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Should I feed hedgehogs in my garden?

The simple answer to this is an absolute Yes!

In the State of Britain’s Hedgehog Report in 2022 (1) it was shown that although there has been a historic decline in our native hedgehog population the urban populations are stabilising and may even be recovering.

Reasons for this may include: –

  • Increased awareness around the plight of hedgehogs
  • Accessibility to people’s gardens via Hedgehog Highways
  • Supplementary feeding in gardens
  • Increased awareness of hedgehogs needing help and being taken to Wildlife Rescues

 

From this time onwards hedgehogs may be going into hibernation. A healthy hedgehog will need to be at least 450g but ideally 600g or more to ensure survival through their hibernation period. Many small or sick hedgehogs will continue to look for food as they attempt to reach an appropriate weight before hibernating. If they go to where they normally find food and there is none this can lead to these hedgehogs dying of starvation especially as their natural diet of beetles etc are in short supply at this time of year.

 

Do I feed hedgehogs when they are in hibernation?

It is a good idea to continue to leave out food and water even during the autumn and winter months, just not as much as you normally would. Hedgehogs can have periods of arousal during hibernation for a top up of food or they may look for a new nest. These arousals take up a lot of energy which needs to be replenished, and if they do not find food and water, they will struggle to survive the rest of the hibernation period.

There have been some suggestions that people supplementary feeding hedgehogs will stop them going into hibernation. Hibernation triggers are varied and multi-factorial including temperature, daylight hours, natural food sources becoming scarcer etc. However, as many Wildlife Rescues will attest, hedgehogs in their care that have warmth, light, and all-day long access to food and water, can enter hibernation despite the carers attempts to keep them awake and finish any treatments required.

So please do keep feeding hedgehogs all year round as they certainly need all the help they can get. Brambles Hedgehog Foods are 100% safe for hedgehogs and contain beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for optimum health 😊

Reference (1) The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022. David Wembridge, Grace Johnson, Nida Al-Fulaji, Steve Langton. Sponsored by PTES and British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

You can read the full article on the link below.

https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/SoBH-2022-Final.pdf