In this guide we’ll take a look at the best hedgehog food.
I’ve compared ingredients, nutrition and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is the Best Hedgehog Food?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Nutritious food offering excellent value!
This Spikes Delicious Dry 2.5 kg is a great value bag of hedgehog food that will last a long time. It provides a complete and nutritious diet for wild hedgehogs, in dry-food form. It contains poultry meat meal, wheat, wheatfeed, whole maize and several other beneficial ingredients.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Hedgehog Food Reviews
Spikes Delicious Dry 2.5 Kg Review
Spikes Delicious Dry is tailored to provide a complete and nutritious diet for wild hedgehogs.
If you’ve been looking for something to put out for these little critters, but haven’t known exactly what to choose – this is the best hedgehog food on the market!
It contains poultry meat meal, wheat, wheatfeed, whole maize, rice, poultry oil, brewer’s yeast and whole linseed as well as added vitamins.
The nutritional composition is: crude protein 25%, crude oils and fats 12%, crude fibres 3% and crude Ash 7%.
The dry food doesn’t go off as quickly as wet foods so it’s really convenient to have around. It comes in the form of tiny biscuits which hedgehogs can easily eat.
If you have a trail cam, you’ll likely be able to hear them making cute crunching sounds as they munch away. The ones visiting my garden love it.
My dog also enjoys the food, given the chance, but I have had no problem with cats, rats or foxes stealing it.
A 2.5 kg bag lasts a long time – you’ll only need to put out a handful or two each night, so won’t go through it quickly.
The biscuits turn to mush if they get wet, but the hedgehogs don’t seem to mind. I leave mine under a table to protect them from the worst of the weather and this saves me having to clean out the remnants of the mush in the morning.
This is a nutritionally complete hedgehog food that is reasonably priced, convenient to use, and loved by hedgehogs!
Wild Things Hedgehog Food 2kg Review
This Wild Things Hedgehog Food contains a mix of dried fruit, berries, nuts and crunchy nuggets.
It’s a little more on the expensive side, but remains good quality food at a fair price for what you get.
The ingredients are wheat, poultry meat meal, beef meat meal, wheat feed, banana, raisins, peanut nibs, maize, poultry oil, minerals and vitamins. The nutritional composition is: protein 22.0%, oil 14.0%, fibre 3.5%, ash 8.0%.
Be careful if you intend to use this food as a daily staple for hedgehogs – fruits with a high sugar content (such as bananas, raisins, and cranberries) should be fed to hedgehogs only occasionally.
Just like with humans, too much sugar will damage a hedgehog’s teeth. If you want to use this hedgehog food daily, perhaps pick out the fruit and only put it in occasionally.
Spike Meaty Feast Hedgehog Food, 17 x 100 g Review
This Spike Meaty Feast Hedgehog Food comes in a foil tray making it easy to prepare and simple to clean up.
The food contains fish, cereals, minerals and meat and animal derivatives; it provides a balanced diet alone, or can be used in conjunction with dried food as an extra treat.
The hedgehogs in my garden relished this food and I found they kept coming back every night.
Jacobi Jayne I Love Hedgehogs Food 500g Review
This Jacobi Jayne I Love Hedgehogs Food includes nuts, fruits, sunflower hearts and cereals, laced with sweet energy-rich honey.
Recently, the manufacturers updated the formulation in line with the latest research on hedgehogs’ nutritional requirements – the food now contains no sultanas and less honey.
They have also removed the mealworms, which are high in phosphorous, and bad for hedgehog’s bone health, and replaced them with dried calci worms.
The food comes in a 500 g stay-fresh pouch, and a 2 kg pouch is also available.
Nuts and sunflower seeds are high in fat, so they should only be fed to hedgehogs occasionally as part of a balanced diet.
It took a while for the hedgehogs to try this new food, however, once they did, they gobbled it up.
If you’re looking for another hedgehog food option to try, this offers a nice compromise between dry and wet food and it’s more convenient to use than wet food.
Brambles Crunchy Hedgehog Food 2kg Review
This Brambles Crunchy Hedgehog Food has proven to be a popular choice amongst garden hedgehogs.
It contains poultry meat meal, wheat, wheatfeed, whole maize, rice, poultry oil, brewer’s yeast and whole linseed. This provides a good nutritional balance for hedgehogs and doesn’t include anything that could be harmful.
It also contains 25% protein which is perfect for building up reserves for over winter.
The biscuits are small and a good size for hedgehogs making this an all-round popular choice.
Gardman Hedgehog Dry Food 650g Review
This Gardman Hedgehog Dry Food provides a good mixture of foods to keep hedgehogs happy and healthy.
It contains poultry, fish meal, maize, rice and minerals.
This 650 g option is perfect if you don’t want to buy a massive bag of food but have got one or two hedgehogs to feed. If you’re putting it out every night, it will last for a good few weeks.
Again, this was a very popular choice amongst my garden visitors. It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s good if you don’t want to have a huge open bag sitting around for ages.
Hedgehog Complete Food 1kg Review
This economical Hedgehog Complete Food is high in protein and contains chicken and fish meal.
It is made up of 32% protein and 12% vitamins and minerals.
The biscuits are small which makes it perfect for hedgehogs, and off-putting to larger animals like cats and foxes – smaller kibble is sometimes too time consuming for them to bother with.
It offers great value for money and can be fed to hedgehogs every night thanks to its suitable and balanced ingredients.
Things to Know Before Buying Hedgehog Food
Many of us have visiting hedgehogs roaming our lawns whether we know it or not, and they’re one of the easiest wildlife species to attract. Hedgehogs are also a gardener’s best friend as they eat slugs and snails. Unfortunately, their population is dwindling and they need our help.
You can encourage hedgehogs into your garden by feeding them. However, it can be really complicated to know what the best hedgehog food is, as some can do more harm than good.
I’ve put together the following information so that you can make an informed choice when it comes to buying hedgehog food:
Seeing as hedgehogs are wild animals, it might seem excessive to provide them with food – surely they are able to get enough from nature alone?
Unfortunately, hedgehogs are clearly struggling to get enough sustenance from their surroundings; the population of hedgehogs in the UK is declining at an alarming rate.
Hedgehogs need sufficient fat reserves to get them through their winter hibernation, otherwise they have to continue looking for food and can perish in the search. They also need plenty of food in order to have the energy to successfully raise their young.
Putting food out for hedgehogs year-round gives them a much higher chance of survival.
This food isn’t intended to be the hedgehog’s only food source; it acts to supplement the diet they get from scavenging.
But why do we want hedgehogs in the first place? Of course, they’re cute, that goes without saying, and is as good a reason as any to want to help the species thrive.
Their numbers have declined dramatically in the last 10 years. So much so, that the UK has actually lost a third of its population of hedgehogs in that time. These animals are a traditional staple – just think of lovely Mrs Tiggy-Winkle – and we don’t want them to die out forever!
Furthermore, hedgehogs offer a genuine service to gardeners, improving the health of the plants in your garden by eating snails and slugs. They’re immensely useful to have around!
The biggest obstacle when buying hedgehog food is knowing what ingredients should be included, and which should be avoided.
A hedgehog’s diet should ideally have a 2:1, or 1:1, ratio of calcium to phosphorous. When hedgehogs consume too much phosphorous it can cause them to have a calcium deficiency, ultimately damaging their bones and causing severe health problems.
Remember, the food you are putting out is a supplement to the food that the hedgehog is already finding in the wild. Therefore, you should be mindful not to include high-phosphorus foods, as they are likely getting some of these from their natural diet anyway (primarily from insects).
Some hedgehogs can take a while to get used to a new food, much like cats. If you have been feeding your hedgehogs a less healthy option, such as mealworms, then they may throw a tantrum when you change to a hedgehog food. Be patient – they will eat when they get hungry and the proper hedgehog food will be much better for them in the long run.
These Foods are Hedgehog Friendly
In general, you want to be feeding hedgehogs with food that is small enough for their small mouths to cope with – this rules out dry dog food and nuts. You can feed chopped up nuts to hedgehogs very occasionally, but you should be mindful that they have a high fat content and poor calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Foods which are suitable for hedgehogs include:
- Hedgehog food with a suitable calcium to phosphorus ratio.
- Cat biscuits – these are often small enough for hedgehogs to manage. You can even use kitten kibble if you feel the cat biscuits are still too big.
- Wet cat or dog food – this tends to be very popular with hedgehogs and is easy for them to eat. You can break it up with a fork first so that it’s even more manageable.
- Rice – soft, cooked rice is suitable for hedgehogs and goes well mixed with other foods.
- Small pieces of cooked chicken or turkey – these poultry ingredients are often included in hedgehog food mixes and provide plenty of beneficial protein for hedgehogs.
These Foods Should Not be Fed to Hedgehogs
Of course, there are many human foods that shouldn’t be fed to hedgehogs, most of which can be deduced by common sense. However, there are some foods which are commonly thought to be hedgehog safe, but should be avoided:
- Milk – contrary to popular belief, hedgehogs should not be given milk as they are actually lactose intolerant. Feeding lactose to hedgehogs can cause them to have diarrhoea. When this happens, they often become dehydrated and die.
- Bread – bread also upsets the stomach of hedgehogs and adds no nutritional value to their diet.
- Mealworms – these provide very little nutritional value and can really harm hedgehogs’ health. Mealworms have high levels of phosphate which causes hedgehogs to lose calcium. As a result, they often end up calcium deficient and develop bone disease. It’s best to just avoid them altogether.
- Sugary fruit and high-sugar foods – sugary fruit should be fed to hedgehogs only as a special treat, if at all. You must always avoid particularly sticky fruits, like raisins, as these will get stuck to the hedgehog’s teeth. The problem with sugary fruit is that it can cause tooth decay in hedgehogs. It adds very little nutritional benefit to a hedgehog’s diet.
- Large kibble – this includes dog biscuits and larger cat biscuits. Anything which is too big will be too difficult for a hedgehog to eat. It may even cause them to choke, so it should be avoided. Large dog or cat biscuits can be soaked, if that’s all you have available, making them softer and easier to eat.
Wet or Dry Food?
Dry food is usually more convenient. Wet food can freeze in winter, and may attract flies in summer.
In general, dry food is also good for cleaning hedgehogs’ teeth so you should make sure to include at least some small, dry food in your hedgehogs’ diet.
However, if your hedgehogs love wet food, and you are prepared to clean up after them (they’re often very messy eaters!), there’s no harm in using some wet food as well.
You can leave some food out all year round, including during winter hibernation periods, to make sure that if hedgehogs do need to feed, they have options available. Place food outside around sunset.
Putting fresh water out will always be invaluable. No matter whether in winter, spring, summer or autumn, being able to easily access a water source (that isn’t frozen) can really help hedgehogs.
In early spring putting out hedgehog food will help them as they come out of hibernation. As you can imagine, hedgehogs can be pretty hungry after all that time, and having food readily available can really help them as they prepare to breed.
In summer it can get extremely hot, and this can deplete the availability of food in the wild. Hedgehogs can easily become dehydrated and lack food in this time, so it’s good to put out both water and food for them.
Towards the end of summer and into autumn hedgehogs start increasing their fat reserves. This is how they prepare for the winter and their hibernation. Again, this is another extremely valuable time to have hedgehog food out.
In winter hedgehogs should be hibernating, and hopefully you will not see much of them in your garden. However, sometimes hedgehogs do wake from their hibernation and go looking for food. This is why it’s a good idea to continue putting food out in the winter – hedgehogs will know where to find it. Ideally, these hedgehogs will find food, and then return to hibernate.
If you notice hedgehogs returning to feed regularly through the winter, this could be a cause for concern. You should keep an eye on these hedgehogs – they may be sick and/or require extra care.
You should put out hedgehog food in a low-sided bowl or a dish; you want to ensure that hedgehogs can reach the food easily. Any dog bowls with sloping sides may be too high, and too challenging, to allow hedgehogs access to the food.
A mid-weight or heavy bowl/dish will be ideal – anything that’s too light could be easily flipped over, either by hedgehogs or other wildlife visiting your garden. Hedgehogs are more than capable of nudging bowls around, and they may find the vessel too challenging to eat from if it is too light and constantly moving.
Hedgehogs are extremely sensitive to smells, so if you buy a new bowl make sure to rinse it thoroughly with water – any synthetic smells will likely put them off. However, these smells should fade after the bowl has been outside a while.
Choose a sheltered area of the garden to place the food in; a place which isn’t too exposed. Hedgehogs will feel much more comfortable if there are shrubs or bushes within scurry-distance.
If you have a hedgehog house, you could place the food in the same area of the garden. This might encourage hedgehogs to explore the house, and also means food will be nearby should any hedgehogs choose to hibernate in there in winter.
Hedgehog Food FAQs
- Use a specific hedgehog food – most cats won’t touch these. Both cats and hedgehogs are fussy creatures; you might have to experiment to find a food that the hedgehogs like but the cats don’t.
- Place a saucer on top of the feeding dish. Cats seem to have trouble working out how to remove these, but hedgehogs push it away with no trouble at all.
- Buy a cat-proof feeder.
No – continue putting food out. Hedgehog hibernation patterns can differ. Some begin to hibernate as early as October, but many are still out and about at Christmas. When the really cold weather comes in January and February then most hedgehogs will go into hibernation. However, they do not hibernate continuously.
Hedgehogs may get up and forage from time to time, especially in a spell of warmer weather. When this happens, they will be desperate for some food to top them up before going back into hibernation – providing this food for them can be a lifeline. Try to make sure there is always some dried food and fresh water available if you have hedgehogs hibernating in your area.
Before encouraging hedgehogs to visit, you should make sure your garden is safe for them:
- Ensure there are no slug pellets lying around and avoid their use wherever possible.
- If you have a pond, you should provide an exit point with stones or bricks, so hedgehogs can easily climb out if they fall in.
- If you have a bonfire, don’t leave it set up for weeks. Build it immediately before lighting so hedgehogs don’t have a chance to move in. Always check for hedgehogs before lighting a bonfire or strimming an overgrown area.
You can make a home for a hedgehog by resting a piece of board against a wall to provide a shelter. Alternatively, you can invest in a hedgehog home that will keep them snug and safe from predators. Leave an area of your garden wild and overgrown to create a good foraging area for them. Leave leaf litter and dead wood here to encourage the insects that hedgehogs love to eat.
Providing a regular supplementary food supply, as well as fresh water, is a great way to attract hedgehogs to your garden.