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Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Keeping Track Reply To: Keeping Track

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Hi Paul

Whilst I think Pat Morris’ book is excellent in many respects, I think the advice re. marking hedgehogs is somewhat out of date. It was written at a time when there were far fewer people watching hedgehogs. Nowadays, if everyone marked their visiting hogs, not only would they be likely to have multiple marks on them from different places, but huge numbers of hogs would be marked. In my opinion it is not appropriate to mark a hog unless it is for the benefit of that particular hog or for hogs as whole, i.e. if it is part of a properly thought out and organised scientific study for which a licence has been obtained. I do not think it is appropriate to mark hogs solely for our own benefit. Sensible hogs ‘voting with their feet’! You might be interested in the BHPS Guidelines regarding marking:

“Can I ‘mark’ my hedgehogs?
We’re pretty sure a hedgehog would rather not be marked, but if you are going to do it, please do ensure that you use a non-toxic water-based marker and mark just a few spines of the hedgehog. Keep the mark away from the hedgehog’s face and mark it in the garden on the ground rather than picking it up/bringing it indoors. Please don’t use red as people may mistake it for blood and ‘rescue’ it.  Do not make hedgehog conspicuous to predators.  We have seen some very sad images of poor hedgehogs practically covered in paint!  If you are watching the hedgehogs on a wildlife camera you will often be able to tell them apart over time without the need for marking.”

It is possible to identify all the hogs visiting one garden by their natural markings. I have written some tips in various places on the forum and can point you in the right direction, if you’re interested.

There is something you can do to try to reduce the incidence of roadkill. You can lobby your local council to put up signs in hotspots. But, perhaps the most important thing for hogs is for there to be more of a Hedgehog Highway linking people’s gardens. If they had access to more suitable habitat, there would be less need for them to cross roads so often. It is always very sad to find a poor hog killed on the road. Perhaps you could start some sort of campaign in your area, using the statistics you have to help put the message over.

Good luck. Let us know if you have any success.