Natural food: Invertebrates are a hedgehog’s favoured food, with beetles, slugs, earthworms and caterpillars high on the menu.
Before more was known about the dietary needs of hedgehogs’ people used to feed them bread & milk when they visited their garden. This is not recommended as it will give them an upset tummy and offers very little nutritional value.
The best way to help the hedgehogs that visit your garden is every night, is just before dusk, put out some dry hedgehog food for them in a heavy weight shallow sided bowl.
Mr Johnson’s Wildlife Hedgehog Food is the perfect dry extruded nugget full of essential animal protein. Mr Johnson’s Hedgehog NIBLETS are also an ideal tasty treat that Hedgehogs will love.
Don’t forget hedgehogs need fresh clean water. Put out in a heavy duty low sided dish so they can reach it and not tip the water over.
Any uneaten food should be removed in the morning to avoid them being eaten by cats or vermin and placed out again the next night with fresh food and water.
Feeding the hedgehogs that visit your garden will supplement their natural diet and hopefully help halt their decline , especially as hedgehog’s natural food is harder to find.
Making an artificial home can be as simple as placing a piece of board against a wall to form a shelter and an area for them to nest or you can buy a purpose built hedgehog houses.
To encourage hedgehogs to stay in your garden leave areas of the garden ‘wild’, with piles of leaves, a pile of logs these can make an attractive nest area along with a home for invertebrates like slugs & beetles that hedgehogs love to eat. They also love to nest in compost heaps.
Hedgehogs are ‘a gardener’s friend’ as they eat slugs, beetles and caterpillars but do not damage the garden and so should be encouraged.
The hedgehog is an insectivore that eats all manner of garden invertebrates from beetles, millipedes and worms to slugs and snails.
Slug pellets can poison hedgehogs, try using a ‘natural’ alternative like sprinkling eggshells or ground coffee around plants you need to protect.
Pesticides we are using in our gardens are contributing to the decline in a hedgehogs nature food.
Remember to check for hedgehogs before strimming or mowing especially in the nooks and crannies, under hedges where they may be sleeping or resting during the day.
Be particularly careful if you have a compost heap as this is a favourite place for hedgehogs to nest, so take care when forking it over.
Bonfires are another hazard area for Hedgehogs as they are a great place for them to shelter, a warm nest or rest area so always check thoroughly before lighting especially if you haven’t just built it.
Hedgehogs are one of the few mammals that are true hibernators. During hibernation hedgehogs are not really asleep, instead they drop their body temperature to match their surroundings. This allows them to save a lot of energy but slows down all other bodily functions making normal activity impossible.
Hedgehogs usually hibernate between November and mid-March and animals but must have enough fat reserves to survive hibernation. Juvenile hedgehogs weighing less than 500 grams during late autumn will need help to survive the winter.
While in hibernation the hedgehog’s fuel supply comes from the fat stores it has built up over the summer. Eating enough before hibernation is vital so making hedgehog homes in the garden and providing food will help hedgehogs.
- Hedgehog’s are nocturnal which means they are awake at night, traveling long distances foraging for food and can travel up to 2 kilometres in one night.
- A hedgehog’s eyesight isn’t that good so they rely on their excellent sense of smell and hearing to get around.
- Hedgehogs are good at digging for insects as they have sharp claws and powerful front feet.
- Young hedgehogs are called hoglets and are usually born between May and September.
- Hedgehogs hibernate between November and mid-March dependent on the temperatures and need sufficient fat reserves to survive hibernation.
- As many as 10 different hedgehogs may visit a garden over several nights, which could mean ‘your hedgehog’ is a number of different individuals visiting at different times.