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Natural food - hedgehogs predominantly eat beetles along with caterpillars and earth worms.

You can put out a saucer of meat based dog or cat food (don't use fish) and your garden friend will treat this as a welcome supplement to its normal diet. If your unable to put food out please always make sure there is a dish of water especially during the summer months or in extreme weather conditions. They can have mashed up, meat based dog or cat food mixed with a little bit of cereal like weetabix, bran or wholemeal bread to give it some bulk. They can also have meat based cat biscuits as these are good for the teeth. Other "treats" can include sultanas, small pieces of fruit, cooked potato, light fruitcake, plain biscuits, cooked chicken, raw mince etc.

Feeding Stations It is a good idea to place the food in a feeding station to stop cats and dogs from stealing the food and to keep the hedgehog safe from predators whilst eating. You can either make your own or buy one of ours.

Never give cows milk to a hedgehog as they cannot digest the lactose.

PLEASE FEED HEDGEHOGS IN DRY WEATHER - OFFERING MEATY PET FOOD AND FRESH WATER CAN BE A LIFESAVER (British Hedgehog Preservation Society)

Hibernation

Hedgehogs go into hibernation when the temperature drops and food is scarce; usually around November, December time.

Favourite sites that hedgehogs use for hibernation are - under hedges, in piles of brushwood, inside compost heaps or in old rabbit burrows and underneath timber buildings and sheds.

Hedgehog nests are generally constructed from old dry leaves, grass and other vegetation and can be up to 50cms thick. Hedgehogs also welcome man made hedgehog houses, you can either make these yourself or buy one of ours.

A lot of hedgehogs do wake up throughout their hibernation but rarely leave their nests, they can be awake for a couple of days and generally they have been woken by a disturbance or unexpectedly hot weather.

Hedgehogs don't always hibernate, if there is enough food and the air temperature is not too low hedgehogs will not hibernate. Hibernation ends when the temperature starts to rise, usually around mid March to early April.

Hedgehogs In Need Of Help

If you see a hedgehog out in the day or struggling to walk properly it needs urgent help. Contain it somewhere safe and warm and call Hedgehog Rescue on 01584 890 801 for advice.


Hedgehogs that need help are:

Orphaned Hoglets

found out of the nest in day, or when the nest has been destroyed and the mother killed or injured Injured hedgehogs - with open wounds, fractures, bites, burns or trapped in some way.

Sick hedgehogs

usually found out in the day, thin, dehydrated, possibly poisoned or with breathing problems Hedgehogs that are unsteady on their feet (wobbling, rocking) and ones with flies round them.

Autumn juveniles

young hedgehogs born late in the year, weighing under 600g from September onwards - especially if out in the day.

It is normal for healthy hedgehogs to arouse from hibernation for short periods even in cold winter weather, do not assume these hedgehogs need help unless they are underweight or obviously unwell.

Adult females in summer uninjured but found out in daylight should be left alone as these can be nursing mothers.

Any large uninjured hedgehogs found (eg in winter or in the road) and picked up for safety by well meaning people should be put back away from the road but near where found.

Useful Contacts and Further Reading

British Hedgehog Preservation Society -

http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/

For urgent advice call 01584 890801 Kay Bullen -

Hedgehog Helpline

www.hedgehg.dircon.co.uk/hedgehogs