Posted: 29/11/2012 at 20:21
I have put some water outside and some food that I bought specially from a pet shop as I wasn't sure what they ate apart from slugs and snails.
I'm now hoping that they'll help me next year when they come out of hibernation by eating the slugs and snails on my vegetable garden!
Guys/Girls, Please be aware that Hedgehogs DO NOT eat large numbers of slugs and snails. The majority of a hedgehog's diet comprises insects, beetles, caterpillars, small vertebrates and sometimes eggs. They will eat about 5% slugs and snails but only if VERY hungry. Slugs and snails are a very bad food for hedgehogs as they contain lots of lungworm larvae and fluke larvae both of which are killers.
If you see a hog out in the daytime (ever) or any small hedgehogs at this time of year please pick them up and take them to a hedgehog rescue centre asap. Hedgehogs need to weigh at least 800g to hibernate successfully, so if you see smaller ones now please rescue them immediately. Pop them in a bucket, put a towel on top of them, bring inside to keep them warm and call the centre. If you do find a small one please check around as there will frequently be siblings. Most hedgehogs have hibernated by now. They do wake up to eat and drink but only for very short periods, so most you see out and about now are in trouble.
I have a couple of injured hogs in my walled garden who came from a rescue centre as they are too damaged to survive in the wild. They are truly lovely little animals, (although not terribly bright) and it is very rewarding to see them bumbling around at dusk. The simplest and best food for them is a meat based small cat or kitten biscuit. If you regularly see hogs in your garden it would be kind to keep some out, preferably in a catproof feeder (see websites mentioned above for design), as well as some fresh water for hibernating hedgehogs who have stirred.