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  1. Published on: 14/11/2017 04:00 PMReported by: roving-eye
    It is quite widely known that hedgehog numbers are declining, but more and more people are becoming aware of this and are doing their bit to help. As with most animals there is a lot of misunderstanding about the best food stuffs for them and this can actually cause the hogs more harm than good - when we get it wrong.

    Mealworms are becoming an increasingly popular option for hogs – and they certainly do love them! However, unfortunately this does not mean that they are the most ideal food for them, or that they should make up the majority of the hog’s diet.

    Mealworms are very high in phosphorus and this can unbalance the very fragile equilibrium of the body. Too much phosphorus in the diet can in fact cause calcium to be leached from the bones and lead to Metabolic Bone Disease. This is when the bones become soft and therefore bendy as well as developing deformities – this can make walking impossible for the hog, which in turn severely effects their chance of survival. A small amount of mealworms daily however, can be part of a nutritious and balanced diet for hedgehogs.

    At Woodlands Animal Sanctuary they use a specially blended mix of high quality meat based cat kibble, with a very small amount of seeds, nuts and insects. These quality sources of nutrients help hogs to achieve sufficient weight for successful hibernation through the winter and breeding during the summer. If you would like to help support the hedgehogs in your area, you can buy the charities special blend of hog food, the proceeds of which go straight back to the charity to support the work they do. The food can be purchased from the pet shop that is on site at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary premises.

    Wet cat food, the type you get in the pouches or tins, can also be fed to hogs, (usually chicken flavour) but because of the high water content the volume they require to gain the same level of nutrients is much more. Because of the water content it can then cause havoc with their stools. The other thing to remember about wet food it that is will go off very quickly during the warmer times of the year and can also freeze easily when temperatures drop.

    So much like us – nutrition can play a very large part in our overall health. To ensure that you are in fact supporting and benefitting wild hedgehogs, make sure you feed them only reputable hog mixes, that use only quality ingredients.

    Don’t forget, hedgehogs only hibernate for around 10 days at a time, and therefore they still need a reliable food source throughout the winter. If they are unable to find enough food when they wake up, and maintain their weight, it is unlikely they will have another successful 10 days hibernation. Therefore, if you are kind enough to leave food out for our prickly friends, please ensure you continue to do so, throughout the winter, as they do still need it.




    Notes for the editor
    For more information on the work Woodlands Animal Sanctuary do and/or more photographs please contact the sanctuary on 01704 823293 , email: info@animalsanctuary.org.uk or visit our Facebook page.
    Woodlands next event is the Christmas Market on Sunday 17th December 11-3pm
     

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  3. said says:14/11/2017 10:16 PM
    Far more important for hedgehogs, is the quality and accessibility of food. Hedgehogs have a wide variety of foods in the wild, there is a great abundance of such in private gardens - but far more people are enclosing their gardens with fencing and are taking away the hedgerows where hedgehogs nest. People are also using chemicals such as slug pellets to kill slugs that hedgehogs feed on. Hedgehogs will travel great distances to reach their food supplies, but their pathways are becoming more and more limited as building projects, roads and similar obstacles are both placed in their way and kill off the food supplies. Most of the hedgehog roadkill is due to the hedgehogs seeking food supplies and having to cross roads to obtain it. Intensive farming has a detrimental effect on the well being of hedgehogs - with more chemicals being used, killing off the insects and worms that the hedgehog feeds upon.
    If you have to fence off your garden for security purposes, leave one area where hedgehogs can come and go in your garden. With sufficient hedgehogs, you would not need to use chemicals to kill off the slugs. Leave hedgerows where you can do so - these are an excellent intruder protection and provide a home for the hedgehogs.


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