Friday, 26 June 2009

Who's been marking my hogs?

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.


  1. Hi again GL:-)

    Ah… now I have heard of a blogger who has marked her visiting hogs (in different places) although she is in Wales so it’s most unlikely that you are seeing ‘her’ hogs visit your garden ;-) This is a link to one of her postings :-D

    In marking different places on the hogs she could ID each one (and she named them too) which is another thought too. Perhaps that is what is happening to ‘your’ hogs. Someone else in your neighbourhood is perhaps naming them! Ah… but then they must be feeding them too so that is all to the good for their survival :-D

    However, I do have another very basic thought… perhaps they have come across paint during their garden wanderings one evening! I say this as last Autumn we had white paint footprints (clearly from hogs) following some routes I know they take and others I didn’t know about!

  2. Hi Shirl

    I'm happy to report that the hog wasn't too disturbed by its encounter with me because it was back again the following night. I suppose another good point is that I'll be able to recognize it again too!

    I've thought about naming them but rejected the idea. I feel attached to them anyway, to give them names would make them feel like pets and increase the feeling of attachment. Then I'd get worried sick if I didn't see a particular one.

  3. Like Shirl I wondered if it had brushed against some wet paint. Funny though - I had noticed one of my visitors seemed to have a light mark about the same place on its back. I put it down to it being a patch of lighter coloured spines but now you have got me wondering.
    I ended up naming my two visitors. It was easier than writing about 'the big one' and 'the little one'. :)

  4. Well, I did consider that it might have rubbed against some wet paint somewhere, but the marks don't look random enough. From some angles it looks like a number "3". If this is the case, there might be a "1" and "2" in the neighbourhood too.

    I didn't get a very good close-up look as it was clear that the hedgehog wanted to be left alone (perhaps after being picked up and painted by someone it is mistrustful of humans - the poor thing!), so I just took a photo, gave it some mealworms and left it to go about its business.

    As to namimg the hogs rather than calling them "the big one" and "the little one", that wouldn't work here as there are several big ones and several small ones (and a few other sizes too) and they are difficult to tell apart.

    BTW, it's good to hear from yu both, John and Shirl. Sorry that I've not been over to either of your blogs recently but I'm exceedingly busy writing a book at the moment. The final manuscript is required in less than three weeks, so it is intense work! (I'm on coffee break as I write this). I was commisioned to write the book, which was nice timing seeing as I was recently made redundant. I'm hoping it might lead to other writing jobs as I so do not want to go back to office work.