Feeding Hedgehogs


Hedgehog food chartIf you have hedgehogs in your garden, please look after them well. You are one of the very few lucky ones to still enjoy the presence of these endangered animals

Hedgehogs are insectivores with over 70% of their natural diet being insects and beetles, some worms and a very tiny amount of slugs and snails.

**Do not give them bread and milk**. They cannot digest the bread and cows milk gives hedgehogs very bad diarrhoea.  Many hedgehogs die because of this wrong diet.

What to feed them on…

  • Tinned Cat, Dog, Puppy or Kitten food. They prefer Chicken flavours best.
  • Cat or Kitten Biscuits. Only give meat flavoured biscuits.   The premium brands like Royal Canin, Burns, Hills,  James Wellbeloved or Arden Grange are much better for them (The “cheaper” common brands contain much more cereal and are not so nutritious)
  • Spike’s Dinner hedgehog food either tinned or dry  which is also available from good pet shops
  • Ark Wildlife Hedgehog food
  • Garden Bird Hedgehog food
  • Wildthings Hedgehog Food
  • Any cooked meat leftovers like chicken or  mince. Chop all meat in very small pieces. Hedgehogs only have tiny teeth and cannot chew or tear big pieces.
  • Small pieces of chopped mild or medium cheddar cheese
  • Chopped Peanuts ( the same peanuts you feed the birds on. NOT SALTED NUTS) Don’t put these down but if the birds drop them, the hogs will eat them OK in small amounts
  • Lots of Water, especially in hot weather. Hedgehogs drink a lot of water.
  • DO NOT give salty foods like bacon and corned beef
  • In winter or cold weather use biscuits, peanuts etc instead of tinned meat which freezes quickly

I regularly get asked about giving cheese to hedgehogs when they are lactose intolerant.

I have never experienced any problems with hogs having small amounts of cheddar. The only problem I ever get is that they can get constipated by it on occasion.
Even though hogs are lactose intolerant, cheese although containing lactose, the lactose must be converted in the cheese making process to a harmless form
Normally lactose intolerance leads to diarrheoea and I have never experienced that in hedgehogs. I wouldn’t over feed on cheese but small amounts down for the wild ones does help supply needed energy and it doesn’t freeze when left out overnight.

We used to give a few sultanas and raisins, but recent information suggests that many hogs will eat a lot of this high sugary food and get really bad tooth decay. If the odd sultana or raisin drops from the bird feeder or bird table and the hedgehog eats them, then don’t worry. An occasional one won’t do any harm.

We also used to suggest chopped peanuts, but recent research shows that hedgehogs eating larger quantities of these, can suffer from brittle bones as the calcium gets leaked out of the system by eating too many.

Feed at night after the flies have gone and remove the food in the early morning, before the flies arrive. Fly maggots cause serious harm to hedgehogs.

Ark Wildlife original Hedgehog Food

Ark Wildlife original  Hedgehog Food Ark Wildlife Original Hedgehog Food was initially developed for rescue centres and wildlife hospitals and is now available for feeding wild hedgehogs in the garden.

Hedgehog Food Original is a complete, nutritionally balanced 100% natural Hedgehog Food which actively promotes animal health and vitality. The natural ingredients are boosted with the addition of essential vitamins and minerals and completely free from artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives.

The size and shape of the crunchy biscuit is designed to assist with dental hygiene whilst still being highly palatable to hedgehogs of all ages. Young or infirm hedgehogs may benefit by soaking the Hedgehog Food in warm water for a few minutes before serving.

From £3.75 depending on pack sizes

Buy Now

Ark Hedgehog Mix

Ark Hedgehog Mix This hedgehog food is a delicious mixture of nuts, sultanas, honey , sunflower chips, freeze-dried insects, fats and brewers yeast.

It is ideal for young and old animals alike and will draw your prickly friends from far and wide to your feeding station.

An advantage of Ark Hedgehog Mix is that it will not attract cats and can therefore be left out overnight

From £3.65 depending on pack sizes

Buy Now

See How to prevent other animals like Dogs, Cats or Foxes stealing the hedgehog’s food.

Once you start to feed the garden hedgehogs, you should continue every night

  • If you go away on holiday ask a friendly neighbour to help.
  • Don’t forget to leave a small dish of biscuits and water while the hedgehogs are hibernating. They often wake up and have a quick snack. That food can be a life saver
  • You should put out food and water  all year round for them.
  • Put water outside your front door as well as in your back garden

Buy through our hedgehog shop

Slugs and Snails

Many gardeners wrongly think having hedgehogs in the garden is all they need to keep the slug and snail population down. please read HERE to find out why this is wrong and very bad for the hedgehogs

See these couple of videos of hedgehogs eating in the garden





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71 Comments on "Feeding Hedgehogs"

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A hedgehog is sleeping, maybe hibernating in my chicken house, do I need to feed it??
It has made itself a wall/nest of sawdust

Gavin Latchford

Can hogs digest cat meat in jelly?

Gavin Latchford

Can hogs digest catmeat in jelly?

Hello, I started putting out mealworms for a hedgehog that we saw in our garden one night as advised on a BBC website! The one hedgehog soon became five and they came earlier and earlier each night for their mealworms. After about two weeks I read that mealworms cause bone disease in hedgehogs due to the low ratio of calcium to phosphorus and so I immediately stopped putting out mealworms. I have been putting out IAMs kitten chicken dry food but they won’t touch it and all but one of the little ones have stopped even coming to see what… Read more »

The other night I had 3hedgehogs in my garden but these last few nights only 1 has appeared I give it cat food some biscuits that my cat isn’t keen on I soak them in a little water to make them soft with a few mealworms he or she comes the same time each evening we love watching it lovely I feel so lucky that it has chosen to visit our garden.


We have 3 hedgehogs. 2 in the back garden and 1 in the front. Have put out dry cat biscuits and saltanas together with a dish of water (although the pond in the back garden is their favourite). We’re also in Oxfordshire and it is our 2nd year of watching them merrily going about their business.


We have 5 hedgehogs in our garden! Mummy and 4 babies. So cute! We’ve been feeding them chopped nuts and mealworms. They come up onto our decking, and a few of them aren’t afraid of us atall! They can even climb up the steps too! Amazing cute little creatures!


We’ve got 5 hedgehogs in our garden. Mummy and 4 babies! They love our garden, and cone up on our decking to eat chopped nuts and meal worm we leave out for them! One is so tame he sniffs my hand! So lovely! : )

Colin Smith

We now have 2 hedgehogs in our garden and I’ve built a hedgehog house and placed it where they are coming in to the garden, should I build another house for the other one or will this be a mating pair? If they are mating will they both live in the house? I know at least one of them have been in for a nosy because I put some flour in the entrance and I can see little foot prints in it. Any advice would be grateful

Mike Ventress

Hi. Ive seen a hedgehog in my garden a couple of times recently and started putting bought hedgehog food and a few mealworms and water under bushes for them at night. Its always gone by next morning. How do I know its the hedgehog eating it or birds, mice or even rabbits etc.


Last winter we had a veranda built and were over the moon to find a hedgehog is living Under the decking. He comes out about 9pm then most recently about 8pm today 8-7-16 he came out at 3pm I’m worried have read that they should not come out during the day.
He moves very well and is quite large do we need to worry.
My husband was playing some music on the veranda could this have woken the hedgehog up?