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What do hedgehogs eat, identification and habitat
By Ark Wildlife
2nd September 2013
What do hedgehogs eat? Have you got hedgehogs in your garden? How to identify a hedgehog, and many more common questions answered.
An unmistakable small garden mammal with a body covered in sharp spines. The back and upper body parts are covered in spines that can be bristled. The spines stick out in all directions and when alarmed the hedgehog will curl up in a ball for protection.
The head, flanks and underparts are all covered in course brown hair. The ears are hairy and prominent, the snout is black, shiny and wet. The eyes are black.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal and can be found by listening for their surprisingly loud snuffling and rummaging in the undergrowth at dawn and dusk. Hedgehogs are also unexpectedly fast movers for their size and have also been seen climbing fences and trees.
Hedgehogs hibernate during the winter months in leafy undergrowth and can be easily killed by careless gardeners by digging compost heaps and burning garden litter without first checking for nesting animals.
Hedgehogs have no real natural predators due to their powerful protection, however cars kill a huge number each year.
Normally silent but makes loud snuffling sounds when foraging and will squeal if attacked or injured.
Hedgehogs make a nest in leafy undergrowth in thick brambles safe from predators, disused holes, tree hollows and the like. They also take readily to man made cover such as garden sheds and purpose built hedgehog houses. They will produce a litter of 4-8 young in June-August and will stay with the mother for about 40-days. In good seasons two litters can be produced.
Gardens, hedgerows and light woodlands, it avoids badgers which may prey on it but it is not concerned by man.
Natural Hedgehog Food
Hedgehogs eat a wide range of invertebrates, worms, snails, slugs and insects. It will take carrion, scraps, some plant material and an opportunist robber taking mice, baby birds and eggs. For its size the hedgehog has a huge appetite.
Hedgehog food can be fed in the open or under cover, left out overnight as they forage and eat during the night. To prevent cats and foxes from stealing their food, you can use a purpose built hedgehog feeding station or place food under a low covered tile placed on top of house bricks.
Suitable Hedgehog Food from the Shop
Ark Hedgehog Food Original – a complete hedgehog feeding diet
Ark Hedgehog Muesli – a high fat supplementary food fortified with calcium
Dried Calcium Worms – a treat for hedgehogs
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