Wild Hedgehog Food List: Feeding Hedgehogs In The Garden

Hedgehogs are in their element in the wild. They forage, they find, they feed.

However, if you are wanting to give them a helping hand in your garden, then this hedgehog food list was made for you.

Quite simply, this is a list of food types that are recommended by organisations like The British Hedgehogs Preservation Society.

You are encouraged to leave these out and monitor for activity at regular intervals to see how your spiny neighbours fare.

In the lead up to winter, before hibernating, hedgehogs will often seek to increase their calorie intake.

This will ensure they have enough fat reserves for an energy supply throughout the winter as they hibernate.

Help them as best as you can by providing a food bowl and water which is topped up regularly.

Food list for feeding wild hedgehogs

Manufactured pet foods

Insects (a natural favourite for our insectivore friends)

  • live mealworms
  • wax worms
  • silkworms
  • crickets

[Caution should be exercised when leaving insect-food out though because:

  • (a) …they have exceptionally high-calorie content and can promote obesity in hedgehogs;
  • (b) …unless the insects were fed prior to purchase they can provide very little nutritional content and yet have a moreish taste to the hedgehog – which can be difficult to get them off in the long run;
  • (c) …if not pet-grade the insect can carry parasites and disease, like Salmonella or been exposed to insecticides;
  • (d) “…they don’t have a good Calcium to Phosphorous ratio” according to Hedgehog Street Org.]

Meat from the kitchen

  • Meat must be cooked to avoid poisoning
  • No processed meats like Spam or sausages
  • Hedgehogs need meat presented in small pieces and moist for convenience
  • Salmon, chicken and turkey are easy enough to digest – but red meats are less so
  • It is best not to provide meat as the majority food type in a hedgehog diet because of decreased calcium, minerals,  vitamins

A favourite!

Scrambled, hard-boiled or mashed up boiled eggs – no seasonings, no oils. If scrambled, cook with a teaspoon of water for the best results.

[…*obviously, cool the eggs right down before feeding]

Fruits & Veg

Fruits and veg are great for hedgehogs in the wild, but they need a little preparation for the following reasons:

  • cellulose if difficult for hedgies to breakdown
  • phosphorus content can decrease much needed calcium absorption in the gut
  • hard fruits and veg are difficult to chew and breakdown

…so, steaming, broiling or boiling to produce softened fruits and veg is highly recommended…especially with carrots or sweet potato, for example.

Otherwise, typically favoured fruits (in no particular order) are:

  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Blueberry
  • Melon
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry

Vegetable wise – gourds go a long way:

  • Butternut squash
  • Pumpkin

…but also…

  • Bell peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber

Courgette … amongst others

Dairy

No milk – it causes diahorrea – however…

Natural yogurt and cottage cheese work well!

Definite don’ts!

  • Chocolate or processed snacks
  • Sweets
  • Raw meats or eggs
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Seeds
  • Bread
  • Cake

Conclusion

Hedgehogs being fed in your garden will greatly appreciate the thought and will regularly feed there.

If a hedgehog is pregnant or entering into hibernation they will need the calorie increase – and where they find it ready-made and the right balance – this will only help them in harsher conditions.

Keep it simple and leave food in a bowl with water – provision also of a feeding station will encourage uptake.


References:

https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/inthewild/gardenhedgehogs

Hedgehog Treats

Feeding Amounts – Hedgehog Street

Feeding a wild hedgehog in your garden

Do you have any experience with other food types that work?

Have any specific questions about hedgehogs and feeding?

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