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AIBU to feed our local hedgehog visitor?

(52 Posts)
Titsalinabumsquash Wed 29-Oct-14 17:23:09

We have a little hedgehog come into our front garden every night, I leave a saucer of water out for him (we've named him Paulo) and after reading it on our local wildlife hospitals Facebook page I also left out some chopped up hard boiled eggs.

The kids are loving waiting quietly to see if he comes every evening especially as 2 little kittens come and out and hang around him, today we went and got some hedgehog food from the garden centre.

We have put out some more water and some of the food and my neighbour was out in her garden.
She got all cats bum mouth about it and said I was encouraging local cats to run away from their homes and encouraging a pest problem with the 'disease ridden' hedgehogs.

So AIBU to feed the local wildlife?

Twitterqueen Wed 29-Oct-14 17:27:52

OFFS! Since you are feeding the hedgehog correctly and educating and entertaining your DCs at the same time, I wouldn't take the slightest bit of notice of your miserable neighbour.

If there are any hedgehog owners here I'd like some advice. I'm getting a lot of them in my garden at the moment - I guess they're getting ready to hibernate. I have a hedgehog hibernation house tucked up the side of the house. Should I be putting newspaper, leaves in it? and encouraging hedgepigs to go in it? (or one, anyway).

Currently I'm carefully carrying them over the road to a fenced off bit of spare land because the dog barks at them

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 29-Oct-14 17:31:06

I was thinking of making or getting a house for them to tuck away under the hedge. smile

I'm not sure about bedding, I think I read that they like to furnish their own nests with leaves and moss and stuff.

ArabellaTarantella Wed 29-Oct-14 17:32:07

You need a hedgehog feeding station. Get a large plastic storage chest, cut a 4" hole in one end. Put in a layer of newspaper, water and dried chicken (only) cat food, sultanas, and peanuts. Or, of course, Spike hedgehog food.

Hedgehogs do not hibernate all Winter - they come out every 3-4 weeks to find a bit of food. Your feeding station could save their lives.

Damnautocorrect Wed 29-Oct-14 17:41:38

No you are absolutely doing the right thing feeding her (it's mostly the mums out now putting their lost baby weight back on for hibernating) they need all the help they can get, 37% of hedgehogs have been lost in just 10 years, in certain areas they are totally wiped out. A hedgehog feeder is a good idea to stop others nicking it, you can just put two bricks and a heavy tile across the top.

ohmymimi Wed 29-Oct-14 17:42:09

Good for you and a lovely experience for your DCs! If your little visitor is really tiny it will need feeding up before going into hibernation. Hedgehogs have to be over a certain weight to survive over the winter months, I don't remember how heavy, but Mr Google will know. A local wildlife rescue centre will probably take an under weight hedgehog to see it safely through the cold months.

TheCraicDealer Wed 29-Oct-14 17:43:29

Marks and Spencer do a little hedgehog teepee in their home department- if they have the M&S mark of approval they are officially 'naice' wildlife and should be encouraged. Also they are v cute. Tell your neighbour that on a sliding scale of one-to-couldntgiveafuck you're at the upper limit.

SuperFlyHigh Wed 29-Oct-14 17:45:51

Hedgehogs are endangered so do all you can to help this one... there's a webpage about them with tips and things. i'd love one in our garden. Ignore your neighbour...

www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/

CruCru Wed 29-Oct-14 18:06:32

Hedgehogs are native, they should be encouraged . Try to avoid touching it though.

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 29-Oct-14 18:08:59

I don't think she's overly tiny, she's little in overall size but quite podgy and she always eats/drinks.

I don't want to pick her up to weigh her or anything.

I plan on ignoring my neighbour, she's more worried about cats but they're not actually her kittens that come and chow down with the HH.

smile

Chopstheduck Wed 29-Oct-14 18:10:52

Aw, you should def continue to feed him. Hedgehogs need all the help they can get at the moment.

DD found this little hoglet while on her paperound. He went off to the local rescue for a winter of pampering. If you see a hoglet out during daylight, it usually means they need help.

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 29-Oct-14 18:13:23

We'll make a feeding station at the weekend. smile

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 29-Oct-14 18:14:11

I've on,y seen ours when it's dark and it's quite active so hopefully that means she's healthy. smile

KingJoffreysBloodshotEye Wed 29-Oct-14 18:30:13

Awww, bring it in.

Adopt it.

You like it, your children like it, your cats like it.

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 29-Oct-14 18:31:29

They're not my cats, I have chickens and gerbils grin

I can't be doing with the fleas sadly -and DP won't let me wink

CrashDiveOnMingoCity Wed 29-Oct-14 18:34:34

I'm a bit hmm about hedgehogs, especially as they have fleas.

iwishiwasacat Wed 29-Oct-14 18:35:35

YANBU! Keep feeding them! Hedgehogs are actually endangered in the UK, they need all the help they can get. They are also beneficial to your garden.

www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/leaflets/L4-Helping-Hedgehogs.pdf

On that note, anyone having bonfires this year, please check for hoggies or, even better, move your bonfire before lighting!

iwishiwasacat Wed 29-Oct-14 18:37:18

Hedgehog fleas are host specific so they can jump to another animal but can't infest them!

WellnowImFucked Wed 29-Oct-14 18:45:10

I was just about to say the above, re: fleas

We had a hedggie lodger for about 4-5 years, not seen her this yearsad

You can tell we're not just missing her by the amount of slugs. . .

If s/he does stick around, be warn that they make a hell of a racket when they're having sexy time!

CrashDiveOnMingoCity Wed 29-Oct-14 18:45:36

I still don't want jumping fleas on my pets! <shudders>

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 29-Oct-14 18:54:25

Its really easy to build a hedgehog home. You can make it as simple as a lean to against a wall with lots of insulation around it. I stuffed loads of hay into ours and insulated it with lots of logs and twigs and leaves. We have a hedgehog in ours smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 29-Oct-14 19:03:20

We had one in our guinea-pigs outdoor house (they had left their Summer Abode and were cheekily sub-letting to the Hedgehog)

I left catfood and water for him/her and some straw.

Our old cat got a tick years ago (I blame the hedgehogs that used to patrol round)

DanyStormborn Wed 29-Oct-14 19:03:52

Hi I work in a wildlife hospital.

It is very helpful that you are feeding hedgehogs in your garden, their numbers are in decline and they need help. What you are feeding it is fine. We feed them good quality wet dog or cat food. They prefer the meat flavours rather than the fish flavours. We also feed dried cat food. As people up thread have suggested you can set up a "feeding station" to prevent cats or foxes getting to the food first. You could fill your hedgehog house with straw to make it cosy. It can be lined with newspaper to make it easier to clean in the spring.

My only worry is the hedgehog's size. Hedgehogs often have two litters a year and sometimes the babies from the later litter don't have enough time to grow before winter. A hedgehog must be at least 600 grams by late Autumn to survive hibernation. You can weigh them on a set of kitchen scales. Don't worry about touching them, you can use garden gloves or a towel to avoid being hurt by the spikes. If you do touch it directly just wash your hands afterwards - no worries. Hedgehog fleas are host specific so won't transfer to your pets and in many years they've never got on me or bit me. If after weighing you are concerned about the weight the British Hedgehog Preservation Society has a list of hedgehog rescues by location with phone numbers so you could call a local one for advice.

Not that I think you would but nobody should do as KingJoffreysBloodshotEye said and "bring it in and adopt it". It is a wild animal and needs to stay in the wild. If it is too small it will need to be cared for inside over the winter by a hedgehog rescue or by you with instructions from them (how to prevent it becoming tame for example) but ultimately it would be released in the Spring.

Titsalinabumsquash Wed 29-Oct-14 19:12:02

I wouldn't adopt it, my Mum was the go to wildlife lady when I was growing up and she was always very stern with us about getting attached and trying to adopt and animals.
I will weigh it though next time I see it and follow advice accordingly.
We have a fab local wildlife hospital that we visit with food regularly, we recently had a fallen baby sparrow that they took in after I rescued it from a plant pot. smile

RoseyHope Wed 29-Oct-14 19:21:38

We've got quite a few poorly hogs in our hospital atm that are off their food. They've been having custard lately to try and get them to eat something! Lucky buggers.

Hedgehogs are in decline all over the country and it's great that your area is obviously suitable for them, so please do encourage it!

For a DIY and cheap hedgehog house, get one of those big clear plastic bin/drawers that you stack up. Cut a hole in the side and put it upside down under a bush or something similar. If you put a brick in front of the hole but about 10-15cm in front of it, it will stop cats lying down and sticking their paws in to get the food.

You don't have to buy hog-specific food either. Whiskas supermeat and kitten biscuits will do nicely!

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