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Strange white markings on spines???

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Strange white markings on spines???

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    I have just purchased a trail cam to watch the hedgehogs and see what else is coming by at night. I knew I was getting three full grown hedgehogs and surveillance has revealed that three might be four. I am a little nonplussed by the strange white spines two or three of them have. I cannot think what might have caused them. One hedgehog has what looks like a lower case t and I think my obscure 4th hedgehog might have a similar mark. One of them I know was definitely here last year. I had thought the mark might have been deliberately made by someone but I am not entirely sure.

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    Hi Boss Hogg

    You are quite likely right and the hogs have been deliberately marked. Very sadly these days you are lucky if you manage to find a hog that hasn’t been artificially marked in some places.


    Thanks Nic. It makes me really angry to think that someone might do that. To be honest I cannot think of another explanation though. I then wonder what substance would be strong enough to permanently mark their spines. Spray paint? I shall monitor them all and see if any fresh markings appear.

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    Hi BossHogg

    Yes, I just think it’s really sad. Most of the poor hogs here seem to have some pale marks and some dark marks – possibly marked by different people – the poor things look a terrible mess. The lockdown doesn’t seem to have done them any favours in that respect, either. Usually when it rains it fades a bit, but of course it hasn’t rained for ages – here at least. But then they get re-marked – not always in the same ‘pattern’. So whoever is doing it is just as likely to be counting the same hedgehog more than once.

    Oh to see a hedgehog in it’s wild natural beauty!


    With regard to hedgehogs being marked with paint I have noticed an increase in this practice with the hogs visiting my feeders. Some of them have great splotches of paint over them. Some arrive still glistening with black paint over them. They must be being trapped to do this which is distressing enough, let alone the consequential behaviour effects of being marked has on them. I think it’s disgusting that people think they have a right to treat these wild animals in this way. They don’t own them, and putting paint on them is cruel and serves no useful purpose.


    It is so sad that people mark hedgehogs. why can’t people enjoy them with their natural markings ! we have loads of hedgehogs coming into our garden and its so sad because we only have one which isn’t marked but its also very annoying because we are trying to identify how many we have and I haven’t been able to recognise any because I have a little note book which I log on all the hedgehogs I have seen with their markings and now I’ve realised that people have been marking them since I’ve been doing this and I think they are different ones because they have marks on but really they are the ones I’ve already logged but when I did It they didn’t have marks on!

    I agree with you all in that you should recognise them with their natural markings. I just think it is so cruel that some people can’t just love something without having to add something of their own to it.


    I have been feeding hedgehogs in my garden for 4 years now and early on I thought someone was marking the hedgehogs but now have come to the conclusion that it is mud. I have a trail camera set up and it seems to pick out the mud I have had one with a perfect heart on it, a V and different stripes. I live in a small village. I rescued 7 to over winter and realeased 4 poorly ones in the spring. My camera picks up roughly 40 visits a night and this week we have had a fox cub feeding with a hedgehog. I am sure some people do mark them I never would even though I would love to know how many I am feeding. Babies are arriving to feed and last night it was a bit pornographic when 2 were making love they didn’t even spend all the time circling like they normally do.

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    Hi Hoglet

    It’s possible some people are using mud to mark the hogs, but equally possible they are using some other substance which is a similar colour to mud. I know hedgehogs can be pretty clever, but I’m not sure that even they would manage to get mud in a heart shape, a V, or stripes by themselves, so it seems likely someone was doing the marking.

    It is possible to learn to recognise the hogs by their natural markings, if you look very carefully at the the areas which are likely to have differences, such as their faces, skirts and the band above the skirt.

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