“If you build, it they will come” – not originally referring to hedgehogs, but I was hoping it would still hold true. Following my previous post about attempts to feed hedgehogs mainly ending with success at feeding neighbouring cats, I got some very helpful suggestions via Twitter. Probably the most helpful was from Paula who suggested I try out the instructions for building your own feeding station on Little Silver Hedgehog’s excellent blog (https://littlesilverhedgehog.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/build-a-hedgehog-feeding-station/)
The idea behind the feeding station is simple enough – provide a safe place for the hedgehog to eat with an entrance hole too small for the cats to get in. I’m not the most DIY-minded person, but thought I could just about manage this! So one plastic box, a pair of scissors, some sticky tape and a brick later, this was the result!
It may not be a build of great architectural beauty, but I was hoping the hedgehogs wouldn’t be too bothered by the aesthetics (or the choice of reading material I’d lined the bottom with). The catfood went at one end and the trail cam was set up and I just had to wait for morning to see if it worked.
In the morning I was really chuffed to find that the food had all been eaten – of course the question was – Who or What ate it? Trail cam footage first showed the usual cunning cat peering at the box and looking mildly annoyed that it couldn’t get to the food. Then at about 12:40 am the hedgehog appeared to view my handiwork for the first time.
He or she was cautious at first, peering in and eating some food near the entrance.
Then followed a few more nervous entries into the box until by 3am our hedgehog was striding in and going straight for the food. Clearly his or her confidence was such that by the morning all the food had gone.
I am so pleased with this – it has way exceeded my expectations, especially for a first night trial. I’ve stocked up on catfood and hopefully this success will continue throughout the summer. The only slightly annoying thing is that my trail cam will only record 15 seconds at a time when in night-time mode, but I can live with that.
I can’t thank Little Silver Hedgehog enough for her excellent advice (do check out her blog for all things hedgehog related https://littlesilverhedgehog.wordpress.com/) and Paula on Twitter for pointing me in the right direction in the first place. Social media working at its best!
2021 update – Please note that since I wrote this blog, concern has been raised about feeding hedgehogs with mealworms. It is no longer considered advisable to feed hedgehogs with mealworms. The concern is that hedgehogs that eat a lot of mealworms could develop a condition called Metabolic Bone Disease. So please just stick to either meaty cat or dog food, dry cat food or a good quality (i.e. high protein content) hedgehog food.