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What are your hedgehog’s favourite treats

Home Forums Hedgehog tales What are your hedgehog’s favourite treats

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    What do your hedgehogs like as a treat?

    The ones that visit me like dried mealworms but I don’t feed too many.

    But they really love the skin off a cooked chicken chopped into little bits. That appears to be roast dinner to the hedgehogs around here.

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    Hi Baldwin Hedgehog

    No doubt you already know my thoughts about treats. They are a peculiarly human thing and hedgehogs don’t need them. The supplementary food we give them is treat enough for them. But if you really felt you wanted to give them something different you could, for instance, if you normally feed wet cat food, offer them some cat/kitten biscuits.

    The problem is that, whether you like it or not, the hogs will visit many gardens in a night and others may also be offering what they consider to be sensible amounts of ‘treats’ of mealworms, etc. So (bearing in mind that some hogs are addicted to mealworms) the hogs could be going around from one garden to another and picking out all the mealworms. So they could actually be eating fairly large amounts of them in a night, without you even knowing about it.

    Not only are mealworms not that nutritious (so that filling up on them means that they might not eat so much of their natural food, which is likely to be better for them), but they also have the imbalance of calcium and phosphorous, which no doubt you have heard about.

    Having too much phosphorous can cause calcium to be leached from the bones. Hoglets are particularly at risk with their growing bones and they can grow in a deformed fashion as a result. In addition there have been reports that hoglets become so addicted to mealworms that they won’t eat anything else – when they desperately need to eat some good nutritious food if they have any chance of recovering.

    Hopefully a bit of explanation of the problems will put you in a better position to make a decision for youself. Even if you may have read me saying similar numerous times before!


    Hi Nic,
    I understand what you’re saying, when I talked about treats I didn’t mean I fed them treats every day. I do occasionally offer something different for example if I have chicken myself I put a little aside for the hedgehogs but that would only be once a week at most. The hedgehogs here mostly eat Tesco kitten biscuit with the odd added extra now and again and even though there is a small dish full of kitten biscuit offered daily the hedgehogs are normally rooting around for other stuff. I leave 1/3 of my lawn uncut which is good for beetles, the flower borders covered in bark chips which hold loads of insects under the surface layer. I planted two pampas grass which they nest in so all in all they aren’t doing too badly. Despite the food I provide I would say the hedgehogs spend only 30 minutes a night eating it, the rest of the time they are looking for natural items and do whatever else they do.

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    Hi Baldwinhedgehog

    Sounds as if your garden is a lovely place for the hogs.

    Just a word of caution about chicken as well. If you check out the table near the end of the information in this link you will see that chicken breast has nearly as bad a ratio of calcium to phosphorous as mealworms. Not sure about the skin, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that was similar. The way I see it, if it isn’t necessary to offer something to the hogs and we aren’t sure about it, it’s not worth taking the risk.

    Having said that you have obviously been taking good steps to make your garden more hog friendly which is brilliant. If everyone did something similar, maybe the hogs wouldn’t need any supplementary feeding at all – wouldn’t that be wonderful!

    One thing I found out – by mistake – is that beetles like turf banks. i.e. if you’re ever creating a new bit of border, if you pile the turf up somewhere (maybe 3 or 4 turfs high) the beetles soon move in.

    Good luck with the hogs and happy hog watching.


    I think we have gone way beyond letting hedgehogs take care of themselves without our intervention. We are developing more and more land and we have encroached on wildlife so much that habitat is too fragmented. I think hedgehogs would be near extinct in this country only but for a few of us providing extra food water and safe gardens to explore. Urban hedgehogs are now faring better that their country cousins only because some of us intervene.
    I would love not to need to feed the hedgehogs here but if I didn’t they would search further afield and get run over.
    I think providing food and water has now become a life saving necessity for our hedgehogs i’m afraid

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    Sadly, that’s where we are now. Although I don’t think it is completely down to people helping hogs by feeding them in urban areas that they are doing better there. A lot of it is to do with lack of habitat in the countryside, use of chemicals, mechanisation, etc. Gardens, in general, mimic hogs’ habitat of choice, ie. woodlend edge, hedges, etc. so it is natural that the hogs would gravitate towards gardens – and there are more of them in suburban areas. But if everyone linked their gardens and made part of them wildlife friendly, as you do, that would create a huge area of habitat for the hogs. It is possible. It just needs the will of the people to achieve it, or enough of them, at least. An added advantage is that the more gardens that are linked, the less need there is for the hogs to cross roads. Hogs need to be able to wander.

    Meanwhile we can dream!

    But the hogs relying on humans so much, makes it all the more important that everything they are offered to eat by humans is as good for them as it can be.

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