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Am I wasting my time?

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Am I wasting my time?

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    A bit of advice from those who know more than me, please.

    I had a hedgehog in my garden that in September/early October used a nest box I built and ate the food I put out, purchased from Pets World in Saffron Walden. I saw him (or her) regularly entering and leaving the nest and eating until about 4 weeks ago when he seemed to disappear. Three weeks ago (Mid October) I put a tell-tale twig across the door of the nest which hasn’t moved since.

    The food, however, is still being consumed in prodigious amounts! Question; I know that hedgehogs like cat food – do cats like hedgehog food? I have seen mice at the bowls (and they also seem to attract slugs!) but mice couldn’t eat those amounts. Am I feeding the local cat population? Would hedgie be hibernating in the nest box (I can’t hear any snoring and don’t want to disturb the nest just in case) or could he be visiting from another nest.

    I don’t want to starve any hedgehogs but, at the same time I don’t want to feed the bl**dy locat cat population!

    Any advice gratefully received.


    Personally, I dont ever think trying to attract hedgehogs to the garden can be a waste of time. I am not an expert but:-

    I think Male hedgehogs hibernate earlier than females so maybe its hibernating, either in the house or maybe elsewhere.

    I have my feeding bowls set up in a half size coldframe by son made for me, so easy to just lift the lid an replenish food and the entrance cut in the front wont accommodate cats.

    I have had a female and two jolleys nesting I the garden, mum has now gone to hibernate in one house and the hoglets are still feeding each night and are now sleeping in separate houses, so I have all 3 occupied I think.

    I have a camera which shows other hedgies coming into the garden overnight but the leave again after eating and I take it they go off to nest.


    Sorry that should read hoglets not jolleys.

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    Sounds like spellcheck has been playing tricks again! Although jolleys is a better name for hoglets than it could have been!

    But, P.Holmes, the answer to your question is that, yes, cats will eat hog food. But so will birds. But I agree the mice and slugs probably wouldn’t get through much. Funny how the cats are never around when the mice are!

    But the hog there could very easily be hibernating now. If it had already been spending days in your box, it wouldn’t be surprising if it made it’s hibernaculum elsewhere – good practice to avoid a built up of external parasites, such as fleas and ticks. But it’s possible there are other hogs visiting your garden, who don’t use the box.

    I can sympathise re. the cats! You might want to try to make a cat-proof feeding station – there are loads of ideas on the forum where people have tried – with varying levels of success – to keep the cats away from the food. Jackietb’s idea of a cold frame sounds brilliant – a nice lot of space and presumably ‘windows’ that you can see the hogs through. Getting the entrance right is the difficult bit and sometimes needs a bit of trial and error – sometimes depending on how persistent the cats are in your area.

    You might condsider getting a night cam, so that you can see who is eating the food.

    Good luck.


    Thanks to all for your help. I have built a hedgehog feeding station out of a plastic storage box with an inbuilt 110mmx110mm tunnel 300mm long with a 90deg bend at the end. It is fairly transparent so I can see any customers having dinner or if the food needs replenishing at any time without going to the trouble of opening the box.

    If I could work out how to add images to this message (cut and paste don’t work!) I’d add a picture of my handiwork.

    I’ll keep you posted on the results after tonight’s activities, if any!


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    Hi Paul

    It’s only possible to put images on the Forum if they are already somewhere else on the internet – then you can just add the link.

    But you can add photos to the photo gallery on the home page of Hedgehog Street. Some more information


    I’m new to Hedgehog Street so Hi all. Hoping to purchase a trail cam my self, just trying to decide between one of two models. I believe they can be a bit troublesome, what is your take on them.
    We used to have 3 or 4 hogs visit every night, but haven’t seen any for a whole year, neighbours find the same. It’s rather worrying. We don’t have worms in our gardens no matter how we try to encourage them so that doesn’t help. Expect the hogs will be hibernating now anyway so guess my new camera won’t be much use till Spring. Not for hogs anyway.


    My husband bought me an inexpensive wildlife camera for Christmas last year. I use it in the day time for birds and at night time for hedgehogs. I started just taking stills but progressed to short videos.

    I have put it inside the feeding box to watch hedgehogs in there and outside to see them going in. I have also put it outside the nesting box and then due to interest in that bought one made a “jobsworth” nest box myself too. I “think” both are occupied but won’t know unless one comes out and dislodges my tell tale sticks.

    Sometimes I cannot see a hedgehog but I can hear them scratching and huffing and also observed some bullying and lack of manners. What I cannot tell is one hedgehog from another, unless there are two pictured together, or it is clearly a small one or a different skirt.

    In my opinion and for my garden, my camera is probably the best Christmas present I have ever had and in fact we are getting one for my grandson for Christmas to use near his bird table.

    Best wishes


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    Hi Hebe

    Yes, some cameras can have problems, especially some of the cheaper ones, although some people seem to be lucky. Many people start with the cheaper ones and then progress to slightly more expensive ones. But it’s well worth having one.

    Re. the worms. Hogs don’t only eat worms, they probably normally eat more beetles. But I’m wondering, do you use chemical fertilizer on your lawn, because apparently worms don’t like that.

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    Hi Jenny

    If you’re interested in identifying hedgehogs from their natural markings, I wrote some notes a while back which might help you to get started:


    Hi Nic, have just managed to get back into forum. I don’t use anything on the lawn and only a little fertiliser elsewhere. I bury veg waste n scatter coffee grounds to encourage them, to no avail but it greatly improves the soil. My neighbours gardens are also worm less. I believe there was a great Badger population here at one time, many moons ago. They must have devoured all the worms. Have fleetingly thought of growing my own.

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