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Markings on hedgehogs

Home Forums Champions’ chat Markings on hedgehogs

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    Last night I had a lot of hoglets that haven’t hibernated feeding (they are eating me out of house and home). I bought 10 kg of hedgehog food which arrived on 31st October and I have just had to order another 10kg to cover me for Christmas. I had one turn up about 2 weeks ago that had a heart shape on its back in its quills and so I have been keeping an eye on it, anyway last night I had 2 more turn up with a mark in a similar place but they were not heart. Could they be out of the same litter? Does anyone know whether these markings run in litters or are they just random?


    Could it be markings made by a human?

    I have marked with nailpolish to get a idea of how many hedgehogs that move here and also to distingusish between individuals. This summer i marked 9 adult and still more than 50 % I saw were unmarked. This led me to guess that there are more than 20 that moves around here.


    Thanks Jens, I think these are natural markings and show up because of the infrared on the camera. I have a lot of places in my garden for nesting and hibernating but these new hedgehogs I haven’t seen before. Thick snow last night and I still had two visit for food and water.


    That is interesting! Maybe a new way to tell difference between them.

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    Hi Hoglet

    I think it is more likely that Jens is right and that someone has artificially marked the hoglets. Artificial marks would show up well on night cams, probably even more than natural marks. Some hogs do have some pale spines but not normally enough to make a heart shape. There are a few hedgehogs which visit here who have 2 or 3 pale spines together (seen through binoculars) and it’s possible it could be genetic, but not necessarily from the same litter – the ones here are not all the same age. It is, though, likely that many of the hogs visiting one particular place are related, in some way, to one another.

    Whilst I don’t normally agree with artificially marking hedgehogs, there is, perhaps, more justification for marking late hoglets, to save them from having to be repeatedly caught and weighed if they are over the minimum survival weight of 450g. This could be considered to be in the interests of the individual hoglets. However, this only needs to be a tiny mark on a few individual spines with water based product.

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    Hi Jens

    I hope next year, you will try to identify the hedgehogs by natural means to save having to mark them. It should be possible to identify 20 individuals quite easily, especially as you are seeing them in daylight and they will look better on your films if they look completely natural. If you are going to mark them, I quote from a message on Twitter from the BHPS (British Hedgehog Preservation Society):

    “If people must mark ‘their’ hedgehog visitors, all it needs is tiny mark with water based product away from face……”

    I would add to that, on the spines and away from the skirt. Water based product is thought to smell less than nailpolish.

    I am not on Twitter, but you can access the BHPS Twitter on the Home page of Hedgehog Street. That ‘tweet’ was from 23rd March 2017 in response to some poor unfortunate hedgehogs which had been excessively marked.

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