Update on my hog soap opera
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- This topic has 6 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Nic.
13th April 2021 at 11:41 am #30365
Up until now the story was I had a small male who may have hibernated in my garden but had vacated the box when I checked it last weekend. I was in two minds to get it out from under a shrub in daylight in case it was in use but there was no one home.
However it had clearly been in use at some time as there was a nest in there with a nice rugby ball shaped hollow in the middle.
Some of the straw was damp and had mildew on it so I stripped it all out and let the house dry out before putting fresh straw in and placing the house back.
A larger male had been visiting and also a small female who I suspect lives at the bottom of next door neighbours garden and visits mine via a gap under the fence, I have video evidence of her coming back and forth using this entrance.
Big male started fighting the smaller one who ended up with a limp and now seems to have disappeared completely, probably driven to find new territory.
Then another (slightly bigger than ‘limpy’) male started coming in but the dominant big male laid into him as well. He did fight back on a couple of videos but I haven’t seen him recently either, at least he didn’t seem damaged.
Now the situation seems to be the bigger male turns up and immediately starts looking for the little female, as soon as she turns up he is constantly wooing her with the old circling routine. She responds with a lot of huffing but there isn’t anything violent going on and the food is being eaten.
Last night I heard the huffing being interrupted with occasional dog-like yelps but from what I could see in the dark he was still just circling, it went on for a couple of hours.
I didn’t see hoglets last year (which was the first I’d seen visiting hedgehogs at all locally) so I’m keeping fingers crossed that the female next door sticks around and has a litter locally. I don’t think the neighbours have any idea they may have a permanent resident, I should have a word sometime.21st April 2021 at 9:21 pm #30685
Sounds promising having both male and female around. Don’t forget the hog may only be using your neighbours garden as a route to get to yours – it may actually be ‘living’ even further afield.
Hogs don’t have territories, as such, they have ranges which overlap. Males ranges are larger than females, which may be why males are more likely to miss visiting one particular place some nights. So the limpy male may be concentrating on another part of his range where the competition may not be so fierce. He may also be laying low until whatever caused his limp heals. The males lower down the pecking order here, in the past, would usually not be put off by being rolled up (some of them quite often) but still visit for food. They usually got a chance to eat, for instance, when the ‘boss hog’ was concentrating on females!
Sometimes you can almost see the females thinking ‘leave me alone, I’m trying to eat’! so not surprising if they get a bit annoyed with the males sometimes. I used to find, when there were a lot of hogs around, that the females always used to turn up earlier to eat, so they had a chance to get a fair amount of food before the males turned up!22nd April 2021 at 2:22 pm #30689
No other males now for at least 2 weeks just the big guy who used to have X on his back but that’s grown out/worn off now.
He figured out that the female was turning up early so started arriving even earlier himself and running all over the place sniffing the ground looking for her to exclusion of feeding much .
Now the female is coming later again but they still sometimes meet up. He’s quite a different shape without much of a domed back, when relaxed he’s more honey badger shape 🙂
Here’s a bit of video from last night where she gets to do a lot of practising reversing!22nd April 2021 at 8:30 pm #30690
Good video, as you say lots of reversing going on and not much chance for the male to circle. Funny when she backs into the food dish and flinches, they flinch so easily, one of my regulars always flinches every time he starts to drink and his nose touches the cold water.17th May 2021 at 12:44 pm #31265
And they are still at it weeks later, though it’s not as common as it was.
There now seems to be a second female that turns up occasionally, usually quite late at night though I have seen her with the regularly visiting female fairly close together feeding on next door neighbour’s lawn.
I’m now not sure if this male is the the one that used to have the X marks (which wore off) or not, he looks a bit smaller to me but could be wrong.20th May 2021 at 11:47 am #31296
This is fairly typical of the interaction I get between hogs and local foxes, basically hardly any. Cats seem to follow the same routine on the rare occasions they appear at same time as hogs. The hog here was drinking in another video about 10 mins after this one and then pottered off, completely unfazed.23rd May 2021 at 6:52 pm #31328
You need to be really careful about encouraging foxes and hogs together. It encourages the hogs into a false sense of security and foxes are a predator and can and do both injure (sometimes fatally) and kill hedgehogs. Just because they haven’t attacked so far, doesn’t mean they won’t ever. Some foxes become specialists in killing hedgehogs, pouncing when the hog is not rolled up. If the hogs become accustomed to eating near foxes they are less likely to roll up and so become a sitting target.
You may have missed ‘Hog Attack’ in the Hedgehog Tales section where one poor unfortunate hog had both back legs bitten off and had to be euthanased. Very sad for the human who found it, too.
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