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Tolerant hedgies.

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Tolerant hedgies.

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  • #7175

    Hi all. Well, I’ve been feeding my local hedgehogs now for 2 years. Every evening I see at least 1 in my garden, often 2 and occasionally 3 at the same time, however, I saw this the other day…
    I’m amazed at how tolerant they are with each other.
    Is there a way to try and identify each hog, ie certain marking to look for, or is there a safe way I can mark them?

    Avatar photo

    Hi hedgehog legs

    Lovely to see all the hogs there.

    It is possible to identify the hogs by their natural markings, and much easier than some people think. Things to look out for are:

    Facial markings. (general colour, dark or pale, whether there are stars – as on horses, Triangles coming down from between ears, bars across the face in various places and angles, bars beneath ears, any pale patches, areas of mottled appearance, dark marks from nose to eyes, how far above the eyes the dark mark goes, the shape of it, etc.)
    Colour of fur inside ears.
    Colour of spines (i.e. russety, dull brown, pale, any pale groups of spines, etc.)
    Variations/gradations in colour of their skirts. (sometimes a skirt can be pale with dark bands going down – like a hedgehog barcode)
    Whether there is a marked band between the skirt and the spines and if so, what colour it is.
    Whether or not they have a big ruff, although that sometimes changes during the season.

    I recommend drawing a template of a hedgehog face. Similar to the inside of an onion. Ears at the top, nose at the bottom and eyes in between. Then all you have to do is fill it it when the hedgehog arrives. Then draw a template of a side view of the hedgehog so that it is ready to fill in too. There is nothing like trying to draw a picture to help you to be more observant and remember better. This method has the benefit, not only that the hedgehog is not being, potentially, distressed by being repeatedly remarked, but you will be able to recognise the hedgehog year after year. When a hedgehog arrives, if you don’t recognise it, just check your sketches to see if it is one you have already drawn, if not use another template and fill it in. I have temporarily changed my profile picture to a rough template of a hog face. I am not much of an artist, but it doesn’t have to look artistically brilliant to help you with identification.

    With hoglets, you will need to keep revisiting your sketch as they grow, as the facial markings, in particular, do seem to develop.

    I feed the hogs at a distance that I can see them through binoculars, so I can get a really close up view of their faces. I leave the outside light on during feeding time – normally 2 – 3 hours and the hogs don’t seem to mind at all.

    I know some people put artificial marks on the hogs but, personally, I don’t like to see a hog with ‘graffiti’ on it and I see no need. Fair enough if it is for scientific study, but otherwise, who are we marking them for, the hogs or ourselves? They are wild animals and my feeling is we should only interfere with them if it is for the benefit of the hedgehog. They do not belong to us and there may be other people who also see them as ‘their’ hogs who would be very upset to see them marked. Other animals are identified by their natural markings, so why not hedgehogs. Far better to see them in their wild natural beauty.

    You will probably find that the hogs are not always tolerant of each other. I find the females tend to be more so, but the males will biff and roll or push another hog along for some distance if there is an interesting female around and sometimes even if there isn’t!

    Good luck – I hope you will decide to try natural identification.


    Hi Nic.
    Thank you for your detailed and extremely helpful response! I will certainly opt for the natural I.D. method; I’ve taken a screen shot of your profile pic which I shall copy later, thank you!
    I feed from a distance too, with the outside light often on whilst they feed, and they also don’t seem bothered by it. I’ll be at my window with my binoculars later!!
    Thanks again for your help.


    Hi Nic,

    Thank you for all your detailed and extremely useful information.
    We had always tried to identify the hedgie by their bulk and markings
    of their spines. Never thought of the connection with horses and facial
    features. I have copied your profile piccy and will try to identify individual
    hedgies facially in the future.
    Quite alot of people talk about watching the hedgies at night. I have tried
    the bino’s and lights on, but it is a poor substitute to a camera. Our hedgies
    tend to avoid lights. Once flashed with a torch they tend to do a runner at the first opportunity, once the light is off them. They also seem to have a preference for the surface they are on. Ours prefer the garden grass surface to a flagged patio one. We have quite a large area of shale and stone out
    to the front of the house, down the side to the garages and partially as a path to the rear. Ours tend to stick to the grassy areas to the rear, side and front lawns. Maybe this is a Gloucestershire tendency or trait of our hedgies.

    Avatar photo

    Hi James

    Glad you have decided to have a go at natural id. Hope it goes well.

    Hogs don’t like the lights going on and off too much, but if the light is on when they come to feed, they don’t seem to mind at all. So, I turn on the light – in the summer when it starts to get dark – usually before they arrive. I think if there is food there, they would get used to it. The patio here is rather old and has grass growing between the bits, but I don’t think they would mind normally flat stone, but possibly not loose stuff so much. After I have taken the bowls in (I normally only feed for 2-3 hours), I use solar lights, which have the advantage that they can be moved onto grassy areas and being aimed generally downwards, not so intrusive to the neighbours.


    Wow hedgehog legs, that’s a nice gathering πŸ˜‰


    This is the most sound tolerant hedgehog I’ve seen:
    The reason why the bowls are empty is that it had been eating and drinking (I think also sleeping) and i was about to leave.

    Here is one tolerant to childrens voices, but not to coughing child

    Here in Sweden possibly because of very bright nights, they move even in some light.

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