Just a quick blog post this morning to share some news.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I provided tunnels under our boundary fences last autumn, after hearing a hedgehog in a neighbours enclosed garden – and also provided a hay-stuffed hibernaculum for the wee prickly beastie.
Within a few hours of me providing the hog highways under the fences, the spined-one entered our garden and took up residence in its new hibernaculum (winter place of hibernation). Whilst videoing it on its nocturnal ramblings however, it became clear that it had a cock eye (its left eye) and was indeed very much alone (it seemed) but I didn’t know whether it was a male or a female hog.
After one of the coldest springs ever, I wasn’t even sure if our hog had survived its period of dormancy- but lo and behold, a couple of weeks ago, I heard it and then found it (saw it) rummaging around my newly created stag beetle woodpile (we have stag beetles also here). It was certainly the same hog – as in my videos of it pushing a fallen bird feeder around the garden (to extract the peanuts contained therein) its cock eye was clearly visible again.
Last night, after one of this year’s local fox cubs (more like a teenager now I guess…. off to claim its own territory pretty soon) broke into our garden for the first time that I know of (watch out hens!), we had another “new visitor” explore the garden – a second hog!
The two hogs met and I managed to film the resulting behaviour (very luckily) on my infrared trail-cam.
Watch the video below and you’ll see our hog (with the cockeye – it doesn’t reflect any infrared light) get approached by the new hog (with two shiny eyes). Our hog lets out this repetitive indignant grunting or hissing at the new hog.
One could be forgiven for thinking this is aggressive, territorial behaviour – and I suppose it is somewhat aggressive – but to me this looks far more like typical hog “courting” – the male approaches the female – and the female has NONE of it for some time – often very vocally as in my clips.
Generally however, the male circles quite cautiously and slowly – this does not appear to happen with our hogs, so there is a possibility that these are two females bumping into one another for the first time I suppose.
MUCH more likely though is that our original cock-eyed hog is indeed a noisy female and the new visitor last night is an inexperienced male – on the prowl for perhaps his first mate.
Well…. I hope these two “git it awwwn” – and don’t start acting like picky pandas. Hedgehogs have suffered a big decline in the UK over recent years and a few more prickly snufflers rummaging ‘round our gardens in this neck of the woods will help out a little, I guess.
Just shows what you can achieve by providing tunnels for hogs under your fences, a hibernaculum for hogs and a little drinking water in periods of heat like we’re experiencing presently….