Want to feed hedgehogs but not your neighbourhood cats? A hedgehog feeding station may well be the answer. It also helps to keep the food and the hedgehog dry when it is raining. Hedgehogs aren’t keen on rain!
There are lots of options for feeding stations. You can buy a ready made one – I use a wooden hedgehog house or you can also build your own very cheaply from a plastic box. Please remember that a feeding station should only be used for food – don’t mix dinner with bed and breakfast. Use a separate hedgehog box to provide a house.
You will need:
- A plastic storage box with a lid. A minimum of 12″ wide by 18″ (but can be bigger)
- A stanley knife or strong scissors to cut the hole
- Measuring tape to measure the size of the hole
- Strong tape to cover the cut edges of the hole
- A brick
- Small but heavy ceramic bowls for food
Building the box
- Decide whether you want to have the box with the lid on or whether you want to turn the box upside down with the lid underneath.
- Carefully cut out a hole around 4.5″ square.
- Tape up the edges of the hole – they may be jagged
- Line the box with newspaper
- Put the food at the far end of the box
- Place a brick on top to help prevent the lid being taken off by a fox/cat
Check the box daily and change the newspaper when it gets dirty. Wash the food bowls regularly to keep them clean. Hygiene is very important to prevent spreading bacteria, as it is with all wildlife and bird feeding stations.
You can also decrease the risk of cats getting into the feeding station by placing the entrance up against a fence or wall with only a hedgehog sized gap behind it. Try building a tunnel on the outside of a wooden hedgehog box and build a baffle wall on the inside or create an internal brick wall in a plastic box. It may also be worth having a go adding a plastic tunnel using something like this. Nothing will stop the most persistent cats but please do let me know if you have found any other ways to keep cats out…
If you want to check that your visitor is, in fact, a hedgehog, the best way is to invest in a night camera. You can place a non-toxic ink pad at the entrance followed by a white paper lining. You should then be able to spot hedgehog footprints made by the ink….
If you haven’t spotted a hedgehog before but want to know if they are in your area, you can also check out the Big Hedgehog Map.
Another tell-tale sign of a hedgehog visiting your feeding station is what is left behind. A hedgehog will leave some crumbs like in the picture above, whereas a cat will wipe the bowl clean. A hedgehog may also leave you a calling card in the bowl or nearby. For this reason it is also vital to keep your feeding station clean. I change the newspaper lining daily – to avoid any parasites or bacteria passing between hedgehogs. I also move the feeding stations around regularly to new locations. I site the feeding stations in open areas where I can monitor them with my night cameras and easily access them to top up the food and water. I keep them separate from hibernation boses.
For suggestions of what food to put in your feeding station please read my blog.
I also make silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife to raise funds for my hedgehog rescue work. Please check out my online jewellery shop here.