Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Very Hungry Hedgehog

So what do hedgehogs like to eat?  Since I first became aware a couple of weeks ago that the hedgehog wasn't hibernating she has been back every night, despite the freezing weather.  She was originally eating apples put out for the blackbirds but was immediately more interested in the food I put out for her.  Offered a choice of peanuts, sultanas, cat biscuits and mealworms she would take at least half the dishful, eating most of the peanuts and some sultanas and mealworms.  She didn't think much of the cat biscuits.

The clock in the camera showed that she first arrived between 8 and 9 pm and usually returned at around 2 in the morning. 

She also drinks a surprising amount of water.

The left over peanuts etc. also attracted other visitors.

More recently I put out some dog food and that is what this hedgehog likes best.  She eats a whole dishful every night and even tips up the dish to lick it clean.

I started by giving her half a pack, 75g, thinking it would be plenty, but I noticed on the video that she kept returning to the empty dish looking for more.

So I put out a bigger dish with a whole pack of 150g and she easily eats it all in one go - in less than an hour.  If she weighs say, 800g, she is eating around 20% of her body weight in one sitting.  That's over 1kg a week.  We'll be OK until the fox realises what we're up to.

Here is another short video.  I think the videos probably won't play on iPads (and perhaps iPhones) but should be OK on everything else.  It is difficult to believe that much food would fit inside the hedgehog.



  1. Trying again! Very cute hedgehog, will she lay down enough fat to go contentedly into hibernation - or is it too late In the season?

  2. My guess is that she'll keep coming back while there is food. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few days of cold weather. I hope she hurries back to a warm cosy hibernaculum after eating, even if she doesn't hibernate. The good thing is that she looks healthy and of reasonable size in the videos.

  3. Are the videos shot with an infra-red source on the camera, or just image intensification?

  4. The videos are taken with a Bushnell NatureView Cam HD Max and are infrared. It is fixed focus and uses screw-on close focus lenses. These were taken with the 460mm lens so much closer or farther away than that will be less sharp. The Bushnell seems to work better with video than with still images. The stills here are from a Wingscapes BirdCam 2.0 which uses flash.

  5. Perhaps "just" image intensification is a bit unfair! Probably more complex.