Recently while we have been string at RyverSystem’s parents a hedgehog has been visiting their garden which has caused problems because we can’t let Teddy out in the garden at night because he likes terrorising him/her. RiverSystem’s brother has been putting left over food out for the hedgehog at night which got me to thinking: Is cat food the right thing to put out for hedgehogs? Is it healthy for them? Don’t they eat plants not meat? So I quickly googled it and thought I’d share what I found here.
I found a page on the RSPCA website with lots of information about how to care for hedgehogs and links to pages on how to care for juvenile hedgehogs in the autumn and many other specialist things about hedgehogs.
First of all, they advise keeping a part of your garden ‘wild’ as a home for the hedgehogs. I’m always up for this because I don’t like gardening anyway! They also said to put bricks round any ponds to make it safe for hedgehogs and not to use slug pellets unless it’s a last resort because these are poisonous to hedgehogs. Also they said to check bonfires before you light them and compost heaps before you fork them over just in case there are any hiding there for a snooze. Also remove any netting for safety.
Foodwise, it’s safe to give them tinned cat or dog food that isn’t fish based. But you can also give crushed cat biscuits, minced meat, or chopped boiled eggs. Apparently you can also get specialist hedgehog food from wild bird retailers which is surprisingly inexpensive. There was a warning not to give them milk as it will give them diarrhoea. Instead you should give them fresh plain water.
They also said that at about ten different hedgehogs could visit your garden on different days. So what you think is of as ‘your hedgehog’ could actually be a number of them.
There’s a link to a worksheet for caring for sick or injured and juvenile hedgehogs.
If you catch sight of a hedgehog don’t be afraid to feed it and make sure you keep any dogs away from it.
I hope this helps. I’ve learned a lot today about hedgehogs. There’s so much in the animal kingdom for us to learn about and taking five minutes can to learn how to care for them can help.
I’ll let you know how it goes with the hedgehog in the garden.