This poor little hog in the above photo looks extremely worried. I do like to let them go about their business without any interference as much as possible, but sometimes for one reason or another I find that I just have to take a closer look. Late last night I saw this hog out of the back door window and it appeared to have weird markings on its back so I went out to investigate.
The hog didn't really want me to examine it and tried to hide behind some canes in the corner of the patio. It appeared to have some paint daubed on its back. I took a quick photo, gave the hog a handful of mealworms and backed off. As I was going back into the house I could hear it munching on the worms, so hopefully its brief encounter with me was forgotten and it was happy to have something nice to eat.
So, how did this hog get paint on its back? I was a little indignant at first, thinking "Who's been marking MY hogs?" (It's funny, I think of them as being mine but of course I know that they are not). However, the more I thought about it, it seemed like a good sign. If someone marked the hog it probably means that they wanted to keep track of its comings and goings to their garden. Which implies that they are interested in wildlife and are possibly feeding hedgehogs themselves. I wish I knew if it was one of my neighbours, as it'd be good to compare notes (and to make sure they weren't putting down bread and milk which is not good for hedgehogs). Personally, I'd prefer it if they didn't mark the hogs, but I suppose no harm has been done.