What do these Spiky critters eat?
Our humble hogs really are ‘a gardener’s best friend’ and are a very helpful presence in any garden. They eat beetles, worms, slugs, caterpillars and a variety of other creepy crawlies and garden pests. Invertebrates top their list and this diet is just perfect for them and keeps them fit and well. Anything that eats holes in your plants is likely to be the prey of these spiky critters. In a single night, a hedgehog can eat more than 100 caterpillars! Grace relies on her hearing and exceptional sense of smell to forage for these tasty invertebrates and slippery suckers at nighttime.
Although invertebrates are a hedgehogs most typical food source, Grace has been known to eat a wide array of different foods, from fallen fruits to roadkill.
They are meat eaters and along with invertebrates they eat baby birds, rodents and eggs from ground nesting birds. Hedgehogs diets vary greatly in different areas across the UK.
In private gardens, Grace's natural diet has been changed with the prevalence of wildlife feeders bird feeders and the long term feeding of hedgehogs seems to have an impact on hibernation patterns.
We would always recommend growing food in your garden that supports the invertebrate population and is the natural diet that Grace thrives on.
Grace is known as the ‘gardener’s best’ friend for a reason! If you have holes in your plants you can be pretty sure Grace will want to eat the ‘hole makers’. Caterpillars are one of Graces favourites foods and snails make a crunchy calcium rich snack.
Hedgehogs foraging for a natural diet in a well stocked garden, are independent of humans and able to survive when people move house or go away on holiday.
Planting nectar rich flowers and an array of local plants and vegetables should bring in lots of lovely bugs for Grace and keep her healthy but don’t forget the ‘no pesticide rule’.
If you poison the bugs Grace will be compromised on two fronts:
- Grace may eat the poisoned bugs and can be affected by secondary poisoning
- You will be removing Grace’s natural food from your space and she will go hungry of the perfect snacks that she needs not just to survive but ultimately to thrive
If you want to feed Grace in your garden you can do so with a mixture of the following:
- Hedgehog specific food such as ‘Spike’s Hedgehog food’ Spike's hedgehog food is designed with hedgehog nutrition in mind and provides a great balanced diet for them. We use Spikes at the rescue and recommend it.
- Wet or dry dog or cat food and always mixed brands
- Wet or dry kitten or puppy food is great for young hoglets but still remember to mix the brands.
- Live Mealworms
- Raw eggs (hedgehogs can’t cook)
We always recommend a mixture of any the above, it is always better to mix food and use different varieties to keep Grace healthy.
Water is essential for Grace but it must be safe water, shallow bowls and ponds with easy access for Grace will stop the vital water becoming a watery grave. (See Drink or Drown for tips on page 18)
No sugary food for Grace
Whilst, like many wild creatures , hedgehogs have a sweet tooth the lack of dentists in the wild mean that sugary items should be avoided at all costs. Grace is already challenged with her higgledy piggledy teeth so sugary foods could mean that her teeth will not last as long and will prevent her from feeding. No teeth could signal an early death. Just like humans health is paramount.