A closer Look At Hedgehog Poo

Here at Home & Roost, we get very excited about poo. Poo can tell you so much about the animals that visit your garden. Which animals visit, where they hang out, what they’re eating, and how healthy they are. Hedgehogs are one of our favourite animals. So we thought it was time to take a closer look at hedgehog poo.

Why is Hedgehog Poo so Exciting?

Hedgehogs are nocturnal. They are out doing their business at night and generally sleep during the day. 

So unless you spend lots of time hanging around your garden after dark, you’ll probably spot hedgehog poo before you catch sight of the beast itself.

In the spring poos are even more exciting. Spotting your first hedgehog poos of the spring means that your hogs have made it through the winter hibernation. They’re out and about again, ready to start thinking about finding a mate.

How to Spot a Hedgehog Poo

What Does Hedgehog Poo Look Like?

The poo of a healthy hedgehog is black to dark brown in colour. Each poo is around 1.5 to 5 centimetres long.

They are sausage shape, with one or both ends slightly pointed. 

They are often almost sparkly due to the bits of beetle skeleton they contain. 

Beetles are a favourite food. But when other foods like worms or even slugs are playing a bigger part in the diet, poos may be lighter in colour and lose their sparkle.

Hedgehog poos are usually found singly, not in little clusters like rabbit poo. 

Do Other Animals Have Poo Similar to Hedgehogs?

Once you have identified hedgehog droppings, you are not likely to confuse them with the scat of any other garden visitor.

Hog poo is quite distinctive.

If you want to be sure you’re not getting confused check out this handy chart from the BBC Wildlife Magazine. It gives you pictures and descriptions of many of the poos you might find in your garden.

The things you might mistake for hedgehog poo are dark coloured slugs. They can look really similar, and it’s an easy mistake to make. We have to hope the hedgehogs don’t make the same mistake, as slugs are a regular part of their diet – yuk!

Where Will I Find Hedgehog Poo?

Many of the animals who visit our gardens are territorial. They use scent, typically urine and faeces, to mark territory. So a fox, for example, will place its poops strategically to let the competition know they are on his patch.

Hedgehogs are not territorial and don’t use poo for territorial scent marking. 

They don’t use “latrines”, or go back to the same place to poo like badgers and deer.

Hedgehogs seem to poop pretty much wherever the urge takes them. Quite often literally on the run, like horses. You will likely spot droppings on your lawn or pathways.

If you have a feeding station, it’s likely to have quite a bit of poo around it. What goes in must come out, right? 

They are not the cleanest animals, and you’re also likely to see poo in the food dish and even in the water.

Huge Hedgehog Goodies Competition

Hedgehog Poo Dos and Don’ts. 

DO. Take a closer look. Have a poke through a stool with a stick. Breaking it up will give you some information on what your hogs are eating. You should see seeds and pips, and bits of insect exoskeletons.

DON’T. Touch it with your bare hands. Hedgehog poo can contain parasites and bacteria. 

DO. Scoop it. The area around your feeding station is likely to get pretty messy. And hedgehog poos are big enough to be a nuisance on paths or lawns. Once scooped, the poop can go on your compost heap. Some people swear by putting it on borders where they believe it deters slugs from plants like Hostas. Got to be worth a try. 

DON’T. Go into your hedgehog house to clean it up if there is a hog in residence. As we noted earlier hedgehogs aren’t fussy where they poo, so there probably will be poo in the house. But hedgehogs hate being disturbed, so if there is a hedgehog in your house don’t go in to clean until she’s moved out. Your best chances of finding the house empty are April, after hibernation, and October, after the breeding season. Check that no one’s home by leaving a large leaf in the doorway. If it’s still there next morning, the coast is probably clear.

Hedgehog Poo Problems

Hedgehog Poo

Healthy hedgehog poo is usually a distinctive glittery black, But things don’t always look this way. Hedgehogs eat all sorts and can also get upset stomachs through stress, infection and parasites. Then their poo can appear in all kinds of exciting colours and textures.

Green, Hardish Poo Looking a Bit Like Seaweed

There are plenty of reports of this sort of poo, but little hard evidence on what it is. General opinion though seems to be that it’s not a problem. But more likely to be a pre-or post-hibernation gut purge.

Light Brown Sloppy Poo

This could be stress which can be caused by something as simple as a new home. But it’s more likely to be down to the wrong diet. Giving hedgehogs milk to drink is a frequent cause of this type of poo problem. They are lactose intolerant and, despite the old wives’ tales, milk is no good for them at all.

Green Slimy/Jelly Poo

This one could be more worrying and might indicate infection or parasites. One to keep an eye on – unfortunately.

Constipated Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs tend to poo quite freely – some people even call them pooing machines. So hedgehog constipation doesn’t really seem to be a thing. Bear in mind though that as the metabolism slows down for hibernation pooing will slow down too. So if you’re not seeing much poo around hibernation time, this probably isn’t anything to worry about.

One strange stool probably isn’t a cause for concern. But if the problem continues, or is accompanied by other signs of distress, like being off their food or wobbly, then you probably want to get the hog to the vet or your local Hedgehog Rescue.

Hedgehog Poo Under the Microscope

If you do end up going to the vet or local rescue centre with poo problems, remember to take a sample of the offending poo with you if you possibly can.

Vets and most Hedgehog Rescue Projects are trained to look more closely at hedgehog faeces. 

Under the Microscope, some of the most common hedgehog parasites, like fluke and lungworm, are easily spotted. They can usually be treated if detected early enough.

More Information on Helping Hedgehogs

The hedgehog population in Britain is in trouble. Food is in short supply, and traditional habitats are disappearing. Our prickly friends need all the help they can get.  

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make your garden into a perfect hedgehog habitat.

If you’re interested in finding out more Take a look at our hedgehog library here.

Or find your local Hedgehog rescue project here.

We hope you have found this post interesting and usefull If you have any questions or hedghog tales we would love to hear them. Leave us a comment below.

SHARE ON

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

6 Responses

  1. To my delight since moving to Paignton 13 years ago, I discovered last August that there have been hedgehogs enjoying life here for many years according to a phone call from a recently moved ex-neighbour. This was after telling her that my little, blind Cairn Terrier had alerted me to something in the back garden at twilight, proving to be a very fine, large hedgehog beneath the hedge! This has led to installing two well-designed feeding hutches sheltered under the bushy poplar tree (a third near the back wall under shrubs proved to have been commandeered by a colony of little bumble bees). Guided by the local hedgehog rescue centre, a total of five saucers are now raided for the best, sensitive cat biscuits and wet cat chicken food. The Spy Cam tells me that the trick of narrowing the entrances with bricks to foil the crafty local cat’s free dining around midnight has definitely worked and although I rise very early, sometimes the determined magpies have squeezed in to try their luck, dragging out the fresh lining paper each day. I only wish it was possible to stay up all night to try a ‘tagging’ method or similar (!) to identify each one and also to count just how many of them are in their community. They range from the first spotted gigantic one to what may be juveniles from last year. Fascinating pictures. Many thanks for all your interesting communications – no danger of numbers of hogs dwindling here! Best wishes to you all.

  2. I have a three legged hedgehog comes every night and we put out a small bowl of food for it. It has been coming for about two and a half months now and we get great pleasure from watching it and so do our grandchildren.

    1. Hi Sue,

      Isn’t it amazing how many of them seem to get around absolutely fine on there legs.

      Enjoy!

      Clare

  3. Hello
    I’m looking for some advice.
    We have a hedgehog in our garden who seems to live/nest in a large clump of shaded grasses beneath a tree. We have seen it around the garden in recent weeks around 6pm.
    Today at 11am (sunny bright day) I heard him moving around his grass. He then emerged, walked along the side of the house to the opposite side of the garden, did a runny poo and then cut back across the lawn to his (her?) nest.
    This doesn’t sound like typical hedgehog behaviour. Do you think he’s ok.
    There were no fly’s around him, he seemed to walk steadily and with purpose.
    Any advice would be appreciated 🙂

    1. Hi There,

      At my age I often have to get up to use the loo in the night – sounds like your hog has the same problem!

      Seriously though, if he was moving purposefully, which it sounds as though he was, then there’s nothing to worry about.

      Best

      Clare

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs In Summer – What To Expect and How To Help

Summer is the time of year when you are most likely to actually see hedgehogs in your garden. Though they are nocturnal creatures, nights are so short in the summer months and hedgehogs have so much to do, that it’s not unusual to spot a healthy hedgehog out and about in the daylight. In this article, we are going to look at how to help hedgehogs in summer, what they might be doing and what challenges they face at this time of year.

Read More Now »
starlings
Garden Birds

Keeping Starlings Off Your Bird Feeders | And Why You May Not Want To

Starlings are supremely gregarious and sociable birds who spend much of the year living in large flocks. If one of these flocks descends on your bird feeders or decides to roost in your garden you might be looking for ways to move them along. But in the UK starling numbers have fallen by up to 80% since the 1980s. They are red-listed for conservation purposes and legally protected. So should you learn to love starlings? And what steps can you legally take to deter them?

Read More Now »
Garden Birds

When Do Birds Moult? Why Our Garden Birds Lose Their Feathers

Although some birds moult throughout the year, August is prime moulting time for UK garden birds. It’s after the breeding season, before migration (for those that do) and the weather tends to be warm, so a lack of feathers isn’t quite so much of a problem. The moult is a challenging time for our birds, so let’s find out a bit more about the process and who we can support them through it.

Read More Now »
Garden Birds

Which Birds Eat Insects? And How Best To Help Them In Your Garden

Gardeners are always happy to see insect-eating birds. Anything that helps control the black fly, aphids and caterpillars which can ruin our flowers and munch through young veg is welcome. But insect and invertebrate numbers in drastic decline, our insectivorous birds can struggle to find the food they need to survive. So let’s take a look at which birds eat insects in our gardens and how can we help them.

Read More Now »
Hedgehogs

Do Badgers Eat Hedgehogs? Do They Threaten Hedgehog Survival?

Yes, badgers do eat hedgehogs. Badgers are the hedgehog’s main predator in the UK and whilst hedgehog numbers are in drastic decline badger numbers have doubled since the 1980s. Early studies have shown that where badgers are culled hedgehog numbers bounce back remarkably. Yet the British Hedgehog Preservation Society is clear that badgers aren’t to blame for the plight of our hedgehogs.

Read More Now »

Want Awesome Hedgehog Articles Like This Every Week?

Plus special offers, Discounts & News?