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Hedgehog Noises and What They Mean

Hedgehog Noises and What They Mean

A Quick Guide to Hedgehog Noises:

For such little animals, hedgehogs can make one heck of a racket! And like the very worst noisy neighbours, they generally get started in the garden at night. When you are tucked up in bed, trying to get some sleep.

  1. Grunting and snuffling, like a pig = hedgehog out and about, looking for food.
  2. Chuffing like a steam train = mating season.
  3. Chirping like a baby bird = hungry hoglets in the nest.
  4. Screaming Hedgehog = in pain and distress.
  5. Hissing Hedgehog = warning sign – keep away!
  6. Clicking and “popping” Hedgehog = challenge, often to other males in mating season.

Do You Speak Hedgehog?

If you’ve set up a hedgehog nesting house or feeding station in your garden and you’re lucky enough to get visitors then you’re more than likely to start hearing some hedgehog noises.

Your local hedgehog can make a whole range of different noises.  Anything from a sound like a baby bird to a steam train, depending on what mood she’s in. Some of the noises they make can be quite alarming until you know what they are.

Once you understand what hedgehog noises mean you will know when they need help, when they are perfectly happy, and when they are furious.

So let’s learn some Hedgehog language. Here’s our rundown of the top 12 hedgehog noises you may hear in your garden and what they all mean.

12 Hedgehog Noises and What They Mean.

1. Grunting Like a Pig

This is the basic hedgehog noise which gets them the “hog” part of their name.

It’s the noise that hedgehogs make when they’re out and about, busy searching for food at night.

Though the noise can be surprisingly loud, a grunting, snuffling hog is perfectly happy and should be left to go about her business.

2. Chuffing Like a Steam Train

You will hear this chuffing noise in your garden in May and June during the hedgehog mating season.

The call is mainly made by the female as the male circles her.  It sounds very much as though she’s trying to put him off!

The noise really does sound just like a miniature chuffing steam train. It’s quite distinctive and you will easily recognise it.

3. Chirping Like a Baby Bird

It would be very easy to mistake this noise for the call of baby birds, especially as It happens at around the same time of year as garden bird chicks are hatching.

It’s actually the sound of happy baby hoglets in the nest calling for food.

4. Coughing Hedgehog

Coughing is not a good sign for a hedgehog.

A dry, sharp “barking” cough probably just means the hedgehog’s nest is dirty and dusty, the hog has something stuck in its throat.

A continuous wet “chesty” cough, like a smokers cough, on the other hand, is more serious.  This could be a sign that your hog has lungworm and you should contact your local hedgehog rescue.

5. Screaming Like a Baby

If you hear a hedgehog scream you may well think the sound is coming from a very upset human baby.

This noise is only made by hogs in severe distress and pain.  The hog will be injured or maybe trapped somewhere.

If you hear this noise you should definitely investigate as the hedgehog will need your help.

6. Sneezing Hedgehog

Hedgehogs do sneeze and it’s really cute if you catch them doing it.

A hedgehog sneeze is usually just down to a tickle in the nose and nothing to worry about.  But if the sneezing is continuous, or accompanied by coughing and wheezing, then it’s something more serious, and a call to hedgehog rescue is in order.

7. Quacking Like a Duck

This is a seriously weird noise to hear coming from a hedgehog. Like screaming, it’s also a distress call. But whereas screaming indicates the hedgehog is in pain, the quacking noise is made when the problem isn’t quite so serious.

Hedgehogs might make the quacking noise if they are stuck in something. Young hedgehogs also tend to make this noise if they are hungry.

8. Hissing like a Snake

Keep your distance from a hissing hedgehog, just like you would from a hissing snake.  When a hedgehog hisses, it means he is really annoyed and wants you, other hogs or other animals to clear off.

Hedgehogs will often make the hissing noise if their nest is disturbed or if they are cornered or approached by a predator.

9. Barking or Clicking

When hedgehogs make this short sharp noise, which some people describe as a bark or a click they will also duck their heads and bob up.

The noise is a challenge, and the movement is the hedgehog attempting to head-butt its opponent and stab them with its spines.

The noise is most often heard when one male challenges another during the mating season.

But if you get on your local hogs nerves, you could find them barking/clicking at you too.  Best to withdraw to a safe distance as you certainly won’t want to be head-butted and stabbed by an angry hedgehog.

10. Gentle Snoring

Yes, hedgehogs snore! A snoring hedgehog makes quite a cute little noise, and it’s sure to make you smile if you are ever lucky enough to hear it.

The snoring sound usually means the hedgehog is peacefully asleep. But if you should hear the snoring noise whilst the hedgehog has its eyes open, it may indicate that the hog is having trouble breathing.

This could be caused by lungworm or some other respiratory problem.  So if you come across this noise in a hedgehog that’s awake, it’s best to contact your local hedgehog rescue for advice.

11. Hedgehogs Talking in Their Sleep

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to watch a hedgehog sleeping, you will see that they twitch and move their legs just like dogs do.

It seems that hedgehogs do dream.

During their dreams, hedgehogs will make the same range of noises they do whilst awake, depending on what they’re dreaming of

Noises made whilst the hedgehog is asleep are nothing to worry about and don’t need your attention.

Even a distress call whilst asleep only indicates a bad dream and the hedgehog isn’t in any danger.

12. And From the Other End!

Yes, hedgehogs do fart! And hedgehog farts sound just like you would expect a fart to sound.

Hedgehog farts can also smell really bad, especially if you have fed the hedgehog fishy cat food, This could be the reason so many hedgehog experts advise against doing this!

hedgehog noises

Know Your Hedgehog Noises and Help Your Local Hogs

If you would like to listen to some more amazing hedgehog noises check out this great blog post from Hedgehog Bottom Rescue.

British hedgehogs are in trouble and need our help.

Intensive farming, the destruction of hedgerows and the use of pesticides have led to a considerable drop in hedgehog numbers.

Understanding the sounds that hedgehogs in your garden are a great way of getting a better understanding of how you can help them, and when you should leave them alone.

For more information on how you can help hedgehogs visit:

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

Hedgehog Street.

And if you spot a hedgehog in trouble, you can find your local hedgehog rescue project by clicking here.

And if you have more questions on hedgehog noises we would love to hear from you, leave us a comment below.

12 thoughts on “Hedgehog Noises and What They Mean”

  1. Iv got 2boxes out ,but I have put food in with them they are eating ,I’d feel bad if they were hungry ,if I didn’t feed them Ann

  2. Hedgehogs should be fed away from their houses. A feeding station is easy to make or you can buy one. I look after autumn babies that are underweighted and not going to survive hibernation. I have to treat them for worms and any other ailments, I have a wild life vet who advises me and has shown me how to treat them. I have Three at the moment and will release them in the spring, it’ll be a happy and sad time as they face a lot of dangers out there, but that is where they should be, in the wild, free.

  3. I have a wild hedgehog living in my garden. I called him/her pumpkin. I think pumpkin is a she because she’s pretty.
    Anywhoo, pumpkin makes a hooting sound. Does anyone know what this could be or mean?

  4. Have a little visitor that comes every night, but recently have had a few more, obviously to mate, by the noise of them 🙂🦔 Made a feeding station out of a storage box, and have a well sheltered hedgehog house further away. There is something beautiful and quite magical about them, with their little faces and snores and grunts.

  5. I was sitting quietly in the garden trying to cool off during the heatwave, and I heard a hedgehog approaching before I saw it. It seemed to be hunting and stopping here and there for a munch. I didn’t think he knew I was there as he approached me from distance.
    The whole time he was making a noise I can only describe as running your nail along the edge of a comb. Was this a warning to me? To another hedgehog? He approached me, I was just sitting quietly and still, and he was still making the noise after he passed me. I didn’t see any other hedgehogs around, but I know at least 3 visit my garden.

  6. We have a pair of hedgehogs in the garden who appeared about 6 weeks ago so I bought a hoghouse and they moved in virtually straightaway.They have been coming out every night to eat the hedgehog food I put out for them and to roam around in the trees and undergrowth. But at 10 pm this evening a hog started screaming and when I went out with a torch to investigate a dark shape shot out at top speed from the area of the hoghouse and out of the garden through the gap under the fence. This would undoubtedly have been the fox who visits every night. I thought I heard movement from a hedgehog but couldn’t find either of them and after a short while I could hear nothing. I hope it/they had retreated under the woodpile or the shed next to them but I don’t know if the hog screamed because it was terrified by the attack or whether it was actually injured. I hope there will still be two when I check over the coming days but is there anything I can do to protect them now the fox knows where they are? How far away should I move their food? Should I try to exclude the fox by blocking up the hole I made in order that creatures can roam between gardens? The neighbours either side have left no entry points but our gap was how the hogs came here in the first place. If I find an injured hog I will take it to our local wildlife rescue but I don’t know if there are hoglets. If I find an injured adult, should I take the top off the hoghouse to check and if there are any should I transport them to the rescue centre along with the adult? Or will the other hog take over if its partner goes away or has been killed? I would be so sad if the hogs leave as it’s been several years since we last saw one and they’ve never nested here before. I’d hoped they would live here all year round but now perhaps they’ve been frightened off for good. Any advice gratefully received.

  7. One hedgehog noise that wasn’t mentioned is the chuntering and muttering when they are ‘conversing’ with humans. If you are old enough to remember Mutley, from Wacky Races, you may remember his constant grumbling and low muttering each time he was refused a medal. One hedgehog we rescued made this noise whenever we interracted with him, and even though he was put back in the wild as soon as he was well enough.
    Obviously, we only handle an animal when it is needed, after all, they are wild animals and the last thing we want is for them to be habituated to humans. The animals are known by their cage number – apart from this animal who was bald – so we called him Wee Baldy to start with. At 184g he had no fur at all on his body or head and huge bald patches where spines should have been. The poor animal shook constantly – with pain as he had Scabies and he endured Ringworm and Lungworm too, plus the usual fleas and a dozen ticks with abundant clumps of fly-stike on top. He was in a terrible mess and would not have survived had he been left where he was found. After a few weeks he became known as Baldrick and at release Canon-Baldrick. By that time he was 800g+ and shook no more, His bald patches had new spines and his body was covered in a thick coat of fur. As soon as the Scabies was cured he stopped shaking – but he did pass it to me briefly, which is how I know it is so painful. The Ringworm was cured with liberal applications of Coconut Oil, a natural antibiotic that worked its magic in less than 4 weeks. By release, Baldrick had started ‘talking’ to us. I have no idea what his constant mutterings meant, but mutterings and chuntering they were, and he made them whenever he heard our voices. After 5 months of treatment he was habituated to a degree, but we released him into the garden, so he was free to come and go as he wished. There are many ways for hedgehogs to come and go into other gardens or the fields that surround our rural home, but Baldrick decided to hang around. I guess he likes the regular daily food offering with the abundance of wild food as well to fill him up. We did check weigh him after a month of freedom and again after another 3 weeks, and he had put on plenty of weight despite being early in the year. With lots of ‘wild’ areas in the garden we are blessed to see many hedgehogs around, and the neighbours see plenty of hedgehog ‘evidence’ on their lawns as well. But none of the other hedgehogs ‘talk’, We knew Baldrick was still in the garden as, when he hears our voices, he starts ‘talking’ to us. Many a night we have heard deep rustlings in the shrubbery and I have asked “Is that you Baldrick?” Back from the depths come the rumbling chunters and mutters in reply. Only last night. my husband went out to put the nightly portions in the various dishes to find a very large hedgehog sitting on top of one of the empty dishes. “What are you doing” he asked the hog – expecting it to freeze or go dashing for the hydrangeas. The hog replied with his usual ‘mutterings’. “Am I late with your food tonight – oh, I’m so sorry” was my husband’s response as he pulled his leather gloves out of his pocket. He picked Baldrick up and moved him to one side so the dish could be filled. Baldrick didn’t ball up, he stayed put until the bowl was filled, whereupon he started eating with great enjoyment, all the while ‘talking’ with his mouth full. Other hedgehogs would ball up as soon as touched, so although the hair dye markings are long gone, a talking hedgehog that doesn’t ball up when touched is our Baldrick for sure!
    Baldrick has been back in the wild for almost 7 months now and yet is still very comfortable with us. It is gratifying when I thought at first he would never be well enough to go back to the wild, but I am glad he decided to stay around as there is always food and water available for him throughout the year. Part of me wonders if he suffered from brain damage as a tiny, as he was so badly infected and infested. There was no choice but to handle him so much as his health problems required it.
    Either way, Baldrick is having a lovely life and free to go where and when he wishes. But I am so very glad he decided to stay around. I wonder if I should make a Hedgehog Cake for his first Birthday next month?

  8. A lady hedgehog called Henrietta has adopted me..!! I have now bought her a house and she goes off wandering every night but in the morning I see she’s curled up in her house .. she’s got a litter tray because I’ve noticed she poops where she eats so food one side and water bowl next door she also has a hidey hole nearby but prefers her house ..!!

  9. Lovely article, thank you. Live in Brittany; we had two days intensive frost which lasted all day. Last night was a bit warmer, and dog found hedgehog eating where I’d put out bird food and scraps of pasta with prawns. Usually all is cleared by morning. The hedgehog was adult, and making noises like a stomach with indigestion while eyeing the dog. This continued while I came in to fix a saucer of dogfood; when I returned (max 3 mins) the hog had vanished. Have seen and fed them here for years, but not heard this noise…is it ill? Or warning us all off? No attempt to roll up. Now mid-December am sure it must have a nest here, lots of availability, did it just feel hungry, perhaps? Thanks for any response.


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Clare Stone

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