What do hedgehogs eat and how to feed them?

Hedgehog numbers in the UK are drastically decreasing (Picture: Getty)

If you’re lucky enough to have a little spikey friend visiting your garden then there’s a way you can get on better terms with them – feed them!

Sadly, hedgehogs are facing troubling times as the UK’s population has seen a decrease of two-thirds in the last 25 years.

So if your garden has found itself a new resident recently, or you’re trying to attract a hedgehog, it’s time to take extra care of them by offering them some food and water.

And it’s surprisingly easy to do and something they, and the natural world, will love you for.

Here’s everything you need to know about feeding hedgehogs from their diet, when to feed them, and the best way to do it.

What do hedgehogs eat?

Typically a hedgehog’s diet is made up of insects including beetles, earwigs, earthworms, and caterpillars.

Hedgehogs could do with a little help when it comes to food and water (Picture: Getty)

It’s thought the decrease in bugs because of pesticides and agricultural changes, is one main reason behind the decrease in hedgehogs.

So if you want to make sure your garden pet is getting plenty to eat, you can offer them meat-based cat or dog food, specially made hedgehog food from garden centres, or even cat biscuits.

If a hedgehog is very young – roughly apple-sized – you’ll need to soak the biscuits in water first.

Wildlife experts from the Woodland Trust also advise putting out a shallow dish of water, especially in the summer months.

What not to feed hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are described by the Woodland Trust as ‘opportunist eaters’ so will eat most things they’re presented with, however, there are a few foods they should avoid altogether.

Milk and dairy are a big no for the garden creatures as they’re actually lactose intolerant.

Experts also discourage the giving of bread as it has very little nutritional value.

The garden creatures will enjoy a number of dishes you put out for them (Picture: Getty)

Mealworms are also off the food list as it’s thought they can cause health problems.

When is the best time to feed hedgehogs?

Despite going into hibernation for the winter, hedgehogs need feeding all year round as they can often wake up during this period for a bite to eat.

Spring is a useful feeding time so they can get refills after waking up from their long sleep.

Summer and autumn’s hotter weather makes water and food extra important as they find their natural food supplies decrease more.

Experts highly advise leaving out a shallow dish of water during hot periods (Picture: Getty)

How do you feed hedgehogs?

A small and shallow dish with the above recommendations on will suit the hedgehogs perfectly.

Ensure you clean up or cover leftovers as you go to avoid any other extra, unwanted, garden guests.

Hedgehog numbers have plummeted in the UK, study warns

MORE : Climate change could ‘spark the next pandemic’ by driving animals and humans closer together

MORE : How to make your lawn wildlife friendly all year round – tips from an ecologist

Follow Metro across our social channels, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Share your views in the comments below


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.