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Unusual Behaviour?

Home Forums Champions’ chat Unusual Behaviour?

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    Last night we had two male hedgehogs in the garden who stayed together for an hour and a half, seemingly enjoying each other’s company. One was large and one was small and both male as far as I could tell. The large one kept rubbing himself on the ground and seemingly paying court to the smaller male hedgehog. He obviously should have gone to Specsavers! The little one kept butting the larger hedgehog. You’d think the smaller one would have come off the worse but the smaller hog seemed to be the aggressor (but only gently). Anyone seen anything like this before with two disparate size hedgehogs?

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    I’m curious as to why you thought they were both males. It looks to me like normal courting behaviour with the smaller hog being a female. The smaller hog does look very small. I suppose it is just possible that the older hog got confused with a very small hog which possibly hasn’t reach maturity. Both male and female hogs are very tolerant of youngsters but once they reach a certain size the gloves are off and it is more likely another male would get biffed.

    Assuming they are male and female, the females do sometimes butt the males during the courtship ‘dance’. But this is not normally the really aggressive butting of a male with another male.


    Hi Nic,

    In other videos you can see the little hedgehog’s “male part”

    I’ll try to find a video of him with his maleness on display

    This was the same night – little one is male is he not?


    I suspect the small one is a male and the large one a female


    I thought it was the males who did all the courting and the females either gave in (after an hour or two) or made their escape? The larger one seems to be making all the overtures (if it is courtship).


    Your first video appears to be the female being submissive, while the second appears to be a healthy pursuit. When the males start courting seriously they often are fully ready to mate and may already be producing sperm before mounting the female.
    The males do usually run around and around the females while courting. ( sometimes for hours without success ) It may be that this isn’t happening as this one is so small.
    It’s also possible that this is a mum and son and she’s trying to put him off. It could also be that what appears to be male genitalia isn’t but is something else
    To be honest while a lot of videos are out there of hog behaviour, it’s all still relatively new so you may be seeing something different


    Well whatever the behaviour was it was fascinating to watch. They were together for an hour and a half. Didn’t see any actual mating but they did seem to like each other’s company!

    Another video from the same evening


    It’s not courting. The little one was trying to push the big one away

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    For what it’s worth – I think you possibly have 3 (or more) hogs. In the first video, I think the small one is female and the large one male. It looks to me like normal ‘courtship’ behaviour with the male beginning to circle the smaller female and her huffing and going slightly backwards. The very small jerky movements of the female are typical. It looks to me as if she is not altogether happy with his advances. It is difficult when the video is so short.

    In the second, you are right, the small one looks male. I have also looked at your video on ‘hedgehog tales’ where it definitely looks like 2 males. Not much seems to be going on in the second video here. It could be that the small male is chancing his luck (to share the food bowl), but it isn’t really possible to tell in that case whether the large one is male or female. Again video not long enough.

    In the third it looks like small female and large male again. You can actually see her (small one) spines moving in time with the huffing. Again the slight jerky movements. Female hogs will often do those small quick biffs during ‘courtship’. The (larger) male is doing the typical male thing of going slightly at an angle and making his body look taller but narrower (larger from the side) – as was also happening in the first video.

    I think this is an example of why you get far more from watching the hogs in real time. Short clips don’t really give the full picture of what is going on. Having watched hogs for many years in real time, it seems fairly obvious to me, but when you are newer to watching hog behaviour it can be confusing.

    Having said all that, it is possible that one or more hogs are confused, but in my experience the more obvious answer more often turns out to be the right one.

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    Sorry Stef, our last posts crossed in the ether. But I still think it’s as I’ve said above. The females do sometimes biff at the males during attempted ‘courtship’ – possibly because they are fed up with his advances and want to eat!


    That’s alright, I only gave the videos a cursory look. Far to short to make any definitive answer

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    I think that is absolutely the crux of the matter. It is impossible to study animal behaviour, to any degree, from the short clips that most people get.


    Hi MrshogoftheHedge,

    Like Nic says, You probably have more hogs than you think; quite often they will swap places with another in between clips, just to keep us human servants guessing. I have put a few clips together of their mating behaviour on the doorstep the other night, including an initial brawl between two males. The ‘lady’ in the clip is a youngster from last year and she is a bit of a tease to say the least. She cosies up to the males in the feeding bowl, takes over the food supply and then starts pushing them around, even though they are twice her size! The males usually circle the ladies for quite some time, but this was made a little difficult by the presence of a saucer and a water bowl. He eventually gave up and walked off, only to be followed down the step by the seemingly disinterested female. They could still be heard huffing over two hours later!


    Great video Penny! Thanks for posting 🙂

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    That video is so funny, Penny – and fairly typical. The little one clearly wasn’t interested – maybe she isn’t really sure what is going on yet. Interesting that he looked like a fairly mature male (although maybe he only looked big in relation to her?). Here it is usually the younger males who try to mount a female who clearly isn’t interested in them – the bigger boys usually seem to have more sense – or more patience.

    The other night a young male, who I have a feeling might have been Horace (new name for hoglet), was making advances to Digger – Horace’s Mum. In that case she was the bigger hog. She was definitely not amused and just kept on eating. He was very frustrated about the whole thing. Eventually he ran off in one direction and she shortly after in another.

    Sadly, I haven’t seen Digger for 3 nights, now, and am worried – once she is back she usually visits every night. Fingers crossed it’s just a blip.

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