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Just found family in our back garden

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Just found family in our back garden

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    I knew we had one but when I checked today I found mum dad and babies, not sure how many babies. I put cat food and a few mealworms out and within minutes one of the adults was feeding. I feel very privileged having them in my garden. Unfortunately the garden us surrounded by brick walls but there is a gap under the gate for them. I can’t seem to put them in the map, although I get an acknowledgement it isn’t registering, any know why?

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    Hi Velvet Lady

    Really pleased to hear about your family of hogs. Cat food is fine for them, but please don’t feed them mealworms. They love them, but they aren’t good for them, especially the hoglets. Please leave them out plenty of water 24 hours a day, especially in this hot dry weather.

    The Big Hedgehog Map can be very slow. Someone else recently thought their hogs hadn’t been entered despite getting an email acknowledgement, but when they went back later, they were there. I think it has become a bit of a victim of it’s own success and takes a bit of a while to catch up with itself. I understand it is due an update soon, which hopefully will speed it up.

    The second adult hog may or may not be Dad. They don’t have anything to do with bringing up the youngsters and if they meet up it will only be by chance. It could also be two females or another male. Adult hogs are often very tolerant of hoglets even if they aren’t their own, which I always think is rather endearing. You are so lucky to have hoglets visiting! I hope they continue to visit and that you enjoy watching them.


    Hi Nic

    Thank you for your lovely message, I did read about mealworms and until then I didn’t realise they liked them. I will not be giving them any after what I found out. Having checked them today I am not so sure about babies, there appears to be 1 large hog and 2 slightly smaller ones. I didn’t want to disturb them too much but will be keeping an eye on them and will keep you updated if this number changes. I am in the process of planning to get or make a home for them for when the winter comes. Could you tell me if they eat snails or if it’s only slugs plus the other bugs etc?


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    Hi Lin

    If you have hogs at all, there is a chance of hoglets sometime, so fingers crossed!

    Hogs do apparently eat snails as well as slugs, but I imagine it is only the small ones and apparently not many. Also slugs are not top of their natural diet list. It seems to be beetles, caterpillars and earthworms at the top, with a variety of other things including slugs and snails following on. If you find poo from a hog which has a natural or mostly natural diet you will often see the shiny wing scales from beetles in them. Many people think the hogs don’t eat slugs, because they will often share a food bowl with the large ones. It is actually the smaller ones that they eat, but apparently they are the ones that do most damage to plants, so that’s the important thing. Some people say they haven’t had problems with slug damage since having hedgehogs visiting! Hogs’ ‘wild’ diet probably changes a bit at different times of the year.

    Good luck with the hog house. I expect you have already found the information re. hog houses on here.


    Hi Nic
    Sad news I found the smaller one of the three hogs dead this morning, I think my cat may have got it, it was right next to the plate of food that I left out. I now feel guilty as they were fine until I left food out. Not sure if the others are injured as there are flies around them. I have just checked and the other 2 seem to be fine. Should I continue to feed them, I was thinking of leaving the food under the barbecue cover as this is where they are hiding/sleeping. The dead one was about 5 – 6 inches long what age do you think this would have been?
    Where would I find the nearest rescue centre if needed or should I just take it to a vets if I find and injured one.

    Thank for all the help

    PS map now registering my hedgehogs.

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    Hi Lin

    So sad to hear about the little hog. It’s difficult to say how old it would be from the size. It could have been a youngster, but equally if it was a dehydrated or starving hog it could seem smaller. It’s unlikely that your cat would have got it. Sadly, there is a fairly high mortality amongst young hogs, for various reasons. They are much more susceptible to the sort of adverse weather conditions we’ve had recently. Then there’s the possibility of worms, etc.

    You might want to report the dead hedgehog to:

    I would think it is even more important to leave some food out, but especially water. If you are feeding wet cat food, change it daily and don’t leave it out during daylight hours to avoid attracting flies. Leave water out 24 hours a day in case. The flies may have been attracted by the dead hedgehog. If the hogs are sleeping under the barbecue, I wouldn’t put the food there, but you could make a feeding station box. You can either use a pre-made hog box or make your own
    A nesting box can be used for feeding as an alternative. Otherwise many people use see through plastic storage boxes (underbed ones, I’ve heard are best) and just make a hog sized hole in it for them to get in. You may need to put a brick opposite the entrance to deter cats.

    If you find a sick or injured hog you can find details of your local hog rescue from the BHPS 01584 890801. It’s not a bad idea to make contact with one if you are worried, as they will be able to give you advice and it’s useful to know where they are in case you need to get help for a hog quickly at any time. I would be inclined to contact a local rescue before trying a vet.

    Glad to hear the map has finally worked! You may want to enter the dead hedgehog on there too it all helps with the wider picture of what is happening.

    I know it’s very sad when a hog dies, but I hope it doesn’t put you off. They bring so much pleasure in other ways. I hope the other hogs stay well and that you continue to enjoy their visits.



    If the 3 hogs were together and one has died then I strongly recommend you get the other 2 looked over by a carer. Nic has mentioned the BHPS number above to find your nearest carer. Please don’t delay


    How sad – but I think Nic is correct, cats don’t usually bother hedgehogs other than to sniff them if they actually have to come face to face. Dogs – particularly terrier types – are a different thing altogether and I think badgers and foxes may also kill hedgehogs? Life is quite precarious if you are a hog! what with traffic and garden implements there is also the problem of garden poisons like slug pellets – often used – unwittingly – by neighbours, let alone things like parasites. I am learning so much about the little darlings!!


    Thank you to everyone for your comments and words of wisdom. Unfortunately the small dead hog had been attacked as there was a fairly large wound about the size of a 5p piece. Fortunately the other two appear to be ok and were out and about last night and devoured the food left for them and were seen later foraging in the garden.

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    Hi Lin

    I’m glad to hear the other hogs are back. I can’t imagine what might have caused such an injury, it doesn’t sound like a cat. Their mouths are too small to cause much damage to a live hedgehog, I would have thought.

    The only thing is that, as Stef has pointed out to us in the past, hogs often don’t look unwell until they are really bad. So if you can, I would take her advice and get the remaining hogs checked over in case. I would trust her instincts. She’s a long standing hog rehabilitator, so knows what she’s talking about. I’m not sure whether that advice would change in relation to the wound. Maybe difficult to know without seeing it – could it have been caused after the hog died, etc. But, I suppose it’s possible if the poor dead hog was attacked by something the others could have been too and have injuries which could only be seen on close inspection and all sorts of other possibilities.

    Perhaps the best thing to do is get contact details of your local carer from the BHPS and have a chat with them about the circumstances – not always easy to get the full picture on here – and take it from there.


    It is very unlikely to have been a cat – cats on the whole know better than to be prickled. It’s more likely to have been a human ( garden fork/implement ), dog or fox. Without seeing the injury it’s not possible to tell.
    I would check out the others however.
    Hogs are very adept at hiding injuries – I have just got one in that has a pitchfork hole at least 1.5 inches deep – yet he was still coming out at night as normal. Fortunately his ‘owner’ recognised that something wasn’t quite quite right before this became so serious we’d have pts.
    In this weather any injuries are at serious risk of fly strike – which is deadly if not caught before the maggots enter the body and is a truly nasty way for any animal to die.
    The hogs won’t appreciate being caught and checked over but if you get a carer to do it, it will all be over and done with in a matter of minutes and the hogs can resume normal behaviour.
    My advice to anyone – especially in this hot weather is if you’re not totally sure get it checked – it hurts no-one and could save a life

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