By Charlotte Owen
Have you ever put out a delicious meal intended for your local hedgehogs, only for it to be gobbled up by the neighbourhood cats or foxes? The easiest way to solve this problem is to create a simple feeding station, which aims to let little hedgehogs in and keep larger animals out.
- You will need a sturdy box, either plastic or wooden, with a removable lid.
- Cut a small entrance hole (13 cm x 13 cm) in one side
- Cover any sharp edges with tape so that the doorway is safe for hedgehogs to pass through
- Line the box with some newspaper
- Choose a quiet, secluded spot in the garden to position your café
- Wait until evening falls, then add a shallow dish of suitable food to the box, replace the lid and weigh it down with a heavy brick
- Put out a shallow dish of water too, either inside the café or nearby
What should I feed my hedgehogs? The best options are meaty cat or dog food, either tinned or dry, or a commercial hedgehog food.
What foods should I avoid? Never feed bread or milk as these will cause an upset stomach. Hedgehogs go mad for mealworms but these should be fed in strict moderation, if at all – they are the hedgehog equivalent of biscuits and crisps, so not great nutritionally and they are very high in phosphorous, which can lead to serious health issues.
When should I stop feeding?
Hedgehogs need to fatten up ready for winter and it’s fine to keep feeding them right up until they hibernate – the exact date will vary depending on the weather but you’ll notice their visits start to drop off as it gets colder.