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Stripey Hedgehog

Home Forums Champions’ chat Stripey Hedgehog

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
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  • #6878

    Hi All,

    One of my regular male hogs turned up a few nights ago with some blondish stripes in about 3 patches one on its back and two on its rear which certainly weren’t there the night before?

    I can only think that someone has marked it or does anyone know what else it could be? The hog is fine and a bit of a bruiser happily bashing any other male that passes by (I also noticed last night it rubbed its chin/belly along the patio for a short length – is this the hog scent marking to tell the other hogs don’t come here or I will bash you?).

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    Hi Hogmeister

    Sounds to me like the poor hog has been marked by an excessive marker.

    Re. the belly rubbing – if that’s the reason, it isn’t working if the hogs here are anything to go by. I always think it is more of a sinking and lengthening of the whole body, rather than a chin rub. They seem to do it here when there is a female around. It seems to be part of the courtship ‘dance’. They also usually seem to ‘shorten’ (and widen) their faces at the same time. I always think it looks as if they are trying to impress the female. They sometimes do similar just after a female has left.


    Hi Nic.

    Sadly I think you are right. I know people do mark hogs from posts on Hedgehog Street but i’m not a fan. Last year one hog turned up with a large patch of white on its side which was almost certainly someone marking it. I know it has been said before but they are wild animals and, if you observe them closely, you can tell the difference without the need to paint them!

    Hopefully whoever marked them at least used something appropriate. If people are going to do this a few spines would suffice to mark the hog not undertake artwork on them.

    Anyway off my soapbox now and interesting about the chin rubbing. I have certainly seen the hogs elongating their bodies and also rounding their bodies and going up on their toes – all interesting behaviour that I don’t fully understand. Also enjoy watching them scratch with their almost seemingly extendable legs sometimes leading to a comical sideways fall! i will have to keep an eye out for the face contortions in future though.


    One of our hedgehogs Boris regularly rubs his chin along the ground; it always seems to be after a visit to the food bowls so I do wonder if he is just dusting off a few crumbs. He also has a particular talent for putting his body into all sorts of strange contortions in order to get to that niggling itch, whilst still managing to feed his face at the same time! 🙂

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    I think it is more likely that he has picked up the scent of a female near the food bows. Whenever I have seen it, it has always seemed to be female related. I’m not sure hogs have that good manners that they would bother with a few crumbs on their chin! The one’s here certainly don’t seem to. They seem quite happy to walk through food, water, etc. Sometimes food is even more interesting than females for a short time, but if they smell a female around, they don’t seem to waste any time after they have finished eating to get back into female wooing mode.

    They are certainly very good contortionists – and shape changers.


    I have a large regular hedgehog with a stripe on the back that looks light on the Trailcam, but is actually mud (I saw it once in daylight) – and it also chin rubs on the patio! It seems to be only when it has got the scent of another much smaller visiting hedgehog that has passed that way recently the same night. I have been wondering if anyone knows what is going on with the chin rubbing behaviour. I wondered if it was scent marking, but I understand they don’t have scent glands.
    Does anyone know?


    Huffy, the hedgehog who visits every night, and a few times a night, and eats most of the food – is now called Huffy, as he is the only one that makes huffing noises, whether eating, biffing another male, or wandering around.

    At first he had two white spots on his back, now that’s disappeared and he has a white streak on the lower part of his back, nearer his bum – so I’m wondering, if it’s just mud like you say Helen, it’s just that it comes up as white as we are seeing them in the dark.

    I’ll find out soon, if it disappears suddenly.


    Nic could be right though, as I’m just looking it up, and their are websites telling people to mark their hedgehogs with white paint as it shows up in the dark – so frustrating how this happens. I’ll find out – if the mark is still there in a couple of months, I’ll assume it’s not mud.

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    People are marking the hogs with something that does sometimes look a bit like mud in ordinary light, but shows up white in infrared i.e. night cams. But it doesn’t seem to immediately wash off in the rain and may be some sort of paint. Even if it is some sort of mud it should not be put on hedgehogs and risk their spines being stuck together. People may be doing it that way to avoid criticism hoping that other people won’t notice. What they are doing is wrong and not for the benefit of the hedgehog and it should not be encouraged.
    BHPS specifically say in their FAQs ‘Can I mark hedgehogs’:
    “Do not make hedgehog conspicuous to predators.”

    If anyone visits a website which is telling people to mark hedgehogs with white paint, so that they can be seen better, perhaps they should put them right. If a hedgehog has white paint on it it will be more conspicuous to predators, of which humans as a species are one.

    BHPS also says:
    “use a non-toxic water-based marker and mark just a few spines of the hedgehog.”

    ‘Just a few spines’. Many marked hedgehogs have a variety of stripes and blobs on them, sometimes covering more than half the area of the spines. If substance is not applied carefully (and only on just a few spines) the spines are likely to stick together and feel very uncomfortable for the hedgehog and in some cases even prevent the hog from rolling up. It is unkind and in some cases cruel to the hedgehogs.

    BHPS also say
    “We’re pretty sure a hedgehog would rather not be marked”

    Link to BHPS FAQs:

    Personally I see no need to mark hedgehogs. Any interaction which we have with them should either be for the benefit of one particular hedgehog or hedgehogs as a whole. Apart from a very few exceptions, putting paint or any other sort of marker on a hedgehog is not for the benefit of the hedgehog it is nearly always for the benefit of the human. They are wild animals. They are not put here purely for the entertainment of humans.

    Having said that, most of us would probably not mind quite so much, if the guidelines were stuck to – i.e. on just a few spines.

    Hedgehogs do not belong to us. If someone started putting white paint or other artificual markings on the local tabby cats to tell them apart (and so they could be seen better in the dark) everyone would soon be up in arms. What is the difference.


    I think that’s way I want to convince myself it’s just mud, because I hate the fact that someone might be picking them up, distressing them, and then putting paint on them, when they look so beautiful naturally. I think if you are doing it for surveillance, where you are getting paid for it and it’s for the benefit of research for the wildlife trusts, then that’s ok – but to do it just to see if the same hedgehog returns to your garden is very wrong and shouldn’t be allowed at all. People shouldn’t be picking up hedgehogs and distressing them unnecessarily, only if they are poorly or injured and your taking them inside to check them and then transfer them to a hedgehog rescue centre.

    With the hedgehogs I watch on a night, I sit as quietly as possible, so not sure if they know that I’m there, unless they can smell me. One saw me once, as I just came out the door, and he stopped in his tracks, but I sat down quietly and stayed still, and it then moved and went towards the feeding station after a few minutes – but I don’t come anywhere near them, I think it’s wrong.

    I share your anger Nic, I really do. I’m gonna get really angry if I find out it’s not mud. Especially because Huffy is distinguishable anyway because he constantly huffs.


    Hi all, just read your posts. When they are all around we have 5 hogs. It’s very difficult to tell which is which but mostly it’s a guess! I would never mark one, the whole idea is horrendous when it’s making them vulnerable to attack. So, how about someone makes a video of “people” with a silly coloured stripe or blob of paint on their hair, made to walk behind a barricade with their head sticking up on a firing rang? Will that get it through to these idiots? So you don’t know one from the other, just be grateful and privileged to see them in your garden and help them out a little with food, water and a little shelter. Best wishes to all you wonderful people who care for our hedgehogs.


    A hedgehog visited my garden a few weeks ago with a large number 5 on it’s back. Poor thing! Not sure if the same one has been back since, but if it has the number has gone. I like to think I can tell them apart, but really there is a lot of guesswork, it doesn’t matter though, I just feel privileged to watch them.


    I’ve read all your posts and think it’s an absolute disgrace that people mark hedgehogs at all!
    I have Hetty and Big Bruiser regularly feeding in my garden and initially it was difficult to tell them apart. But to be honest, I was so delighted to see them it didn’t matter if they had been before, I just felt blessed to see them.
    However, having studied the cam footage for hours and stood quietly watching them, I have learnt to distinguish between them, even in poor light.
    Of course I have been able to see that big bruiser is much bigger than Hetty but this is only obvious when they are in the garden together.
    From studying the cam footage, I have been able to see that Hetty has longer legs and walks very differently to Big Bruiser and Big Bruiser has more spikes, almost like a spiky skirt that makes him look like he’s floating instead of walking.
    Surely if these people were that committed to hedgehogs they would find better kinder ways to identity them!
    I was surprised to read in one of the recent posts, that some hedgehog street subscribers agree with this painting /marking lark 😡 I agree with Annker’s solution !
    Someone should paint these people in bright colours and parade them around !


    Hi Hettihog, hope alls well with you and yours. Missing posts and forum as hubby not too well, but so glad you agree with me. If I saw one my instinct would be to try and get the marking off, but I think I would think again as capturing it and trying to clean it would be horrendous for the hog and prob water wouldn’t remove it anyway. I would never try chemicals. My remaining 2 hogs have been missing for two nights now, so trying not to worry. Best wishes.


    Hey Annker So sorry to hear your hubby is unwell, sending best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    Big Bruiser seems to have gone awol! Haven’t seen him for a few days now, although not sure if he has stopped his nightly forage round the garden or if he is just camera shy.
    Although if he’s not visiting, then what is eating all the food!
    Because I put plenty out, enough for two hogs every night and it’s all gone by morning!
    I haven’t see him when I’ve been sitting out or on the camera.
    However it may be that I have the camera set up wrong, it doesn’t seem to pick up on movement every time! I’ve been messing about with different settings and sites since I had the thing! So frustrating!
    To be honest I’m a bit of a technophobe and not really equipped to deal with camera settings. And Hubbys tolerance for hogilism is wearing a bit thin!😂 so dare not ask him to sort it out!
    I hope your spiky friends return soon, I completely understand about you worrying, I’m worried about Big Bruiser- think the worrying bit is all part of the caring !
    Take care and best wishes x

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