While some people see wild hedgehogs as pests that they need to keep out of their garden, many of us love seeing these little creatures in the yard and worry about their well-being. I always get a little sad thinking about wild Hedgehogs in the winter since I know the scarcity of resources means many won’t make it through to spring. Still, it’s usually best not to feed wild Hedgehogs directly because it will make them wholly dependent on humans for food.
The best food items that you should provide the wild Hedgehog are kibble. Commercially made cat kibble is safe and also a favorite to them. Besides this, Hedgehogs also love to munch on insects and worms. If the kibble or the insects and worms are not available, you can even provide them will some fruits or veggies.
Those of you who live in areas where the wild species of Hedgehogs are endangered or threatened may be especially concerned about the wild Hedghogsin your neighborhood.
Should You Feed Wild Hedgehogs?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeding a will Hedgehog. In general, Hedgehogs do not spread diseases and are not generally a nuisance.
There are plenty of healthy food options that you can leave out for the wild Hedgehogs to feed them. You might be more inclined to do this in the winter when overall food resources are scarce.
However, you must still prevent these wild Hedgehogs from becoming too reliant on you as a food source.
Besides this, you need to be careful about attracting other wild animals to your yard. Wild Hedgehogs are not the only animals attracted to free food, so you may be accidentally driving the Hedgehogs away if you attract their natural predators instead.
What Do Wild Hedgehogs Normally Eat?
Hedgehogs are natural foragers. They will eat just about any kind of insect or worms.
Some examples of a natural wild Hedgehog diet include:
- Eggs of ground-nesting birds
- Fallen fruits
If the invertebrates are wildly available, Hedgehogs will rarely eat fruits and vegetables from gardens or bushes.
Greens are a much smaller part of their natural diet than most people think. Insects, worms, and eggs make up the vast majority of what wild Hedgehogs eat daily.
What Is The Best Food For Wild Hedgehogs?
There are several things that you can feed to a wild Hedgehog. Listed below are the best among all options:
- Commercially made kibble: Kibble, especially the cat food, is filled with nutrients and is formulated to provide Hedgehogs with all the essential nutrients they require to lead a healthy life. 1-2 tablespoons of kibble will work the best. This way, you can ensure that these little creatures are not missing out on any vital nutrients.
- Insects/Worms: Insects and worms are a crucial part of a Hedgehog’s diet. You can give them one-two insects, if available with you. However, not all insects are suitable to consume daily. Therefore, you must be extremely careful with what you feed the Hedgehogs.
- Occasional fruits and vegetables: Once in a while, Hedgehogs can also be fed with fruits and vegetables. However, not all fruits and vegetables are safe for Hedgehogs to consume. Therefore, you must research before serving anything to the will Hedgehog.
- Water: Water is essential for the survival of all living beings. You can serve them water in a bowl.
How Much Water Does A Hedgehog Need?
A healthy Hedgehog mostly drinks anywhere between 30-60 ml of water a day. The actual amount of consumption depends on several factors.
40-60 ml of water in one day is more than enough to keep the Hedgehog healthy and hydrated.
However, it’s also important to remember that Hedgehogs will get a lot of water from their diet.
What To AVOID Doing When Feeding Wild Hedgehogs
Certain food items are considered toxic for the Hedgehogs.
Consumption of such food might lead to certain health problems in these little creatures. Besides this, excessive eating of this food might even cause the immediate death of the Hedgehog.
Listed below are some of the food that you should avoid feeding your Hedgehog at all costs:
- Allium Vegetables (Onions, Garlic, Shallots & More)
- Processed Snacks Or Junk Food (Such As Fries, Chips & More)
- Sugary/Salty Food Or Drinks
- Cooked human leftovers
When Will You Usually See Wild Hedgehogs Eating?
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of your backyard Hedgehog eating, the best time to look is just after dust, when it is fully dark.
This is the time of day when Hedgehogs are most active. They’re nocturnal. Therefore, they typically don’t come out much in the daylight to fear daytime predators, like dogs and large birds.
The Autumn and Winter months are the most important for them to find food to put on enough weight before hibernation, so always make sure you put out food at this time of year.
They’ll also be more likely to go for any food left out if it’s away from areas with high foot traffic. Try placing any food or planting gardens away from the main doors and walkways.
Feeding Wild Hedgehogs In Captivity
If a wild Hedgehog is in captivity (due to injury, for example), there will be every attempt to feed them as naturally a diet as possible.
This means they will be offered a variety of insects, worms, and kibble to help them eat adequately and recover. Sometimes they will also be given greens if there aren’t enough insects or worms available.