and so on ad infinitum’

    There will always be one-upmanship! ๐Ÿ™‚ As you say the behaviour is fascinating. Have witnessed the biffing and skidding (scary but no damage seems to occur) but thankfully not the shaking. I’m still a fairly novice hedgehog friend but there is always more aggression in the springtime (when the testerone is rising!) Come the Autumn when survival is forefront in the hog frontal lobes they seem happy to gather three or four together to stuff their little snouts with the bounty that mysteriously appears every night.

    #36752

    Nic

    Hi Celeste

    The flea version is a good analogy!

    Yes, the boys do seem more active in the Spring. Once the females have young to look after there isn’t so much to run around for! But the males, who don’t have any hoglet raising duties at all, tend to hibernate earlier – sometimes as early as September – then they come out earlier. But pre-hibernation they are busy building up their reserves.

    It may be that you have been seeing hoglets later in the Autumn – they seem to actively like sharing food bowls, either with an adult (not necessarily their Mother) or other hoglets. Some of the earlier born hoglets can look quite big by the Autumn.

    Yes, I sometimes wonder where the hogs thinks the endlessly renewing supplies of food come from – magic!

    #38756

    Lots of biffing going on in our garden too. A very large chap biffs the smaller guys but after theyโ€™ve rolled up, he just loses interest and gets on with eating. We have multiple small feeding areas around the garden to try and prevent Mr Biffer from throwing his considerable weight around, but they all congregate in one area. I guess hedgehogs just work things out for themselves.

    #38881

    Regarding the biffing, we have a pond and quite often see a hedgehog trying to push another one into the pond! Quite forcefully usually but so far not successfully. We have several regular visitors so I tried putting food in different places but they all sat on top of one pile so don’t bother now! I just love them.

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