Hedgehogs are not pesky animals and they behave very friendly with humans. In some parts of the world, they are even kept as pets. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and only a very few of them come out when the sun is up and shining. Like all other nocturnal animals, hedgehogs come to our yard at night in search of food.
They eat insects, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs and snakes which makes hedgehogs helpful to humans. That being said, how can you be sure that it is a hedgehog that is visiting your garden and not any other invasive pests? Hedgehogs being nocturnal animals, the best way to identify their presence would be from their poop.
So, what does hedgehog poop look like? A hedgehog’s poop is cylindrical in shape and its thickness reduces as it moves towards the end. The poop is normally black or brown in color and mostly moist.
It is important to note that the color of its poop varies with the food that it has eaten recently. Normally it is black in color and may contain beetle’s shiny wings and berries. A hedgehog poop mostly resembles that of a carnivorous animal.
What does the poop of a hedgehog look like?
On a first look, the poop of a hedgehog appears as if it is a terrestrial mollusk without its shell sleeping in your garden. Hedgehogs drop a small single piece of poop at a time. Unlike the poop of other nocturnal animals, hedgehog’s poop has a soft consistency.
The nature & color of poop depends on the food that has recently eaten. If you closely examine the poop of a hedgehog, you can easily spot some undigested bones and shiny fragments from insects in their poop.
Hedgehog’s poop may appear brown, grey or black in color. It is important to note that the color of its poop speaks a lot about its health. Be it a pet hedgehog or the one in the wild it’s the same. If the hedgehog is not healthy the texture of poop will become runny with different colors.
- Mushy loose poop – Indicates diarrhea
- Greenish sticky poop – Indicates infection in clostridium
- Extra smelly poo – Indicates digestive disorder
The pooping behavior of a hedgehog
Unlike most other mammals, hedgehogs do not sniff around to find a place to poop rather they simply poop wherever they are. Another interesting thing to note about a hedgehog is that when a hedgehog runs it kick starts is metabolism and it feels the urge to poop. Which is why it’s quite common to see a hedgehog pooping while it’s on the run.
If you have a pet hedgehog, you might have noticed them pooping when you make them run in their wheel. They do this because their natural instructs kick in and they believe that they are leaving its waste behind like they do in the wild.
What are the other ways to identify the presence of a hedgehog in the garden?
It is not a difficult task to spot the presence of hedgehog in the garden because they are not silent creatures. They make a snuffling sound while foraging which is easily audible during the night. Another way to identify them is from their footprint but hedgehogs do not always leave a footprint behind.
This method can only be relied on if your garden is muddy. Hedgehogs are not heavy animals and their footprint will not be there on dry sand. So if you want to identify them from their footprint, set a corner of your garden with wet mud. The front toes are quite wide and back toes are comparatively long and slender.
Finding their footprint or identifying them from their snuffling sound is not as reliable as identifying them from their poop. Which is why it is advised to identify them by their poop. As mentioned, its poop is normally black in color and cylindrical in shape with tapered ends. If you closely examine the poop using a twig you can also see the parts of the skeleton of invertebrates in their poop.
Is it true that hedgehog’s poop is shiny?
Yes, a hedgehog’s poop can be shiny at times. Well, the shiny appearance cannot be considered as a distinctive trait because it entirely depends on the food it has eaten. Hedgehogs are insectivorous as well as omnivorous animals. They eat insects, snails, baby mice, frogs, fish, worms and even fruits.
In most cases, the shiny appearance of their poop is from the undigested bode parts of the insects they have eaten, for instance, its wings.
Is the poop of hedgehog harmful to humans?
Yes, the poop of a hedgehog is harmful to humans. A bacterial infection called clostridium is one of the major threat found in a hedgehog poop. A hedgehog that is infected with clostridium bacteria will have a greenish colored poop and will be sticky. It is important to note that this infection comes in 5 different strands and is a zoonotic disease. Humans can be infected with this bacterium either by direct or indirect means.
In humans, the clostridium infection is known as Clostridium Difficile, referred to as the ‘C difficile’. It affects our colon and may cause diarrhea or severe inflammation of the colon. In the worst case, it can even cause kidney failure or increased white blood cell count.
It is estimated that half a million people are infected in the united states each year. Though hedgehogs cannot solely be blamed for this infection, it is still advised to handle their poop carefully.
Should I keep the hedgehogs off my garden?
Hedgehogs are garden-friendly animals and are often considered as nature’s pest controllers. It is estimated that they eat 200gm of pests each night which isn’t a bad thing. It is good to encourage them to visit your yard.
You can even make some holes with bricks for them to hide or provide some freshwater to drink. They won’t make any nuisance to people.
The only thing to keep in mind is to be extra cautious when you clear off the hedgehog poop from the garden.
Is it true that hedgehogs poop a lot?
This is a frequently asked question by all those pet owners who are planning to get a hedgehog. Well, it isn’t true, hedgehogs do not poop a lot. Always keep in mind that the first thing you need to do with a pet hedgehog is to give them proper potty training. A hedgehog poop may contain a lot of diseases causing bacteria and pathogens which you need to be careful of.
If you are planning to get a pet hedgehog, it isn’t going to be much of a trouble to give them potty training. That being said, you can’t always be sure that they will always go poop in the potty. Chances are that you will always get a small mess every morning. Just make sure that you handle the poop with care.
How to handle hedgehog poop safely?
The first and foremost rule is not to touch the poop with your bare hands at any cost. And never let your kids go anywhere near the poop. Follow these steps to safely remove the poop.
- Always wear a rubber glove and use a disposable surgical mask if possible.
- If the poop has become dry spray some water over it first.
- Use a hand trowel to clear the poop of the surface and bury It in your backyards away from water sources.
- Use a disinfectant to clean to an area where the poop was lying.
- Wash your hands properly with soap in running water.
Why can’t I find hedgehog poop during winter?
Hedgehogs fall into hibernation from November to March. During this season, they completely fall into sleep and will not eat anything. They survive this time by the fat stored in summer which is why you won’t be able to find any hedgehog poop in the garden.