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Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Strange markings Reply To: Strange markings


The white markings that people are reporting in these posts are most probably the result of a common hedgehog behaviour called ‘self-anointing’. Hedgehogs spread a frothy saliva over their spines, and even after this dries it leaves irregular whitish smear marks that are conspicuous in trail camera images. Although it would help to see photos of the markings to be certain, I think it’s extremely unlikely that the marks described in these posts are due to somebody’s freelance marking experiment.
Why do hedgehogs self-anoint? Since adult males do it more than females, it was thought to be something to do with sexual advertisement, but it may be more complicated than that. Self-anointing can be triggered by various substances (mostly smelly ones), and all ages and sexes sometimes do it. Here’s an interesting article.