Wednesday 19 June 2019

our Huffing Hedgehog

Apparently hedgehogs have a range of sounds that they can make depending upon their mood and situation.

The sound on our trail-cam has always been a bit 'iffy', but when it works it can reveal interesting behaviour.

We noticed a faint sound on some recent recordings, so I cranked up the audio level by 18dB...

...using my favourite video editor: Shotcut.

In this video sequence (which was created using 6 video clips taken over a 20 minute period) a female enters the hog feeder, and then a male arrives several minutes later. He seems to catch her scent, and eventually dares to enter the feeder tunnel.

As soon as she notices him outside the feeder she starts making a particular noise, which hedgehog folk call 'huffing'. Females often do this when being followed around by an amorous male. Clearly in this case she is saying "Get lost, you weirdo!"

In addition to "huffing" they make other sounds including hissing, screaming, snoring, chirping, coughing and sounds related to dreaming, distress and challenging others. (see

lots of hogs

Over recent weeks we believe we have captured at least 4 different hogs on video. Sometimes you can recognise them simply by appearance, e.g. "Banksy" is easily recognised because some fool has put paint on his/her back.

The female in the video is identified partly by markings on her head and also because she goes straight into the feeder without hesitation and eats almost all the cat food (while others may just drink water and not go inside the feeder).

We think the male in this video is [speedy] Gonzales. He generally dashes about at high speed.

Friends often say how lucky we are to have a hedgehog in our garden, implying that it lives and walks around only in our garden. However, hedgehogs often wander about a mile from their base camp every night in search of food, before returning to their daytime hide-away. If they set off in a different direction every night, they could soon cover an area of 3sq miles...
...if my arithmetic is correct. Potentially, that is a lot of gardens.

It is also unlikely that there is only one hog visiting a particular garden. They don't live very long, so need others if they are to find a mate and reproduce.

In the following video, our hog feeder (which was only designed for ONE hedgehog at a time) is occupied by 3 hedgehogs;

I used to think that we hadn't been visited by hedgehogs in our garden in a long time, purely due to the lack of droppings. But we rarely notice droppings despite nightly visits by more than one hog.

hegdehog hog trailcam camera drink huffing
This hog must have been thirsty as it was out just before dark!

So put out a shallow dish of water, and if you have a trail-cam, use it!

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