Wildlives Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre
Hedgehogs cover distances of several kilometres during the night. So, if you are lucky enough to have hedgehogs in your garden, not only will they not be exclusively 'yours', but they may not always be the same hedgehogs every night.
However, if you have the right type of garden, it is very likely that you will be visited by hedgehogs
The type of garden likely to attract hedgehogs will have overgrown areas - voluminous shrubs, long grass, piles of leaves, etc. Severe pruning, mowing and raking wipes out all the cosy nooks that hedgehogs like.
You could also supplement your hedgehog's diet by putting out a bowl of good quality cat or dog food (not fish). This will only ever be supplemental: a hedgehog's natural diet consist of bugs and beetles, caterpillars, earthworms, slugs and snails, etc. They will continue to forage for themselves whilst you put out food for them - there is no need to worry that they will starve if you go on holiday.
In addition to this, what hedgehogs would really appreciate during the summer is a shallow dish of water. The past few summers have been extremely hot, creating drought conditions and - although the effect of this on hedgehogs may not be noticeable during the summer - come October, the extent of the damage can be appreciated. Those hedgehogs that were unable to find enough food during the summer will succomb to parasites and disease. Furthermore, if hedgehogs are underweight when they go into hibernation, they will not wake up again.
Never give a hedgehog cow's milk.
Hedgehogs cannot cope with cow's milk: it gives them extremely bad stomach upsets and - particularly in the case of young hedgehogs, or those that are already sick anyway - it can kill them. So please, put out clean water, but never milk.
Other foods that hedgehogs seem to like (so we are told) include chopped peanuts or peanut butter, sultanas, raisins, chopped meat leftovers, and mealworms. Altogether though, it is cheaper - and just as effective - to put a bowl of cat or dog food out for your hedgehogs.
If you wish to have hedgehogs in your garden, please also take a look at the 'Garden Hazards' page to ensure that your garden is safe for hedgehogs.
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