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Helping hedgehogs
21st February 2018

By Karen Pickwick

New business Brambles Pet and Wildlife says that, with hedgehogs on the endangered list, they need all the help they can get – but it is vital that they are given the correct food. 

 The team behind the company has been involved in developing products for animal welfare since 1990. David has many years experience in the trade and his wife has a background in biological sciences.
 
“We have combined our experience and expertise to formulate foods that are nutritionally beneficial to wild animals and ensure that they do not contain any added sugar, colours, or artificial flavours,” he said.
 
“We also do not use ingredients that are commonly used in other commercial foods, such as mealworms, that are potentially dangerous to hedgehogs in particular. All our foods are sourced and made in Great Britain.”
 
David said that many people were rising to the challenge of helping hedgehogs survive, but warned: “It is very important to feed them nutritionally-beneficial food as many rescue centres are reporting hogs with dental disease caused by foods containing sugar. Sugar can also lead to obesity and associated cardiovascular issues and too much fat in food can lead to fatty liver disease that can quickly become fatal to the animal.
 
DISEASE
 
“Also, increasingly hedgehogs are being seen with metabolic bone disease, in which bones and teeth are soft, deformed and easily fractured. The cause of this disease is calcium-to-phosphorus ratio imbalance in the blood due to food containing too much phosphorous. To redress this blood imbalance calcium leaches out of the bones and teeth resulting in very painful bone and dental abnormalities.”
 
Brambles does not recommend giving hedgehogs any foods containing high levels of phosphorous such as mealworms, peanuts and sunflower hearts.
 
“It’s worth noting that hedgehogs are particularly fond of mealworms and will ‘cherry pick’ them if mixed in with other foods leaving the more nutritious parts of the blend uneaten,” David said. “The same, to a slightly lesser degree can be said of dried fruit, peanuts and sunflower hearts. Therefore, these foods should not be given in any circumstance as there’s no way of knowing how much the hedgehogs are eating and it stops them eating other nutritionally beneficial foods.
 
“In addition hedgehogs lack the enzyme lactase and so cannot digest lactose found in milk. If given milk they can get digestive problems and diarrhoea.”
 
PASSIONATE
 
David concluded: “At Brambles Pet and Wildlife we are passionate about wildlife. Our vast experience enables us to produce a range of quality foods that keep wild animals in tip-top condition in today’s challenging times. Many wildlife centres throughout the UK are using our hedgehog foods and swan and duck food, and we are working with them to promote the message about good hedgehog nutrition. We have also advised the RSPB on hedgehog food and they now stock all of Brambles hedgehog foods.” The hedgehog food is also being used by the Scottish SPCA.
 
Brambles Crunchy Hedgehog Food and Brambles Meaty Hedgehog Food are complementary foods specially formulated to give the right balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals for wild hedgehogs and, due to their crunchy texture, are also great for dental health, David said. The foods are also suitable for badgers and foxes. 
 
Brambles Swan & Duck Food is a complementary food formulated to give the right balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals for swans and ducks. It is also suitable for geese, moorhens and coots and as it floats people can easily see when it is time to stop feeding the birds. It is available in 1.75 Kg and 12.55 Kg sizes.