Hedgehog poo & tracks: identify signs of hedgehogs
Would you like to know if a hedgehog is visiting your garden? These nocturnal creatures tend to keep a low profile and detecting their presence can be tricky. But there are a few signs to look out for that will indicate a hog has made itself at home.
How to identify hedgehog poo
It may not be particularly pleasant, but one of the best ways to tell if a hedgehog is around is to keep an eye out for its poo. Hedgehog droppings can vary depending on what they have been eating, but have a few common characteristics:
- Normally black or very dark brown
- Roughly sausage shaped
- 1.5 to 5cm long
- Often contain the body parts of insects such as beetles, which can give it a glistening, almost metallic appearance.
Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/David Chapman
Trees can help hedgehogs. Research has found that hogs, and a range of other mammals, are more likely to be found in urban areas with tree cover.
Look out for droppings in areas where hedgehogs will have been foraging for food, like lawns and playing fields.
Other animals likely to leave droppings in your garden are foxes and cats. Fox poo is normally dark, long and twisted and often deposited in prominent locations. Look closely and you may see fur, feathers and other food remains. Cat poo tends to be lighter in colour and has a looser consistency. The droppings of rodents such as rats and mice are much smaller than hedgehog poo and are rarely deposited in the open.
How to identify hedgehog tracks
Another way to detect hedgehogs is to find their paw prints. Hedgehogs have five toes on each foot, although sometimes only four are visible on their tracks. The front feet are wide and can resemble tiny human hands, while the back feet are longer and narrower. A hog’s tracks are normally between 2 to 3cm wide.
Credit: FLPA / Alamy Stock Photo
Look for hedgehog tracks in mud and other soft ground. You can even buy or create a hedgehog footprint tunnel, which is one of the easiest ways to tell if a hog is in the area. Visit the Hedgehog Street website to learn more about how tunnels work.
Other hedgehog signs
Other than poo and tracks, hedgehogs rarely leave any signs of their presence. However, if you’re out at night you may hear them before you see them. Hogs can be surprisingly noisy creatures, producing a variety of strange sounds. Listen out for the ‘huffing’ noise that males make as they attempt to woo a female during the mating season.