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)
  • 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.

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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57 Comments on "Feeding Hedgehogs"

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This morning I found mum hedgehog under a pile of chopped conifer branches, she made a nest, she has 4 newborn babes. I have turned a box over on one side & placed branches around to cover them. I’ve left water & dry chicken cat food too. What to do?
Babes squeak & seems to be some movement in there but I can’t see them & I don’t really want to disturb them.
Any advice out there?

shampoo dave

Hi…….Hope they are ok. Dig a slight saucer type hole….fill a nest of hay or dry grass…….and cover with a large paving slab supported by a brick on each corner. Place this close to where they are now. Safe bet is a few raisins & sultanas, dried mealworms and unsalted crushed peanuts. Good Luck.


NEVER go near a mum and new babies unless there is danger to them – mum ill run and not come back,If you MUST move them..put mum in a deep box first so she cant run..put the babies in a separate box WITHOUT TOUCHING them ..your smell on them and mum will leave or kill them


From JJ:
Pleased to say that 30 days after finding mum hedgehog & her 4 babies under pile of conifer branches, that all 4 babies are fit and well, foraging about in my back garden the last 3 nights. I’m happy for the advice Epping Hog Rescue gave me and priceless info’given on this site as efforts not was wasted on the hogs. I hope they continue to strive. Needless to say I’m now a hog fan for life and will continue to support!


Do not disturb them, leave them be where they are. We feed ours meal worms.


meal worms should be given sparingly…they can cause bone problems and there is little nutrition in mealworms


Just wondering how you’re getting on JJ – we’ve had a mum and four babies, she’s abandoned one and we’re left to rear as he insists on coming out during the day to wander around!


Seen 2 adult hogs in my back garden this morning i would love for them to come again will start to put food out for them.:)

Ginny W
We have a very large garden and have at least 4 hedgehogs visiting the garden regularly, but believe there may be more. We have 2 large hedgehog houses, in a secluded and sheltered part of the garden, which were well used last winter and a hedgehog is nesting in one now. We also have a large area under the decking in front of the summerhouse, which is regularly used by them, plus areas of stacked logs & branches which they burrow under – they love this area. We feed them Spikes hedgehog food every night and frequently supplement this with… Read more »

Just discovered my first garden visitor night before last, he’d snuck under the neighbours fence. I put a tiny dish of water down and a few chopped up cat biscuits but don’t know of it was the prickly dude that are them as I have a dog and cat. I did notice him munching on what looked like cat poo though..is that a normal habit?? I put more our last night even though I didn’t actually spot him.


Just over a week ago found very young hedgehog ! Was heading towards busy main rd , but had been seen on my garden mins earlier !
Took baby in and started feeding him up as very thin .
He has now gone to live with my daughter who has a secure garden .
Today moving garden rubbish in my garden found mum and 3 poss 4 babies in nest !
They must be over week old !
Could mum have had two nests on the go ?
Mum is huge and heavy as picked her up the other day !
Supplement feeding to begin !!!


I’ve never heard of anything like that but if the road is really a problem, you may wish to relocate them. However be very careful and I think check about handling babies because I know with rabbits the mum will reject babies if they have a humans scent on them. I don’t know if this applies to hedgehogs. Very cute anyway. Best of luck.

Hi everyone, So we have regular hedgehogs that come into our garden every night. Not sure if they are the same ones but we’ve seen two at once before. Anyway my immature older brother thinks they can be overfed. Is there a recommended amount of how much to put out. We feed ours meal worms and they love them, they don’t touch the slugs lol. I usually put about 1/3 to 1/2 a bag out. Usually 1/3 then if they eat them all I’ll tip more outside. I think a bag is maybe 120g or 90g I can’t remember and… Read more »
Phil Richardson

They will eat mealworms but it destroys their calcium, so it affects the bones and teeth. They develop osteoporosis and can easily break a leg and die. Best to feed chicken cat food in jelly, not gravy. Cat biscuits designed for kittens, plus a bowl of only fresh water, never milk.

Sue Meads

Hi all..me and my partner live in Germany and have a constant supply of hedgehogs visiting our patio, healthy appetites they have too, problem is we are moving later this year and are worried about our little visitors as we are the only ones that put out food and water for them! I know it sounds silly but we are worried for them as their food stockpile will disappear.


Hi Sue
I faced a similar problem when I moved last year and was equally concerned, but unfortunately sometimes us mere humans have little choice in these decisions.
If you are the only people to leave food and water out for them, then undoubtedly they will miss this valuable resource. I suggest gradually reducing the amount you leave out until there is nothing so that they become less dependent upon you and subsequently less reliant on you.
Since relocating I have been lucky enough to have found plenty of hedgehogs visiting my garden and hopefully you will too.

barbara gregg

I have up to seven hedgehogs coming to feed every night. Four in the front garden and three in the back. All at the same time . I feed them dried meal worms but not sure how much to give them so it’s usually a handful each. I also leave water for them.


can someone help i picked up a baby hedgehog he is only small iv got him inside cat box at mo he was cold and given him dog food which he has eaten and water i thought that they go to sleep through the winter but i dont think that he is big enough to survive on his own what shall i do hes eaten his food and is asleep now and warm please help please


I have been feeding five hedgehogs all through the summer but I have not seen them for a couple of nights now and I am concerned. Could they have already started to hibernate, although it would appear to be early for them. Is it unusual for hedgehogs to just not visit for a few nights at this time of year? I have been feeding them Spikes hedgehog food as well as cat food and they come each night and finish it all. I am concerned for their well being.


We still had hedge hogs in the garden last night. Not as many as last year(5). Here in Oxfordshire it is still very mild at night, so I expect to see them for some time. I am unsure however, how long to feed them for and if I should carry on over the winter.

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