What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild – Components of hedgehog diets from three population studies in the United Kingdom and Europe. The three pie charts show the percentages of dietary energy, and the bar graphs show the percentages of each species/group in the stomachs of 137 porcupines. Pie charts are constructed from data calculated and tabulated by Nigel Reeve in his 1994 book Hedgehogs. Data sources from: Yalden, 1976 (East of England); Grosshans, 1983 (NW Germany); and Lies, 1984 (Middlesex). The histogram was compiled from the Yalden (1976) data set. Click to enlarge. – Credits: Mark Baldwin

) appears to make up the largest part of the diet by volume, accounting for between 80% and 90% according to several dietary studies, although the first two groups contribute little to the overall energy balance. IN THE

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild

, Pat Morris explains how a study of the stomach contents of 137 hedgehogs found beetles in 75% of them and ears in more than half. In the field notes for

My Hedgehog Is Not Eating

In 1976 Colin Hawes presented his detailed analysis of the litters of three porcupines collected in a park in Doncaster between July and September. Based on the number of pincers found, Howes calculated that one litter contained the remains of 32 tabs (

Les Stoker noted that even though it was eating the carcass, the porcupine still stopped to catch the insect.

Listed by Reeve. Dung beetles and chicks (scarabids) are also eaten with varying frequency, and chicks (Melolontha) are collected in large numbers. In his 1965 book

) without visible side effects. Beetles (Curculionoidea) have been recorded in the gut, as have ladybugs (Adalia), although some authors suggest that hedgehogs usually avoid the latter.

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Worms are common prey for porcupines, although pulling them out of their burrows without damaging them is a learned skill. – Credits: Arnold Cook.

Caterpillars are frequently eaten and, to a lesser extent, by butterflies, moths and skipjacks (collectively Lepidoptera), accounting for 26% of the gut content in some specimens. Earthworms are important prey, although, as mentioned earlier, their frequency varies seasonally and can only be caught in significant numbers when weather conditions are wet enough for the worms to come to the surface. During his Ph.D. Vroot’s research found that earthworms make up about 35% of his hedgehog’s total energy intake, and hair (the hair that covers earthworms’ bodies that helps them move) is recycled from 95% of the accumulated waste.

Mussels appear on menus in varying degrees and are usually picked from September when other prey is in short supply. Snails and slugs, and possibly their eggs, are mostly harvested molluscs, although in the 1972 edition

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild

), still in its shell, in the coast at Llyn Coron in Anglesey last June. Some people are able to eat large quantities of shellfish, and there are reports of porcupines rolling large snails on the ground, possibly to remove mucus (see video below), before eating them piece by piece. This role appears to be innate and occurs in many young sea urchins that feed on snails. Where snails are caught, they are also usually small individuals whose shells are easily broken by the relatively weak jaws of a porcupine (for example, in this video a young hedgehog eats a snail), although I have footage of a large saw snail pull a porcupine out of the sink. Analysis of the stomachs of 108 hedgehogs by Derek Yalden showed that only small snails were collected in any quantity (see Quality Control), and it should be remembered that shellfish can carry the lungworm parasite which is potentially fatal to hedgehogs.

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Rough wood louse (Porcellio scaber). Woodlice appear to be a rare component of the hedgehog’s diet, possibly due to the unpleasant secretions of their uropod glands. – Credits: Mark Baldwin

, which had underdeveloped odor-producing lateral plate glands that were readily accepted during studies of Dimelow’s food preferences. Interestingly, if the unpleasant secretions secreted by the lateral plates and glands of the uropod prevent the hedgehogs from eating woodlice, they may be more attracted to young woodlice. In 1956, in an article for

, H. Gorvett of the University of Bristol suggests that the glands of young woodlice may be inactive. Grasshoppers (Orthoptera) and small “insects” such as aphids are rarely eaten, although Nigel Reeve cites one observation of flea eggs in faeces.

Bees and wasps (collectively Hymenoptera) are sometimes abducted, and although some hive-infesting hedgehogs attack live bees, most are likely to be abducted dying or dead. Sometimes they eat flies, especially their larvae and pupae. Centipedes are rarely caught, probably because they move quickly and bite, while centipedes are a common food component, possibly because of their subchitinic fat layer. Small spiders, thrips (Thysanoptera), mites and hookworms appear on the hedgehog’s menu, but are rare and it is speculated that they, especially the last two groups, may have entered it by accident. Analysis of the stomachs of 615 sea urchins in New Zealand’s upper Waitaki Basin showed that winged beetles were the most common prey, followed by butterflies, moths and earwigs – spiders and worms less frequently, accounting for 8% and 3% respectively .

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Mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been recorded in the porcupine diet, although it is unclear how much of this comes from prey it actively hunts and how much is consumed as carrion. Granted, hedgehogs are opportunistic eaters and won’t turn down a “free lunch” if the situation arises. A perfect example of this is Peter Al-Sheikha’s photo that appeared on page 209 of the 2009 magazine.

, which shows a young hedgehog eating the carcass of a gray squirrel killed by a cat in a park in Thetford. In 2017 Julie Stribli found a hedgehog eating a dead rat in Rotherham. I’ve also seen unconfirmed social media reports of a porcupine eating a dead rat left on the porch by a house cat and one being picked up and “escaped” with a large woodpecker killed by a sparrow and was abandoned. A homeowner shared camera video of a pig eating a very young chick that he found dead in his garden in May 2021.

We know that porcupines occasionally pounce on live vertebrate prey, although it is unclear how often this happens. There have been several reports of predatory behavior in these birds, to which we will return shortly. IN THE

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild

, Nigel Reeve recounts an apparition of Robert Brockie watching a porcupine kill and eat a green and gold bell frog (

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) in New Zealand. In England, Barry Hornsey saw a porcupine dragging a path down his London street in August 2017, although a photo Barry posted to UK community Facebook group The Bees Knees showed the path appeared to be through ‘ a car was cut up. I am also aware of unconfirmed reports from Northamptonshire describing a pig “warming up on a frog” in someone’s garden. Similarly, in 2012 a friend of mine in Glasgow observed a hedgehog apparently preying on house mice in his garden (see Quality Control).

Stomach analysis by Derek Yalden of the University of Manchester, published in 1976, found the remains of a mouse, rat (presumably a vole,

), moles, rats and rabbits; their comparative scarcity of food suggests that they may have been taken as bait. In his 1958 book,

By pushing his nails in, he can even get between the bars of the chicken coop, but after eating most of the chickens, he may be too fat to get out, and then becomes the victim of an angry poultry farmer.

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Stock and Burton went on to say that hedgehogs are also notorious for catching rabbits, but note that they are not fast enough to take one down unless they are sick or injured. In his book

, published in 1903, Francis Buckland described a case where a gamekeeper found a hedgehog with a young rabbit (called a hare) after detecting a “terrible squeak”. Buckland wrote:

He turned through the long grass and brambles that overhung the ditch and found a rabbit the size of a mouse in the mouth of a porcupine, struggling to death.

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild

If the hedgehog can get into a rat colony, it will do valuable work in eradicating this pest. The great nature lover Lord Lilford told how a hedgehog destroyed a whole colony of mice in the garden.

Ways To Make Your Garden Hedgehog Friendly

, Pat Morris suggests that most reports of porcupines preying on mammals and birds are of questionable credibility and should be treated with caution, many of which likely reflect a hedgehog’s habit of taking prey when available. However, we cannot ignore the fact that there is increasing evidence that hedgehogs are fearless against birds and mammals, and many hedgehogs have told me how aggressive and aggressive some hedgehogs can be. If you need proof of porcupine bravery, then a video of a porcupine repeatedly biting a brown bear at the zoo should be it.

Finally, regarding mammals, there are reports of cannibalism among porcupines. In a letter to an early issue of the magazine

In my possession one of them was killed and eaten; and in the second case the individuals killed and eaten were two-thirds grown and reached the size of one

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