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Mice eating all the food

Home Forums Champions’ chat Mice eating all the food

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    Last summer, I fed a hedgehog with Spikes Hedgehog Dinner from April until about October. The hedgehog had often left bits of food behind and I suddenly became aware that every night, every crumb of food was going. I borrowed a movement activated camera and discovered that mice were removing all the food. Two or three of them were running in and out and taking it all away. At that point I stopped putting food out, because I could tell it was all gone by the time the hedgehog arrived, if it was still coming.

    My mother has been feeding a hedgehog all winter. However, she is suddenly finding the same thing – every crumb is gone by the morning. So we suspect it’s mice again and the hedgehog won’t be getting any of it.

    Is there anything we can do? I don’t mind the mice having some food, but I do mind them taking it all and leaving nothing for the hedgehog.

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    Hi Nfcb

    I don’t think there is anything you can really do to stop mice eating the hog food, but I do wonder whether it’s the mice that’s eating all of it. I often have mice here and they do as you described, but it really is a very small amount of food they are taking. So I can understand how they could empty what the hedgehog left behind, but not so much that they could eat all the food before the hog got there – unless there are hoards of them! I suppose you are sure they are mice, not rats? What are you feeding?

    If you hadn’t said that you had tried a night cam, I would have suspected that it was a cat finishing the food, because if a bowl of food is left empty cats are usually the culprits. Although, even birds will finish off hog food early in the morning, depending on what food you use. How long did you leave the camera out for?

    I think, maybe, you need to do a bit more investigating.


    Hi Nfcb,
    can you remember if the mice were taking the food late summer Autumn. As I have a theory, and it is this. Obviously it was observed by a camera that you had access to so it was actually seen.
    But my theory is this, the mice were taking away the food to store for the winter months when food would be scarce. But what the answer would be to combat that, is probably that there is not one. Mice can get into real small places. Even if you humanely trap the mice and let them go a couple of miles away, others would probably fill the vacuum. No easy solution.



    Thanks so much for your replies. Much appreciated.

    At my house you are right, William, the mice were taking the food in early autumn. They were incredibly efficient and would clear every crumb within an hour. They were not eating it, but taking it away to store. They must have a sizeable warehouse somewhere to cope with the amount they took! After more than two weeks of this, sadly, I stopped putting food out as I knew the hedgehog wasn’t get any of it anyway.

    My mother lives a few miles away. Her hedgehog has been feeding every other night or so throughout the winter, but always left a bit of food behind. That is what has made us pretty sure that it has been the hedgehog as anything else would eat the lot. About a week ago, she noticed that every crumb was going every night… just as had happened with me, so we think it may be mice, as it was with me.

    I have suggested that she go on putting food out until we can borrow a camera again to find out what is going on. Maybe the hedgehog is eating first and something else is polishing off the left overs. Fingers crossed. We hate to think of our hedgehogs being disappointed and going hungry!


    Hello Nic – I left the camera out over several nights. It was rather fascinating to watch how efficiently the mice cleared all the food. They did it between 9pm and 10pm and left not a scrap behind for the hedgehog.


    Hi Nfcb,

    It would be interesting to know what kind of mice they are. The wood mice here just take very small amounts in between the neighbourhood cats and the tawny owls doing their rounds. They tend to try and hide the food with stones and leaves in the food bowl rather than stash it elsewhere, probably a bit too dangerous with all the predators around.

    Never thought that I would say this, but it sounds like you need a cat…only joking! 🙂


    Hi Nfcb,

    If you have a garden shed nearby where you feed the hedgehogs then that would be a place to look. Or even a neighbours. Is an ideal place for mice to store food. Nice and dry and cosy. More than likely there would be mouse nest in there also.


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    Hi Nfcb

    All I can say is, your mice must be much more industrious than the ones here! But as William says, almost impossible to get rid of them. But, I have found that if the food is put out for hogs for a certain length of time each night, they soon learn to get there between those times. So I think, if the hogs were finding the bowl empty, they would eventually turn up earlier. Alternatively, When you had the camera, did you notice what time the hogs arrived? You may be able to work it out so that you put the food out just before and keep an eye on it until the hog arrives so that you can scare the mouse/mice away.
    Good luck!

    And, by the way, Penny, none of the many cats which visit my garden at night ever managed to have any impact on any rats or mice that have visited at various times. When they were there the cats were mysteriously absent! The rodents must have radar or something!


    Looked up about mice today, and found a little bit of interesting facts. This is about the wood mouse, or if you prefer field mouse. Never knew they were the same species. Anyway the paragraph below has a little information that I got from the Woodland Trust.

    A less uniform mouse with a sandy brown fur and a white to grey belly.
    A cautious mouse which always sniffs anything unfamiliar before approaching.
    Its back feet are large which give it a good spring for leaping.
    Its tail is roughly the same length as its head and body.
    It stores berries and seeds in the autumn in underground burrows or sometimes in old birds’ nests.
    It thrives in woodland, rough grassland and gardens.
    This species of mouse does not have a very strong smell.


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