What do these spiky critters eat?
Often called ‘a gardener’s best friend’, hedgehogs are a helpful presence in any garden. They eat beetles, worms, slugs, caterpillars and a variety of other creepy crawlies and garden pests. Invertebrates top their list and thsi diet is perfect for them. In fact, anything that eats holes in your plants is likely to be the prey of these spiky critters. In a single night, a hedgehog can eat more than 100 caterpillars! They rely on their hearing and exceptional sense of smell to make up for their poor eyesight when foraging for invertebrates.
Although invertebrates are their most typical food source, hedgehogs have been known to eat a wide array of different foods, from fallen fruits to roadkill. They are meat eaters so will eat baby birds, rodents and eggs from ground nesting birds. In private gardens, hedgehogs' natural diet has been changed with the prevalence of bird feeders and this has seen them eat fallen nuts. We would recommend growing food in your garden that the supports the invertebrate and natural diet that they thrive on.
If you want to supplement their feeding you can do so with occasional dog or cat food, mince meat and unsalted nuts. Whilst, like most wildlife, they have a sweet tooth the lack of dentists in the wild mean that these should be avoided. Hedgehogs are already challenged with their higgledy piggledy teeth so an assault of sugar giving even poorer gnashers will prevent them for feeding and could signal an early death. Just like humans health is paramount.