You may be right, Penny and I think that is the reason some people use. But that is absolutely no excuse at all for excessive marking. It is just plainly and simply wrong.
I sometimes wonder with the hogs here whether people actually realise they are marking the same hog. The substance often used seems to show up more in infrared on the cameras than in natural light and I see some hogs, where the marks are beginning to fade, where they appear to have been re-marked differently. If this is the case, the numbers would be inaccurate in any event.
It isn’t only the feet and legs which can help with identification. Skirts, bands between skirt and spines, spine colouring and facial marking can all be helpful. Many opportunities to identify hedgehogs naturally. I started identifying hedgehogs naturally by mistake. Some hedgehogs just stand out, even on video, but I have found that even these unmistakeable hedgehogs are being marked, needlessly.
I remember you pointing out, Penny, probably about this time last year, that with the light evenings it was a good opportunity to photograph some hogs in daylight. Well the early hog here has just been marked, so no chance of that. So thanks, whoever has done it, but you are depriving yourself of the opportunity of photographing her in her natural state too. What is worse, she is a female and has this muck all around her. Even disregarding the damage toxins from it could cause, it could interfere with her social interactions. We need more hoglets not less. And if she already has hoglets some of this substance could transfer to them. It even looks as if some of her spines are sticking together. How does anyone think they have the right to do that to a hedgehog. It needs to stop.