What do hedgehogs eat? – Natural hedgehog food: They eat what is available! In nature, hedgehogs are not very picky about their food.
When they awaken from hibernation in spring, hedgehogs usually eat earthworms and snails, easy prey even for the not too nimble hedgehog.
From April on, moths and their larvae are popular hedgehog food. The nocturnal animals also do not shy away from gnawing on a dead mouse and other carrion. The ponderous hedgehog doesn’t catch birds, but eggs from birds breeding on the ground are a found food for him.
Hedgehogs cannot digest vegetable food; this is why they avoid these mostly. If you watch a hedgehog nibbling on an apple, he is only getting attracted by the liquid or the insects crawling on it.
A related video about “How to help hedgehogs in your garden?” here to watch.
Video Credit: The Wildlife Garden Project
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Hedgehog food for feeding nurslings
If you find a weakened hedgehog in your garden, you don’t have to hunt for insects to feed your fosterling with natural hedgehog food.
You should only make sure that the composition of the hedgehog’s food is similar to what he would eat in nature. Gathering and feeding insects are even dangerous, as they transmit parasites and these can seriously harm a weakened hedgehog.
Shortly fried, unseasoned minced meat is also suitable for feeding a hedgehog. Since your fosterling also needs dietary fiber, mix wheat bran or oatmeal into the food.
Caution: Under no circumstances should you feed a hedgehog with milk. The animals do not tolerate milk sugar.
Hedgehogs get diarrhea from dairy products, which can kill them in an emergency. Water is entirely sufficient. Cheese, nuts, baby food, fruit, and vegetables are therefore not appropriate food for hedgehogs.
What do hedgehogs eat? – Feeding hedgehogs
A hedgehog in need of care needs a lot of protein and fat. If he remains in your care for a longer time, you should consider the following:
- The hedgehog food must be getting based on his natural food, like rich in fat and protein.
- Cat food, unseasoned boiled egg, unseasoned fried minced meat, and boiled poultry give the guest strength.
- Canned food without sauce for dogs is also possible, but cat food is better because it’s richer in protein.
- In the long run, hedgehogs also need enough fiber for a balanced diet, mix in wheat bran, oat flakes, and dry hedgehog food.
- The dry hedgehog food available on the market is not suitable as a complete food; it contains too many carbohydrates.
- Do not feed insects – Mealworms, snails, and earthworms taste significant to healthy hedgehogs. However, they can transmit parasites and can be very harmful to weakened hedgehogs.
- Make sure that the food is at room temperature.
- Feed-in the evening, with the beginning of twilight. Weakened hedgehogs and juveniles should always have food at their free disposal.
- Also, water should always be available in sufficient quantities.
- Make sure that other animals do not come into contact with the food.
- Pay attention to cleanliness – Remove scattered food remains and excrements, rinse the bowls hot every day.
Whats needs to be getting considered when helping a hedgehog?
The hedgehog belongs to the protected wild animals, and for this reason alone may not merely be taken home.
- An exception is injured or sick animals and small hedgehogs that do not weigh more than 500 grams before the beginning of hibernation, i.e., in late autumn.
- Depending on the weather conditions, weakened hedgehogs that woke up from hibernation much too early may also need your help.
- If you have discovered a hedgehog in need of help, there are either special hedgehog centers or wildlife stations in many USA areas where you can get help. Often you can also drop the animals off there.
- Nature conservation associations such as Nabu also have offices and contact persons everywhere who will be happy to provide you with competent help.
- Otherwise, you can help hedgehogs over the winter by leaving a few piles of leaves in the garden during the cold season or setting up small hedgehog houses. However, the entrance should be so small and protected that other animals cannot enter.
Don’t Feed Hedgehogs With This!
Contrary to other rumors, vegetable food is entirely unsuitable for the small animals. Hedgehogs can neither use fruit nor vegetables.
The same applies to dairy products such as yogurt, milk, or quark, which are also incompatible for the animals. Hedgehogs have lactose intolerance and can even die if they consume lactose.
Raisins and nuts of any kind must not be fed to hedgehogs either.
What do I have to consider when feeding?
Feed the hedgehog only once a day, always in the evening. The food should always be at room temperature. Still allow the food to cool down or warm up first.
Dry hedgehog food is not suitable as a complete food and should only be getting used as a mixture. Also, cat food should not be offered as a whole food and should always be getting mixed with vegetable oil and other components such as minced meat and egg.
In addition to the food, there should always be sufficient water in a non-tipping bowl. Always keep the feeding place of the hedgehog clean and rinse the bowl daily with hot water.
What weight should a hedgehog have?
For a hedgehog to survive hibernation well, he must build up reserves over the year. An adult hedgehog should weigh 1000 grams before winter, a juvenile hedgehog at least 600 grams.
If you find and feed a hedgehog in autumn, it is getting recommended to weigh him daily. The hedgehog should gain about 10 grams daily. Smaller and emaciated hedgehogs may also gain more weight.
When will the hedgehog be released back into the wild?
When the hedgehog has reached his ideal weight, he must be released back into the wild. The best place is where you found him.
If the hedgehog does not eat and gains weight, he may be ill or too weak and must be getting taken to the vet.
Hedgehogs should only be getting fed if the food supply in nature is not rich enough for them to survive without help. It is especially the case in autumn with late-born hedgehog cubs and also their mothers.
As a rule, a healthy hedgehog should not be brought into the house but rather be supported with suitable food to eat the necessary fat reserves and hibernate in freedom.
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