A Guide To What Hedgehogs Eat | Love The Garden

What Do Hedgehogs Eat?

Vicky Page's picture
By Vicky Page, Garden Expert
Hedgehog Looking Over Log

Hedgehogs will feed quite well from an average garden, find out what they eat, what they shouldn't eat and what you can leave out in your garden for feeding hedgehogs in your garden

What Do Hedgehogs Naturally Eat?

Well this is good news for most people, hedgehogs feed mainly on creepycrawlies! So with a diet of caterpillars, grubs, earwigs, slugs, worms and millipedes - Hedgehogs are definately one of the good guys to have in your garden. They can also be quite handy for clearing up fruit that has fallen and occassioanly birds eggs that have rolled out of their nest. 

What Can I Feed Hedgehogs?

So, you've seen the tell-tale signs of hedgehogs, namely their shiny droppings on or near a lawn edge, and you wish to encourage them by feeding hedgehogs in your garden. Well the first thing to take note on is that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so do not leave any milk out for them. When feeding hedgehogs it is best to check that you are feeding them with suitable hedgehog food.

The Best Food For Hedgehogs

You can buy ready mixed hedghog food, usually sold in garden centres and some pet stores, however if you wish to make your own here is a list of suitable hedgehog feeds;

Hedgehog on the Lawn

  • Meat based cat or dog food - Not Fish
  • Meat flavoured cat biscuits - Not Fish 
  • Mealworms
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Sunflower hearts
  • Leftover cooked meats - Chicken being a favourite
  • Sultanas and Raisens

Make sure whatever you leave out is chopped up nice and small, hedgehogs have tiny teeth and can't rip or tear food up. 

What Not To Feed Hedgehogs

Do not feed hedgehogs with

  • milk
  • bread
  • fish
  • or salted food

You must make sure you clear up any uneaten food other wise you may get flies laying eggs on it and fly maggots can cause hedgehogs quite a lot of harm.

How To Encourage Hedgehogs In Your Garden

With sightings becoming rarer of our little spikey friends, we need to do all we can to encourage them into our gardens, ensure they are well fed and have a safe place to hibernate.

Other than feeding hedgehogs there are other things you can do, make sure you have a suitable entry point for hedgehogs, create a hole in a fence, under a gate etc, just small enough for them to squeeze through, but not so big a predator could follow after them. Feed them with suitable food and make sure you give them a good clean supply of drinking water

Chapelwood Hedgehog House Open

If you have a pond or pool, add an escape ramp just incase a snuffling hedgehog or any other creature should accidently fall in.

Build them a Hedgehog house - or buy one - hedgehogs need a safe, sheltered and warm place to hibernate away from predators. 

Have You Seen A Hedgehog?

Hedgehog Street is a campaign aimed at ensuring the hedgehog, the UK's only spiny mammal, remains a common and familiar part of British life. They know hedgehogs are in trouble and that we've lost a third of all our hedgehogs in ten years.

If you make a hole in your garden, or see one of our much loved hedgehogs make sure you log the sighting on their map. 

If you have any questions on feeding hedgehogs make sure you contact one of our garden experts 

 

Comments

Dr.Hedgehog

Feed them what!

Posted 10 Mar 2016

"Meat based cat or dog food - Not Fish
Meat flavoured cat biscuits - Not Fish"

It is perfectly OK to give fish flavoured food. The only reason for not feeding fish is bones. Fish flavoured cat biscuits don't contain bones.

Mealworms
Should only be given as a sprinkling on top of more nutritious food. Babies can get hooked on these and they are junk food.

Unsalted nuts
Nuts should never be put out for any wildlife or birds unless they are crushed. Whole or haf nuts are a choking hazard and should only be put in wire bird feeders.

Leftover cooked meats - Chicken being a favourite
Not a great idea during the summer, it quickly goes off and becomes maggot infested.

Sultanas and  Raisins
Again if you must use them, only use a few sprinkled over biscuits. Hedgehogs suffer from tooth decay same as we do and sultanas and raisins get stuck on their back teeth.

 

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