Baby hoglet being cared for by Hedgehog Welfare
A recent newsletter from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society reminds everyone about the dangers of feeding dried mealworms to hedgehogs.
The article is as follows:
Several hedgehog rehabilitation centres have alerted us to what may be a potential problem caused by hedgehogs eating too many dried mealworms. Nutritionally, mealworms aren't that good for hedgehogs, and they can become "addicted" to them meaning they fill up on a food that doesn't offer much goodness. The calcium/phosphorus ratios (Ca:P) is another cause for concern. For every milligram of phosphorus a hedgehog consumes, it must consume another milligram of calcium otherwise the calcium gets taken from the calcium stores in the body (teeth and bones) to balance the phosphorus out. Mealworms have a high amount of Phosphorus in them meaning that if the hedgehog eats too many it causes calcium to be stripped from the body. Rehabilitators think this may cause bone problems in hedgehogs.
Mealworms (and very possibly other single ingredient foods like sunflower hearts and nuts) may cause problems when eaten in large quantities so should only ever be offered in moderation as a special treat. To be on the safe side, it's probably better to offer other foods instead, such as a good quality hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food and cat or kitten biscuits (chicken, rabbit and turkey being easiest for them to digest) and of course only ever water to drink.
Just to let everyone know that the hedgehogs are starting to think about hibernation, the ones we have in cages waiting to get to their release weight are starting to go down for an odd night and do not eat then they are eating the next night, this is usual and reflects what happens in the wild. (Hibernation weight is 450g although that was set when winters were much harder and longer, by the by our release weight is slightly heavier than hibernation weight because they have to work harder to find food in the wild although we always do provide a pack up to help them over the first week and we also provide a nest box but sometimes they prefer to make their own nest).
We have had a notice from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society regarding the feeding of Meal Worms to hedgehogs in care, they state dried mealworms are not recommended for long-term feeding because hedgehogs become addicted to them and will refuse any other food and they have very little nutritional value and can actually strip calcium from the hedgehog due to the calcium/phosphorous ratio in them. So here at Hedgehog Welfare we have never recommended feeding hedgehogs mealworms as we felt it was not correct towards a balanced diet, they need a good protein diet and we recommend either Spikes dried biscuits or the semi moist or a good quality kitten biscuit.
I would also like to thank the Newark Advertiser for the piece they did on hedgehogs, it resulted in over 100 calls (a bit manic for us) but a lot of good information was given out in the article and we really appreciate it.
Following a talk at the Newark Town and District Club on 35 Barnbygate, Newark NG24 1PX, a short time ago, they have informed me that they are having a Let's Do Christmas and some of the proceeds from that they will send to Hedgehog Welfare. This is to support the beautiful old historical building in Newark Town Centre and help Hedgehog Welfare at the same time.
Please continue to feed the hedgehogs in the garden they do so need it at this time of the year. Remember the plant pot saucer of water and to check it is clean and not frozen before you retire to your bed.
Thank you for caring about Hedgehogs
Hedgehog Welfare PO Box 8686 Grantham, NG31 0AG - 07940 714830
Please always call before you bring a hedgehog and you should never leave a hedgehog without seeing someone in person.
We could be on holiday or away for the weekend.
Hedgehogs are decreasing in numbers please help them by:
1. If you find an injured hedgehog, telephone for assistance sooner rather than later
2. If you disturb a hedgehog nest, pick up the nest wearing gloves, including Mum (do not let her run away) and the hoglets (baby hedgehogs), placing everything in a high sided box and obtain help ASAP. Do not keep opening box to check as the mother may kill her young.
3. Always leave out clean water at ground level
4. Feed in the early evening with a good quality cat or hedgehog biscuits
5. Never feed bread and milk or use slug pellets as these can kill hedgehogs
6. Call for assistance if you find an underweight (450g) hedgehog in the late autumn
7. Pick up any postman rubber bands as they can cause terrible injuries
Community Award for Hedgehog Welfare
Asda in Grantham have made a Community Award of £200 to Hedgehog Welfare. Thank you ASDA for nominating us, thank you to all who voted for us and thank you to everyone concerned. £200.00 is a very large amount to Hedgehog Welfare and it will really help with the vets’ bills.
We have had an extremely busy summer with lots of hedgehogs coming in, mainly hungry and dehydrated due to two long dry spells, one in the spring and one in early summer. Long periods of dry weather have a terrible effect on hedgehogs. They become weak from lack of food and water and, if they survive, they can become overburdened with parasites which can really pull them down and jeopardise their chances of survival.
Wildlife in Lincolnshire suffered another blow with the closure of Weirfield Wildlife Hospital in Lincoln. Alison Townsend’s large and well run hospital closed its doors to patients at the end of 2016 It is particularly sad to see it close when all other wildlife hospitals in the area have experienced a huge increase in the number of casualties received.
September is always a very busy month for us at Hedgehog Welfare. Not only do we still have the odd bottle feeding hoglets in (we received two on Monday 28-08-2017 who were about 5-6 days old) but we start to get the hedgehogs that are very small and would not make the winter without help. Sometimes they only need a little help in the garden but a lot need to come in and then we can get them turned around and out again so they can hibernate in the wild. Hedgehogs need to be 450g to get through winter but we will ensure they are 500-550g before they are released. All our hedgehogs are returned to the people who brought them in so they can be released in their familiar environment. They are provided with their own release box so they have somewhere warm and dry to sleep for a few nights. Often, though, they do not stay in the box but they do take all the nesting material away to make their own nest somewhere else! We also provided a pack of food, similar to what we have been giving the hedgehogs while we have been looking after them, which will last them for a couple of weeks. Although this is expensive for us to do, we hope it encourages people who have found a hedgehog and are releasing it back into their garden to continue to buy food and feed them even after the free pack has finished.
The other reason September will be very busy this year is that we have two very large fund raising events for Hedgehog Welfare.
On the 16th September we have been lucky enough to get two tables at Collingham Show, near Newark. We shall be in the Craft Tent and will have our usual sales and information tables together with a range of children’s activities. I will send more details of this event later.
On the 24th September, the last Sunday in September, we have Hedgehog Welfare’s Annual Fund Raiser in Foston. We will have our usual afternoon teas with the wonderful Foston Brownie waitresses serving homemade cakes and scones. Sally will be there with her lovely plant and craft stall which donates every penny it makes to Hedgehog Welfare. We are so grateful to Sally, Michael and Hilary for all the work they put into this lovely stall. We will also have our own sales table and a raffle with lots of prizes. Jack Perks, the outstanding wildlife photographer, has promised to come if he possibly can and bring his wildlife photos, cards and calendars. All hedgehogs on his photos are, of course, ex-patients of Hedgehog Welfare. We will have lots of information and all the trustees and carers of Hedgehog Welfare will be around specially to help you with any questions you may have or advice you may need about your garden hedgehogs. This is our main fund-raising event of the year, which ensures that the vets get paid and the hedgehogs get well fed all through the winter so please come and support the hedgehogs and us. We shall be in Foston Village Hall, NG32 2LG on Sunday 24 September. Doors at 14.00 and the raffle will be draw at 16.00. Again, we will send you details of this event later.
Hedgehogs are still in trouble. Please help them out with a few scattered cat or kitten biscuits and a plant pot saucer of water. Just doing that will make all the difference and it will give you great pleasure to sit and watch them every night.
Hope to see you all at one or both of the September events.
Founder of Hedgehog Welfare