Home › Forums › Carers / rescuing a hedgehog › What can I feed visiting wild hedgehogs (that is good for them?). › Reply To: What can I feed visiting wild hedgehogs (that is good for them?).
First of all, welcome to Hedgehog Street. I am pleased to hear there are hedgehogs in your area.
It is not essential to feed the hedgehogs, if they are doing alright without it. What we feed, should only ever be supplementary to what they can find themselves. The idea is not to encourage them to become too dependant upon us. But there are times, when they would welcome a helping hand, for instance when it is very dry and before hibernation when they are trying to build up their resources and after hibernation when they will probably be quite hungry. Also if they are still around late into the year when the wild food is diminishing, etc. A very important thing, for them, though, is water. They cannot always find that for themselves, so if you don’t have a pond, a large shallow plant saucer is ideal for them.
The best things you can do for the hogs are to improve the habitat in your garden (lots of tips on this site) and link it with as many others as possible, so that they can more easily find their natural food. Some people like to give them some food, as a way of keeping an eye on them, to make sure they are doing ok, but I sometimes wonder whether we get a bit hung up focusing on the feeding bit, on the forum, at the expense of the improving/expanding the habitat bit, which ultimately is more important.
If you do feel you want to give the hogs some food, then cat/dog food, cat/kitten biscuits or hedgehog food (from a reputable source) are the best things to offer. They really don’t need us to offer any food other than these.
I think it is probably unlikely, although not impossible, that Pat Morris would be commenting on the Forum, so you might have to put up with the rest of us! ‘Hedgehogs’ the book written by Pat Morris contains a wealth of very interesting information about hedgehogs. However, I think it is generally accepted, these days, that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and cows milk is not a good thing to offer them. Pat Morris, in the 2014 edition of ‘Hedgehogs’ acknowledges that bread and cows milk can cause ‘upset tummies’ in hedgehogs and also says ‘ … it would be better to offer them something more nourishing and with fewer side effects and to avoid giving it to babies …’
The only thing the hedgehogs need to drink is water. That is so much easier to access anyway, so why complicate things?
I know, I would make a very poor substitute for Pat Morris, but hope this helps a little.
Good luck with the hedgehog/s. I hope you enjoy their visits.