Worryingly a number of people have said that other rescues advised them to feed mealworms to hedgehogs, even going so far as to recommend feeding them exclusively mealworms!
Mealworms are bad for hedgehogs!
Please do not feed any mealworms to hedgehogs as you risk causing them serious pain and ultimately death. Mealworms are high in phosphorus and low in calcium, so the body tries to compensate for this by removing calcium from the bones.
There doesn’t seem to be a week go by without someone asking how they get a hedgehog for their garden to eat all the slugs and snails they’re over-run with.
Whilst the hedgehog is touted as being the Gardener’s Friend, eating unwanted slugs and snails, unfortunately for the poor hedgehog, a diet consisting mainly of slugs and snails can be fatal!
Slugs, snails and earthworms can carry a parasite that infects hedgehogs, causing them breathing difficulties and affecting their ability to forage successfully. A hedgehog’s main diet is beetles.
The good news is that they can tolerate a small amount of slugs and snails, but only as long as they’re otherwise fit and well.
Unless you control slugs and snails with nematodes, or have a large population of hedgehogs that can chomp only a few each to control them and thus survive themselves, these garden pests can slowly kill off your hedgehogs!
Applying nematodes to your garden will reduce the slug and snail population allowing you to build your local hedgehog population by encouraging beetles – leave a pile of logs in a quiet corner where beetles can thrive. As the hedgehog population increases, your slug and snail population will decrease as they naturally eat a few slugs and snails each.
We’re seeing increasing numbers of poorly hedgehogs unable to breathe properly or feed well with lungworm infections brought about by eating too many slugs and snails. Each one requires around 3 weeks’ treatment to return them to the wild, fit and well again. But if there’s insufficient natural food stock for them, it’s not long before they succumb to a lungworm infection again and the cycle repeats.
Hedgehogs with lungworm have a “smoker’s cough”. They often wheeze too. This is because the lungworm grows in their lungs, each worm producing thousands of larvae, which the hedgehog then coughs up. As the disease takes hold, they spend more time fighting the infection than feeding, and eventually appear on your lawn “sunbathing” because they’re too weak to retain body heat. This is a late stage, and whilst it can still be treated, the success rate diminishes as the time before treatment increases – they’re on their last legs – time is of the essence.
So spare a thought for your hedgehogs and ensure they don’t have to eat lots of garden pests that might kill them.
15th to 18th August – we are at Countryfile Live, Castle Howard. Come and join us, and have a fantastic day out. Meet our rescued Hedgehogs.
14th September – we are at Penistone Agricultural Show. Come and join us, and have a fantastic day out. Meet our rescued Hedgehogs.
Yesterday was release day at Castle Howard with 9 hedgehogs going to their new home having passed their release exams with flying colours!
As we arrived, we could hear the hogs avidly sniffing the scents of their new surroundings.
We were met by staff from Castle Howard in the early evening eager to see these little critters settle into their beautiful new surroundings.
One-by-one we said goodbye to the little ones as they shuffled off into the foliage. One of the clan immediately bedded down under some logs, an excellent home!
Thank you to all the wonderful people at Castle Howard that enabled this release to take place into such perfect surroundings!
A number of people have commented on the photos of young hoglets drinking milk. This is NOT milk – at least not cows’ milk.
Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, meaning that if they drink cows’ milk, they will suffer severe tummy upsets and it can be fatal!
Hoglets drink their mother’s milk which is lactose free. A replacement for this is in the photos also lactose free but also with the nutrients a little hoglet needs to grow.
Only leave fresh water for hedgehogs, in a shallow dish, and with some stones to prevent hoglets from drowning and to weigh it down – hedgehogs like to tip things over!
Another no-no is mealworms. These have been shown to strip calcium out of their bones causing at best deformities and worst broken limbs. Peanuts and sunflower hearts cause a similar reaction. Unfortunately hedgehogs love mealworms but in this case even “a little of what you like doesn’t do you good!”
No milk! No mealworms! No excuses!
Please Help Me – I was found wandering around alone. I had been following my Mum and I got lost. Hoggies Respite were called and now I am feeling better. They are looking after me, feeding me and making sure that I grow up to go back to the wild again when I can fend for myself.
Please Donate using our Donate Button, to help this little hedgehog survive.
*Note: This is not Milk, it’s a hoglet formula. Hedgehogs can die from drinking milk*
We had two mothers who came in unable to look after themselves. Despite our efforts to save them, they died. However, their offspring have survived. We are nursing these poor little orphans and hopefully they will be released to the wild when the time is right.
These three need four hour feeds initially and then as they get older the feeds are more spaced apart. It is thanks to our Volunteer who works tirelessly with our orphans that these three are looking so good.
This is Mama Mama, who came to us a couple of weeks ago, her little ones are now approximately 3 weeks old. She was poorly and unable to stay where she was in the wild. We rescued Mama Mama, gave her a nice hutch to bring her babies up in. She has water and food and they are all doing well.
This is the first release this year which we are pleased to report. All of the hedgehogs featured above, came into us at the end of last year with various problems that needed to be resolved.
Throughout the winter we have nursed them back to health and now they are back out in the wild where they should be.
This is what Hoggies Respite is all about. Rescue, rehabilitate and release. It takes a lot of money to provide food, medication and care for these creatures. Please help us by donating via our link here