23rd May 2018 at 9:13 am #9694
Once again hedgehogs have started turning up covered in graffiti. I understand that it is sometimes necessary to mark a hog, especially if they have come from a rescue centre, but a small blob of colour on the back of the neck is all that is needed. Apart from the one in the photo with 2 large white stripes across its back, there is also one with a large cross, almost marking it out as a target for a small minority who would wish them harm. These beautiful creatures are camouflaged for a reason, why on earth do people feel the need to cover them in paint!
Thankfully no graffiti on this beautiful lady.
https://flic.kr/p/24fQViW23rd May 2018 at 9:39 am #9697
we have a couple of hogs that turn up with such markings on them – what is the product being used in these cases? It reflects light back to the cameras in a way that normal paint wouldn’t do – is it illuminous or iridescent?
your female in the photo is indeed a beauty – makes the heart sing to see them in such condition.23rd May 2018 at 3:21 pm #9709
That’s outrageous, Penny. As you say, there is no need for this excessive marking. The marking round here seems to be done with some sort of substance which doesn’t show up so much in normal light but does in infra red from the cameras, when it shows up as very dark marks. I dread to think what it is or what it is doing to the poor hogs. Unnecessarily large areas of the hog are being covered. Last year one probably had 3/4 of the area of it’s spines covered. I suppose the person who is doing this thinks they are being clever, but the hog is still covered in some foreign substance which could interfere with it’s social interactions. I can’t help wondering whether that, as well as mealworms and A24 traps could be contributing to the very markedly reduced numbers of hogs in the area this year. If the female doesn’t smell right is the male going to pursue it in the same way it would have done otherwise. Hoglet numbers were way down last year since this marking has escalated. I cannot produce proof, but it is entirely logical and if there is any doubt, why would anyone want to risk it.
I saw last year that the battles were far more ferocious amongst marked hogs with the one who would normally have given in and rolled up fighting back so that it ended up with one of them being shaken like a dog with a rat. If the normal scent of a hog is masked by some foreign substance the hogs may not have recognised each other which could have minimised conflict.
Some of the hogs here look as if the same one may have been marked by more than one person, having the dark blobs and some paler ones as well. If someone is going to mark hogs AT ALL they should make contact with other hog friendly people so they could agree to some scheme so that this doesn’t happen.
I really wish BHPS would produce a poster about this subject. Maybe you could send them a copy of your photo, Penny? I was contemplating contacting them again myself, but haven’t been able to get a good enough image of the hogs here.
I agree with Jan-Marie your lady hog looks lovely. That’s how most hog lovers want to see the hogs not as some parody of themselves covered with ridiculous marks.8th June 2018 at 2:46 pm #9871
I had another excessively marked hog and sent some images to Fay. I drew her attention to this topic. She said they may put something about it on their website and said would you mind if they use your image as part of that? My images are nowhere near as clear as yours are, but there are plenty of them from last year and this. I just hope it makes a difference.8th June 2018 at 9:46 pm #9874
I see little point in marking hogs for ANY reason. If a hog is being marked to see if it returns to a feeding station or not…what’s to be learned if it doesn’t? There could be any number of reasons for it. The marking system is being used primarily to satisfy curiosity. I briefly considered marking an overwintered hog i released this spring. I’m glad i didn’t. I like to think he still returns as there are a couple of individuals that fit the bill, but in truth, if i knew for sure he hadn’t returned, i’d be upset. There’s a greater comfort in not being entirely sure. I have hogs visiting regularly. The same individuals or not- they all get fed and watered regardless.9th June 2018 at 1:39 pm #9876
Hello all. We’ve been on holiday and only just caught up with the Forum. Horrified to see all the comments about Hedgehog marking. At the end of May 3 of our hogs turned up with similar markings. One almost identical to Penny’s picture. I thought possibly they had all squeezed under a freshly painted gate. Could not believe someone would do that.
The paint did seem to be luminous under the lamp we use outside.
We live in Hertfordshire – I don’t know where you all are but it can’t be just one person doing this? I’m really worried as to the motives. Publicity may help if someone knows what is going on.11th June 2018 at 10:09 am #9883
It turned out that the hog covered in graffiti was none other than our new resident Monty – or should I now call him stripe! He didn’t stick around for long, he was captured on camera in and out of the hog house constantly scratching, I suppose it could have been down to the warm weather or lodgers of his own, but the excessive scratching only started after he had been given a makeover. Young Nagini certainly wasn’t impressed with his new paint job either, it didn’t take her long to give him the cold shoulder, although wandering off for refreshments twice during his circling routine, certainly didn’t do him any favours! He turned up again a couple of nights ago and also the one with the cross on his back, which I hadn’t seen for a while, whatever the paint is, it doesn’t seem to be fading much.
Nic, I’ll send the photo to Fay and see what others I can find, interestingly enough the paint doesn’t show up as well on the Bushnell as it does on the Aldi camera.
I’ve put together a few clips of a restless Monty upon returning from a night out. He was scratching for a full one and half hours before he finally settled down!11th June 2018 at 10:39 am #9885
Poor chap! He looks as if he has dark on him, as well as white. We don’t know whether whatever the substance is could be making him more itchy either. An hour and a half is a long time to be scratching.
I was so delighted on Thursday night when a female, who I last saw in August, returned. (She is the one who used to come through the garden where there was building, which is hopefully now finished). Then Saturday night she caught me out by arriving at 8.45 just before I was going to put the food out. She disappeared into the bushes, and I crept out, but she didn’t come back. Last night she arrived a bit later but is now ‘graffittied’. So sad. I feel so sorry for the poor things.11th June 2018 at 12:12 pm #9886
I have to say that none of my hedgies are marked – and it does make it tricky to know who has been when. I am just delighted that they come at all! Meanwhile one of my larger hogs now has two ticks – one either side of his bottom – so a very useful temporary marking!12th June 2018 at 2:26 pm #9900
Glad that you have another female returned Nic, all our hopes for hoglets are pinned on Nagini after the only other female upped sticks to escape all the male attention. Nagini on the other hand can’t get enough, but still no signs yet, unless she’s leaves the kids home alone while she’s busy partying all night!
I also find that ticks are very helpful in identifying individuals Dwarfhog, but it’s useful to try and find some other identifying feature as well. I once identified one of our regulars by her ticks and her punctuality, but I realised after she had gone off to hibernate that I had no other way of identifying her, if or when she returned. Paint also wears off eventually and so it’s well worth making a note of their features. Thanks to Nic, I now pay a great deal of attention to their legs and feet. The females here – when they are around – tend to have longer and slimmer legs. Our only female at the moment, has very distinctive facial features anyway, but she also has very long back claws with one of them missing.12th June 2018 at 2:47 pm #9901
It just occurred to me, that if people are marking their hedgehogs to try and get an indication of how many there are, then using the RSPB’s ‘Big Garden Bird Watch’ method may give a good indication. Most people would be rightly outraged if we all started daubing our feathered friends with paint in an effort to count them; so instead, the RSPB ask you to count the most that you see of a particular species in your own garden at any one time. With hedgehogs, last year that was seven and so far this year we are up to five.12th June 2018 at 5:52 pm #9904
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.13th June 2018 at 11:12 am #9916
Such a shame that the one chance you got to photograph a hog in daylight was ruined by all the excessive paint. Whilst going back through all the camera footage, I noticed another one that had been marked with one stripe, so does that mean that the next one that I find scrawled all over will have three stripes and the next four and so on, until they are completely covered! Can you just imagine the crew of Springwatch or Planet Earth hoping to record some hedgehog footage, only for them to finally arrive covered in paint!
Like you say, some hogs just stand out and are easy to identify, but there are many subtle ways to identify them if you put the effort in. Apart from colouring, the shape of the face and nose differ. Some have very pointed noses, some more rounded and some have Roman noses and the males will very often have the odd battle scar. Then there’s body shape, just like humans they are all different. Some have rounded bodies and some are more torpedo shaped with long legs. There’s even temperament, we have one at the moment that’s a bit manic, he always acts as though he’s on the run from somebody or something!
To obtain the best view of them, place the camera about three inches off the ground, a brick is ideal and then you will have a hogs eye view.
This rare daylight footage was captured this morning, of a male on his way home and is probably the best that the cameras have ever recorded…so pleased that he wasn’t covered in paint! 🙂26th June 2018 at 12:34 am #10103
I’ve had two hogs turn up tonight eith white markings. One with two white stripes across its back and the one here with a white spot on the rump. I am very annoyed!!!😬26th June 2018 at 9:11 am #10109
So sorry to hear your hog visitors have been marked. It can be quite distressing when you have got to know a hog well and someone does that to it. Why anyone thinks they have the right to do that to something that does not belong to them is beyond me. The current guidelines from BHPS https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/faq/
[“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 ale to tell them apart over time without the need for marking.”]
Personally, I see no need to mark at all, but if only people would stick to the ‘just a few spines’ it wouldn’t be quite so bad. Even if not as bad as some, the mark on the hog in your picture is definitely more than a few spines.
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