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Natural markings or marked by humans?

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Natural markings or marked by humans?

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    See PATCHES images x 2 uploaded to gallery.

    Hello, we have been feeding and keeping an eye on hedgehogs in our Suffolk village since April 2020. We fed through the Winter and apart from one week of snow, had visitors every night.
    Just recently a male hedgehog with unusual markings has been coming to feed. We have just begun to identify our hedgehog visitors by eye, skirt and different coloured prickles but nothing like this one which we have called Patches for identification. Is this natural or is someone marking the hedgehogs in our village? Thanks Jane

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    Hi Jane-Suffolk

    Your images may not have made it onto the gallery yet. If they have you may need to let us know which section they are in, etc.

    If there is a large area of marking on the hog it seems likely that it is artificial.

    I wrote some suggestions a while back to help with natural identification. You may already have seen them, but in case not, they might give you some more ideas of things to look out for.

    It can be made harder identifying hogs by their natural markings if someone in the area is artificially marking them, but sometimes still possible.

    Good luck and happy hog watching.


    Thank you Nic. Yes I did read your suggestions and have been using them to identify our visitors. I can’t see the images in the gallery either but definitely uploaded two so will wait overnight and upload again if still not arrived. There are many in our village who look out for hedgehogs who would be very disappointed if they are being deliberately marked. Thanks.


    Hi Jane from Suffolk, I live in Eye Suffolk. Sometimes people do mark hedgehogs to tell them apart. I have released hedgehogs given to me by a rescue centre and they are marked to help assess their progress.
    I think if the marking is subtle and non toxic it can be of value. Normally it doesn’t stay on long.
    There are reports of some markings being way over the top which is unnecessary.

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    Hi Jane-Suffolk

    Glad to hear you have been using those tips to help identify the hogs.

    I would wait a while longer, re. the images on the Gallery, it sometimes takes a little while for them to appear

    Re. Marking. If people stuck to the BHPS guidelines and marked only a few spines using a non-toxic water-based marker , people might not mind quite so much, but sadly that isn’t always the case. That would also minimise any potential effect of the substance used. Although BHPS do also say “We’re pretty sure a hedgehog would rather not be marked“.

    My own personal view is, that any interaction between humans and hogs should only happen if it is for the benefit of that individual hedgehog or hedgehogs as a whole. If it isn’t they should be left to get on with their lives. Sadly marking often seems to be only for the benefit/amusement of humans and of no benefit to the hog whatsoever.


    Thank you for the comments Nic and Baldwin. I have uploaded two better images (hopefully) into Adult Hedgehog section of the Gallery today. After discussion with several residents that there’s a possibility a hedgehog was marked I have decided to try and get hedgehogs on the local parish agenda. I thought perhaps more awareness might prevent any potential marking. There’s a chance the parish might contribute to a village cam – at the moment ours is loaned out so others can see and appreciate their visitors. We are surrounded by fields so access to our all our gardens is open – we even have deer pop in for a munch.
    Any other suggestions/requirements that might be put before a council meeting much appreciated. Thanks you.

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