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What do Hedgehogs Eat?

Updated on September 5, 2012

The Hedgehog

You've all seen them. Those snuffling, reserved, timid little garden creatures, covered with spines but with a shiny black nose. The common or garden hedgehog, or Erinaceus Europaeus as the zoologists would say.

Perhaps you're curious as to what these lovely animals eat in the wilds of your back garden, or perhaps you'd just like to know what to feed them. Either way, you're just gasping to know, what do hedgehogs eat?

In The Wild

When they're snuffling around your garden, hedgehogs are a gardener's best friend, as they eat insects and slugs that might otherwise damage plant life, acting almost as a natural pest controller. But they're not fussy animals: they will also eat mushrooms, worms, lava, berries, snails, plant roots, or even frogs or toads!

Feeding a Hedgehog

The traditional food that people leave out for hedgehogs is bread soaked in milk, however this has far too high a fat content for their diet, contains nowhere near enough protein, and can give them stomach pains. If you want to leave food outside for a hedgehog, the best bet is cat food, although many experts suggest avoiding leaving out too much food for hedgehogs as this prevents them from helping rid your garden of pests.

Do leave out water for hedgehogs. They do often drink from ponds too, however pond owners should always provide hedgehogs a way to escape the pond should they fall in- hedgehogs can swim, as can all mammals, however where the sides of a pond are slippery they may well struggle to get out and end up drowning.

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    • profile image

      kate 5 years ago

      I love hedgehogs but do they make good pets?

      & what do they eat?

    • zzron profile image

      zzron 6 years ago from Houston, TX.

      That sure is a cute little thing in that picture!

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 6 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      A very interesting hub, thank you for posting. I really enjoyed reading it. Voted up.