A Quick Guide to Hedgehog Noises:

  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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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16 thoughts on “Hedgehog Noises”

  1. Vanessa Furlong

    Clare,

    This has been fantastically useful. I have a couple of hogs in my garden and have heard some odd noises. Now I understand a little more of what’s going on… and it’s all good I’m pleased to say. Thank you so much. A great article.

    Kind regards
    V. Dorset

  2. I found your very informative website this morning by Googling: snuffling like a steam engine.
    Just last night in Gloucestershire we saw and heard this behaviour by two hedgehogs in our garden. It has a messy corner to give them refuge.
    …and I put out a shallow tray of water before I left them to their mating in peace.
    Thanks.

  3. Fred Matthews

    Hi I just had two hedgehogs in my garden . Larger one was circling smaller one and pushing its nose to the other one which was backing up . One of them was making a periodic short braying noise lasting a second, It sounded like a “meh” . None of the noises above match the noise I heard. Any ideas what this is?
    Larger one left. Smaller one stayed, then after a couple of minutes, left in the opposite direction

    1. Hi Fred,

      This sounds like aggressive/territorial behaviour to me. Very unusual, but not unknown.
      Have you seen either of them since?

  4. Early this morning I saw a hedgehog being attacked by a skunk – really!! The skunk soon disappeared and the hedgehog was screaming like a baby in pain. I couldn’t see any blood or damage as he was curled up tightly.
    I’ve put him in a large pet box with a dish of water – he’s quiet now. Just to say thank you for your website to help me help him otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do. I’m keeping an eye on him until he starts moving and plan to release him into my garden to get fat on the snails for a while. When he finds the gap in the fence he’ll be on his own again. Many thanks.

  5. Thanks for the useful info. I were just listening to a rather noisy hedgehog making a different noise to when they are enjoying the food I put out for them so wanting to check it wasn’t a noise that meant the hedgehog felt it was in danger. From listening to the videos it seemed to be a mating call although seems a tad late in the year for that. I didn’t know I had a hedgehog visiting until 1 of my dogs tried to pick something up to bring inside & when I put a torch on I saw it was a hedgehog! Since then the dogs are let out for the last time before it gets dark. I have been putting food out for the hedgehog & then a few nights ago were watching my hedgehog when another turned up. I can sit right in the doorway & they are quite happy to eat with the bowl just down off the step so close I could touch them…I don’t though as don’t want to scare them off

    1. Hi Emma,
      This sounds amazing. We had one almost wander in though the patio doors a couple of nights ago. I think we are quite lucky. Our dog is ferocious with any cats who venture into the garden, but he doesn’t bother the hogs.
      Most hogs will have had one litter earlier in the year, but many will have another in September, so they could be mating now.
      Keep a watch out for autumn hoglets. They struggle to put on the weight they need for hibernation and may need some extra help.
      Keep us posted.
      Clare

  6. I’ve been encouraging a really cute hedgehog for a month and he now is a regular dusk visitor for his food.
    But last night he was not at his regular spot, so I waited until pit was dark before checking again.
    This time, about a yard from his feeding place, were 2 hedgehogs, who I thought was my original with a new friend, about to share supper……however there was much hissing going on… and it was hard to know what it was all about. After a couple more minutes, one scuttled off and I thought it best to leave the other alone.
    So thank you for my first lesson in hedgehog, and I now know that ‘my’ hog was telling the other to push off…. which he did.
    I suppose the only welcome jog will be a sow (?), hopefully followed by babies.
    And will they be raised on the house I’ve provided, or do they prefer their own place ? And At what time of year does mating occur?
    Nick

    1. Hi Nick,
      Sounds like its all going on in your garden! Even when your hog finds a sow, ti will only be. A one night stand. Makes don’t take much part in hoglet care!
      We have hedgehogs in our garden and a lovely hedgehog house which they totally ignore in favour of the back of our shed! so long as they are happy its fine.
      There will have been a litter earlier in the year. but many hogs will be mating again shortly and will produce a second litter in September. Keep the food going if/when these hoglets arrive and keep a close eye on them As Autumn juveniles they have very little time to put on the weight they need for hibernation and may need rescuing.
      Watch with space, we are owing to do an article on this in the next couple of week.
      Keep us posted on how yours are getting on.

      Clare

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