Would this female be naturally small?
17th April 2021 at 3:19 pm #30603
I wondered what size an adult female is compared to adult male? I have googled it unsuccessfully and apologise I don’t have pics for comparison. I’ve a little female visiting same time every night – give or take 10 mins – but 2 nights ago an adult male (lovely looking hog) was at the feeder before female arrived. When she arrived shortly after, naturally he was taken with her and spent at least 2 hours circling, nudging and stroking his face against hers, but she just wasn’t interested. Awful mess they left as it meant he had to walk through the wet food, biscuit and water bowls in his ardour! Every mount was unsuccessful as she would jerk her body and he’d slip off ! Once he slipped off into the water bowl, fascinating to watch all this.
I hadn’t seen ‘girlie’ (as I call her) next to another adult but was struck by how small she was compared to this male. At a guess I’d say he was half the size of a football and she’s half his size if that.
She looks OK, walks OK, eats well from wet food and some biscuits and must surely be in her second year though perhaps a later hoglet? She seemed late into and out of hibernation but I am now concerned about her small size so wondering if this is normal or is it a matter for concern?.17th April 2021 at 9:50 pm #30604
As a follow up I’ve just seen the female this evening when a male arrived (assuming so anyway from his advances to her!) and this one is much closer to the size of the female. A touch bigger but not the very large male I saw before. I didn’t realise hogs could vary in size like this, do they just grow so much bigger with age? Sort of answered my own question of the ‘small’ female, but I’d be interested to know about eventual adult sizes thanks.17th April 2021 at 11:12 pm #30605
You can’t tell male from female just by their size. Some adult males are smaller than some adult males. Although I have found that, here, the largest males tend to be larger than the largest females. But there is a huge variety in between. Some older females can be quite big.
If the female was very much smaller than the male and not interested, it may be that she is a last year’s hoglet and not ready for breeding yet. The problem is that the other male who you compared her with could also be fairly young.
They do tend to be lighter when they first return from hibernation. But it is really more to do with their shape than their size. i.e. they want to look nicely rounded by the time they have recovered from hibernation. But if you are worried you could try weighing her and discuss it with your local hog carer/rehabilitator.18th April 2021 at 5:37 pm #30618
Thank you so much for your reply. I have such little experience of hedgies as only began to have visits several weeks before Xmas last year from two little ones (siblings?) that would share a bowl of food. Now after hibernation having more visits but know little about sizes etc and can only tell male from female by the behaviour.
This little female seems healthy but a touch smaller than her male visitor last night. He just circled her and snuffled her for a few minutes then they shared a bowl of food – quite different to her previous encounter. Assuming it’s a male from the circling, but after eating he wandered off! So maybe these two are siblings from last year? They do look very similar, speckedly spines and dark faces, but the only comparison I have is the large male who was much lighter coloured.
Now I’m wondering when do they reach maturity? May these two be late hoglets from last year so still immature hence the male’s half hearted attempt to woo?
So sorry to ask so much, I shouldn’t get so concerned I realise, but I have some food bowls/water 2 meters from my glass back door and can watch just from the light from my kitchen window and probably see more than I should !19th April 2021 at 10:11 pm #30653
Don’t worry about asking things, just as long as you are aware that it isn’t always easy to answer them without actually seeing what you’re talking about. i.e. how small is small, etc.
But hoglets often actually seem to prefer to share bowls, either with other hoglets or sometimes with adults. Whereas, adults, especially males prefer to have bowls to themselves. But a male will tolerate a hoglet sharing with him and females will sometimes share with other females when they are older (possibly relatives).
It’s actually very difficult to say when a male might become interested in a female. I had one here who was interested in a female who was still very small (really quite tiny, she was obviously very precocious), but the male still spent hours circling her (on different nights as well). She didn’t seem to mind, but it was obviously not going anywhere, as she was far too young. I think a hog would not normally breed in her first year. But also males will show preference and if a more mature female arrives, or is around, will turn his attentions to her and leave a younger one alone.
It isn’t really possible to tell whether hogs are siblings by what they look like. Sometimes hoglets which turn up together might look completely different. Litters can have more than one Father, so litter mates may not even be full siblings.
Don’t worry about seeing more than you should. You won’t. It will just become more understandable what is happening the more you see it. But don’t worry too much about it all – hedgehogs have been around doing their hoggy things for millions of years.
Sorry this is a bit muddly, but hopefully some of it may be of interest.
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