Do you know this? During a relaxing walk in the woods or in your garden at home you come across a seemingly helpless little hedgehog and you want to give first aid immediately? However, the focus here is on the word “seemingly”, because the little spiky balls should not be touched under any circumstances. We explain why in the following article.
Hedgehogs go in search of food in autumn
For hedgehogs, autumn is a time to “forage for food”. Because until the temperatures are permanently around freezing point and the animals retire for hibernation, they have to eat the necessary fat reserves.
The prickly garden dwellers are often seen roaming around in search of food. So now is a good time to help the popular animals in the home garden and provide them with sufficient shelter and food. This way, they do not have to make the dangerous trek across the roads in the first place.
Things to know about protecting hedgehogs
The basic rule is:
If you find a hedgehog, you should never touch it!
“In most cases, these seemingly wandering animals are not in distress, but are intensively foraging for food in order to gain enough winter fat in time,” says LBV expert Anne Schneider.
The table in nature is richly laid so that young hedgehogs can easily eat the necessary layer of fat. “Only obviously injured or sick animals need immediate help from a vet,” explains the biologist.
Nevertheless, nature lovers can help the cute and useful garden inhabitants by setting up a drinking trough and a feeding station to help the hedgehogs find food. This prevents underweight hedgehogs from having to be taken into human care in winter.
Suitable food for hedgehogs
Hedgehogs often come regularly in the evening to known feeding places. However, hedgehog lovers who want to feed in the garden also need to be careful at the feeding dish. A mixture of cat food, dry hedgehog food and unseasoned scrambled eggs is suitable. “Under no circumstances should leftovers or fruit be fed, and hedgehogs absolutely cannot tolerate milk either,” warns Anne Schneider.
To avoid diseases, food leftovers must also be removed daily and the water renewed. The food should also be protected from fellow eaters or rain at all times.
How to make your garden hedgehog-friendly
The best help for hedgehogs is a garden designed close to nature, because there they will find enough bugs, earthworms, snails and spiders. “Even an overgrown corner can be enough to create a small hedgehog habitat. Especially piles of leaves, brushwood and deadwood offer him welcome shelter,”
But artificial hiding places are also readily accepted at any time, and not only for hibernation. The so-called hedgehog castles can be built without much effort or are available in various designs from specialist shops.
By the way: Only when the ground temperature is around freezing point for a long time do the hedgehogs retreat completely. Only then can we take in hedgehogs that are still wandering around and are usually ill or underweight. In such a case, hedgehog lovers should visit a vet, an animal shelter or a hedgehog sanctuary.