What to Avoid
First things first: it is illegal to take a hedgehog from the wild and put it in your garden, or to take one from your garden and translocate it to another home. Hedgehogs will not survive in new areas without being part of a complex release program.
If you already have a hedgehog or are trying to encourage one, please be aware of the following:
Milk and Bread
Whilst they may eagerly lap it up, hedgehogs should not be given milk. They are lactose intolerant, so milk will upset their stomach, and the sugar content in milk is bad for their teeth. Bread, sweet foods and treats should similarly be avoided; they offer little nutritional value and can cause tooth decay. Remember, wildlife don’t have dentists to step in if their teeth rot, and without their teeth they will not survive. Also, never leave out food with bones as they can splinter and cause internal damage.
If you have the good fortune of hosting a hedgehog, be sure not to disturb it, particularly if it is hibernating or if you have brood of newborn hedgehogs. Rousing a hibernating hedgehog requires great energy expenditure and uses up its valuable fat reserves. If awakened, provide it with a dish of dog or cat food and water each night until it goes into hibernation again. Disturbing a new mother often results in her abandoning or killing the hoglets. If you do accidentally disturb a nest, replace the nesting material so the hedgehog can repair it, and be sure to handle the nest as little as possible so as to not leave your scent on it. If babies are in the nest, keep an eye on it to make sure the mother returns. If there is no sign of her by the next morning, telephone us or your nearest wildlife rescue for advice.