When looked after properly, hedgehogs can make great pets. But if you’ve decided to start feeding the hedgehogs in your garden, there are a few things you should know.
1. Commit to feeding hedgehogs
If you’re lucky enough to have hedgehogs in your garden, this isn’t a very common occurrence! They are sadly endangered, so it’s especially important that, if they get used to finding a food source in your garden, it doesn’t get cut off.
2. Get to know a hedgehog’s diet
In the wild, hedgehogs are insectivores. Over 70% of their natural diet will be insects and beetles, some worms and the occasional slug or snail. Brush up on your hedgehog facts, so you know what to feed them and what to avoid. Which brings us on to our next point…
3. Know what to avoid when feeding hedgehogs
It’s very important to avoid bread and milk. Hedgehogs cannot digest bread, and cow’s milk will give them very bad diarrhoea. This can even be a cause of death, so we can’t stress that one enough.
Salty foods like bacon and corned beef will also give them health issues, so stay away from those.
While raisins and sultanas are generally bad for hedgehogs on account of the sugar content, one or two that have dropped from a bird table won’t do any harm. Just don’t make a point to feed them sugary foods like this.
4. Put out the right hedgehog food
• Spike’s Dinner hedgehog food. You can serve either the tinned or dry versions, and will find them in large pet shops.
• Ark Wildlife Hedgehog food
• Wildthings Hedgehog food
• Tinned cat, dog, puppy or kitten food. If you choose the chicken flavour, you’ll be popular!
• Meat flavoured biscuits for cats and kittens. Cheaper brands tend to have a higher density of cereal and aren’t quite so nutritious.
5. Share your leftovers (but only some)
Leftover meat like chicken or mince will go down a treat with a garden hedgehog. Chop the meat into very small pieces, as their teeth are too small to tear big pieces.
You can also put down some grated cheese for them, but nothing fancy: just mild or medium cheddar.
6. Know the difference between a winter feed and a summer feed
If you’re feeding tinned meat to your hedgehog, it’ll freeze quickly on a winter’s night. Biscuits are better for wintertime, and when the sun comes out, you can go back to feeding them tinned foods.