How to identify hedgehog poo

Hedgehog poo
Hedgehog poo

Hedgehog poo – the morning after the night before!

Many people get excited about the first signs of Spring – daffodils raising their sunny heads and delicate snowdrops swaying in the breeze…. But for me, poo is the most exciting sign of Spring….

Hedgehogs are nocturnal and, unless you plan to spend endless hours camped out by your patio doors or invest in a wildlife camera, you are more likely to see hedgehog excrement than the creature that left it.

Hedgehogs emerge from hibernation any time from March onwards and the sign of fresh black droppings on the lawn is a wonderful sign that my spiky friends have emerged safely from their deep sleep. The ‘poo calendar’ reminds me that it is time to leave out fresh water and food every day to help my prickly guests.

Top tip: If you want to know if you have a hedgehog visitor, go on a poo hunt around your garden!

Healthy hedgehog droppings are black or dark brown in colour, solid and usually oval or tapered. They can be up to 5cm long. Stools also provide a vital insight into the hedgehog diet. Hedgehog poo will often ‘glisten’ due to being packed with the remains of invertebrates, such as beetle wings and other body parts. Contrary to popular belief, hedgehogs don’t just eat slugs. Beetles are their favourite foods and eating too many slugs can actually be bad for them as they are an intermediate host for lungworm. This horrid parasite can cause weight loss, breathing problems and ultimately death.


Top tip: Help your hedgehogs to have lovely healthy shiny black poo by packing your garden with native plants and log piles to attract beetles. There more plants the better!

Wildlife gardening

Flowers in my wildlife garden

Hedgehog poo is also a vital indicator of health in other ways. Green slimy poo can be a sign that a hedgehog is poorly and in need of rescue, so keep a close eye on your hedgehogs if you see any dodgy poo around your feeding stations.

Hedgehog rescuers like myself also love looking at poo under the microscope. Parasites can be identified under the microscope that can then be treated, with the most common being lungworm (from slugs) and roundworm (from earthworms). Bacterial infections can also be identified. Studying poo is one of my favourite passtimes…

Looking at hedgehog poo through the microscope

Studying poo under the microscope

Roundworm in hedgehog poo under microsope credit Whitby Wildlife Rescue

Roundworm eggs under the microscope: courtesy Whitby Wildlife Rescue

Lungworm in hedgehog poo under microscope credit Whitby Wildlife Rescue

Lungworm under the microscope: courtesy Whitby Wildlife Rescue

So, poo glorious poo, my favourite sign of Spring!

I’d love to know when you spot the first hedgehog poo in your garden….

My hedgehog rescue is entirely self-funded. To support my rescue work please visit

You can also make a donation here.


8 thoughts on “How to identify hedgehog poo

  1. Ms Kathryn Clinton

    Hi, I too have my hedgehog back!! He used to sleep in his Hog Box all last summer but didnt hibernate there. However, yesterday I checked the box and there he was fast asleep, so I put his food out ready for his walkabout!! So pleased that he is back, but I wish I knew where he decided stay over the winter!

      • Ms Kathryn Clinton

        oooo thanks for that! I had no idea that they moved during milder spells of weather, I thought they found a place and stayed there until the warmer weather came! :))

  2. Tony Hills

    This year we had had so many hedgehogs in the garden, 7 in total, 6 we have had to send off because they have been too small to survive the winter.
    We still have one a a permanent resist dent, but that’s a different story.

  3. Carol Cloughton

    I live in Darlington in summer four Hedgehogs two stayed well into cold weather, they all went Into box
    .. But never stayed…One hog has only missed two weeks before Christmas..He feeds everynight but not sure if he lives in box…I dare not lift the lid incase I frighten it. Carol

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