17th March 2019 at 12:55 pm #14009
Although my 3 hog-houses are still quiet, the 2 feeding stations have been getting increasingly popular in the last 2/3 weeks (in Rainham, Kent).
With several hogs visiting each, each night, it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether I’m getting hogs coming in for seconds.
However this one arrived last night with some distinct markings.
I wonder if anyone has thoughts on what have caused these dark patches, and whether I should be at all concerned.
(At least I’ll be able to identify this one, unless he’s just picked up some mess and has a clean-up before dropping in again).17th March 2019 at 10:34 pm #14018
Hi Leon, I think you will find that someone has been ‘marking’ your hog to make it easy to identify him! We know that hedgehogs all look remarkably similar so people spray them or mark them to be able to tell them apart. Nic will tell you that it’s quite unnecessary as – with patience – it is possible to recognise individuals (but TBH I haven’t managed it!!) but marking them can make them more obvious to predators – some people even use luminous paint – and there is also a suggestion that marking makes them less attractive to other hogs for mating! My view is that we are lucky to have them at all and I don’t really care whether one comes several times a night or if the visits are all unique. If I see two – or very occasionally three – at once its a bonus!18th March 2019 at 5:57 pm #14034
I have a regular hedgehog with markings. In the dark on my Trailcam they look like light coloured stripes, but once I saw it up close in daylight I saw it was actually dried on mud. This one is quite portly, and has a habit sometimes of rolling over when having a scratch. I suspect he rolled into a muddy puddle once and it never came off. The stripey marks are still there now, after hibernation, so he hasn’t cleaned himself up. It is useful for IDing though.
Helen18th March 2019 at 7:12 pm #14035
I think it is very likely that what looks like mud is actually some sort of marking which someone has applied to the hedgehog. If it was mud, it wouldn’t have stayed there up to, through and after hibernation. It has certainly rained a fair bit here, and I imagine has there too at some stage. Some of the material used does look quite pale in light, but shows up as dark on night cams. The fact that it stayed indicates to me that it was quite thickly applied which is completely unfair to hogs.
I will say more in a separate post because it is is not aimed at you, since you haven’t marked the hogs.18th March 2019 at 7:13 pm #14036
Often substances are applied to hedgehogs so thickly that the spines stick together. If someone really thinks it is necessary to mark a hog – which I think is totally unnecessary as well as unkind – all that is required is a marking on a very few spines, ensuring that none of the spines stick together. That should be enough for someone to identify the hog easily, even on a camera.
The following is an extract from British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) FAQs.
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.18th March 2019 at 7:31 pm #14037
From the look of the poor hog on your video, it has been artificially marked. Possibly by using some sort of spray device. I don’t think that a hog would be able to get such defined patches like that accidentally.
I would say you should be concerned about this. If spray has been used it is quite possible that the substance reached the skin. When the majority of the males return and begin to be involved in biffing sessions, this marking may well come off on the faces of other hogs. I have seen hogs looking like completely different hogs because their faces have had such a lot of foreign substance on them – presumably from biffing a hog who had been artificially marked – it was the same colour. This was including around their eyes which potentially could damage their eyesight.
Hedgehogs rely a large amount on their sense of smell. It is possible that being covered in foreign substance (which it is very likely they can smell, even if we cannot) could interfere with their social interactions.
If anyone wants some tips about how to identify hogs naturally, I have included some tips within the following topic18th March 2019 at 7:40 pm #14038
P.S. Helen. I said shows up as dark on camera – I was thinking about the hog on Leon’s video, but some of these substances show up as pale on camera.27th March 2019 at 10:47 am #14231
One of the numerous hedgehog visitors we has a series of white stripes on his back, never seen him in daylight but they look like rather bare patches. Could this be a sign of ill health? Can’t work out how to add a photo/video to this!27th March 2019 at 1:16 pm #14234
It’s most likely that the poor hog has been artificially marked, particularly if the lines are fairly straight and vaguely parallel to each other. But try to get a better look just in case it has a strimmer injury. (This is another reason why it is such a bad idea to artificially mark hogs, because the markings could be mistaken for injuries – as if all the other reasons not to do it weren’t good enough!)
If you are able to load the photo to somewhere else on the internet, it should be possible to put a link here. Alternatively you could load them on here via the home page, but that might take a few days before we can see them. To get an image here quickly, you could temporarily use it as a profile picture – that is almost instant – and might give us an idea of what you mean.28th March 2019 at 5:48 am #14243
I have added a photo as my profile picture & added it to the gallery.
Can’t believe people do that to them.
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