Feeding hedgehogs in autumn and winter

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The winter is almost here and many little hedgehogs are still on the way to eat a fat pad for the upcoming winter? If the outside temperatures are well above freezing, they will succeed. "However, a hedgehog must weigh at least 600 grams, before he can say goodbye to the winter quarters without the risk of starvation," explains Philip McCreight of the animal welfare organization TASSO eV... Are the animals still too young or very small, you should feed them - otherwise they have no chance to survive the cold season.

Detecting malnourished hedgehogs

Basically, the little hedgehogs should easily be able to eat over the summer and fall, a sufficient fat pad for the winter. However, there are also exceptions, some of which are due to climatic changes. In recent years it has been observed that, after mild winters, hedgehogs wake up earlier from their hibernation and mate earlier accordingly. This often leads to a further mating and young hedgehogs in the late summer, which could not eat the necessary fat until the onset of winter. These hedgehogs as well as injured animals or orphaned hedgehog children whose mother died in a car accident, for example, depend on help that we humans can offer them with very little effort.

Hedgehog on food bowl

Especially in autumn, feeding can save hedgehogs and bring them over the winter

How to feed hedgehogs appropriately

Hedgehogs are basically protein eaters and care in the garden for waste and annoying vermin such as grubs. When feeding is therefore that the offer may also be very varied: wet cat and dog food they eat as well as hard-boiled eggs, unsalted, cooked meat, oatmeal and bran to special, commercially available hedgehogs. However, there are also some foods that are not on the menu, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy and nuts. While they eat this food in an emergency, it's either not enough nutrient-rich or they can not tolerate it and, in the worst case, even die from it. So be sure to feed mainly animal protein.
When it comes to the question of the correct amount of food, it is surprising what the animals in the food phase plaster everything. A daily dose of around 150 grams is not uncommon and the animals gain weight quickly. If you have a litter of young hedgehogs in your own garden, you can hear the loud smacking of the hedgehogs at the feeding site after dusk. Whether in free-living garden hedgehogs or a recorded animal that lives in the enclosure: One feeding a day is sufficient. This is ideally done in the evening when the animals become active.

Additional help: A winter quarters

In addition to relatively little food in late summer and autumn, our very tidy garden hedgehogs provide little shelter and rarely a winter quarters. Who wants to furnish the diligent garden helpers a warm home, can either create a deadwood hedge (Benjeshecke) or a pile of clippings in an unused garden corner or offer other options such as a coarse layered firewood stack or even a real hedgehog house. These home-made shelters are often not adopted in the first year after placement because the smell is still too unnatural. So do not remove it immediately if no hedgehog has settled there in the first year. Tip: Simply feed the hedgehogs in your garden near the shelter you have set up - this increases the chance that the winter quarters will be populated.

Hedgehog house in the garden

In addition to the feeding, a hedgehog house can also be a help gladly accepted by hedgehogs

Igelfallen by human hand

The biggest danger for hedgehogs is not the harsh winter, but the human being. Be sure to cover basement shafts or other pitfalls that a hedgehog might fall into, and in spring make sure that you do not accidentally miss and hurt a hedgehog when tidying up logs or bundles of logs or clearing hedges. Even garden ponds with steep banks are a deadly danger for hedgehogs. If your pond does not have a shallow water zone, you should stick a wooden board as a dock into the water so that the animals can save themselves.
Even carelessly thrown away garbage can end for Hedgehog with death. In particular, MacDonald's sundaes are a trap for many of these animals: the hedgehogs stick their heads in to lick out the remains of ice, but then they catch their spikes and can not get out. After British conservationists campaigned for the hedgehogs, the fast food chain promised to bring other containers to market. Until then, you can help the hedgehogs by collecting such hazards and throwing them in the bin.

Video Board: Hedgehog winter feeding.

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