Hedgehogs eat a whole host of different insects, bugs and garden pests. But what about slugs? Do hedgehogs eat slugs or will they avoid them?
Among many other pests, hedgehogs eat slugs if any other food is unavailable.
Hedgehogs will resort to consuming slugs if there is a lack of insects that they enjoy. Most hedgehogs consume slugs, but other factors also come into play, like their personality, changing seasons, and availability of other foods.
More so, hedgehogs have small mouths, and they will consume smaller slugs rather than bigger ones. Hence, hedgehogs are a pest control for gardeners and will keep the slug population from growing.
Are Slugs Bad for Hedgehogs?
Hedgehogs are likely to choose other foods over slugs if they are available. There are some dangers to hedgehogs for consuming slugs. These slimy pests are carriers of parasites that can be harmful to hedgehogs.
Slugs carry lungworm, which is a dangerous parasite and the majority of the wild hedgehogs fall prey to it. Lungworms can cause diseases like pneumonia in hedgehogs, proving to be fatal for them.
In addition, there are other dangers also associated with slugs. Using slug pellets is a common way to kill slugs. However, slug pellets are toxic to hedgehogs and can kill them. When slugs consume slug pellets, they ingest metaldehyde, a dangerous toxin.
Hence, when a hedgehog consumes the slug, it will also ingest the toxin and, therefore, be poisoned.
There have been cases where metaldehyde was found in the majority of dead hedgehogs. Also, even if the toxin does not kill hedgehogs, it is known to affect their reproductive abilities adversely. Hence, the hedgehog population is affected one way or another.
Will a Hedgehog Eat Slug Pellets?
Slug pellets are an effective way to get rid of slugs, but the downside is harming hedgehogs. By using slug pellets, one not only affects the health of hedgehogs but also does not take advantage of the benefits that come with having hedgehogs.
These small mammals help keep pests under control, and using slug pellets adversely affects their population.
Hedgehogs forage through the night searching for food, and it is inevitable for them to encounter slug pellets. While a hedgehog will not eat all the slug pellets in one sitting, it eats enough to accumulate poison in its body that leads to death.
Therefore, it is important to think about the hedgehog population to keep the ecosystem balance in check. When hedgehogs die in huge numbers, they are leaving behind all the insects they prey on. Hence, hedgehog deaths can lead to bug infestations and a bigger problem for the planet.
Hence, if you wish to invite hedgehogs to your garden, it is important to refrain from using slug pellets.
What Are Some Hedgehog-Safe Ways to Get Rid of Slugs?
As aforementioned, most slug pellets available commercially come with metaldehyde. This toxic chemical kills slugs and any animals that come into contact with it, including hedgehogs. Therefore, it is essential to use safer methods to get rid of slugs from your garden.
Fortunately, there are various ways you can keep your garden slug-free while protecting hedgehogs at the same time.
Sprinkle Coffee Grounds
A more preventative method for a slug-free garden is to use coffee grounds. Using coffee grounds is an old trick in the book which many gardeners adopt. You can save your plants by sprinkling coffee grounds at the base.
Something about the strong coffee scent keeps the slugs away.
Try Egg Shells
Another way to keep away slugs is to use eggshells. Often, we do not think twice before throwing away eggshells, but they are quite effective. In addition to being a natural method, using eggshells is also cheap and will not be too heavy on your pocket.
You can use eggshells to make a barrier around your plants so the slugs do not get through.
Use Copper Tape
Speaking of barriers, you can also create a barrier for slugs using copper tape. The tape forms a barrier, and the slug’s slime reacts with the copper and gives them an electric shock. In addition to using copper tape, you can also purchase copper mats to place close to your plants.
Grow Repellent Plants
A smart way to keep slugs away is to grow plants which they hate. This method is great because you do not have to do anything additional per se but grow more plants. Luckily for you, there are a few plants that slugs do not like.
Some of these plants include garlic and chamomile. You can place your other plants with these to keep them safe from slugs.
Test Organic Slug Pellets
While there are harmful slug pellets, you can also get organic slug pellets. The regular slug pellets contain metaldehyde. However, organic ones include iron phosphate. These slug pellets eventually kill slugs as opposed to the chemical ones.
Also, the organic slug pellets are safe to use around other animals, pets, and children. Most organic slug pellets will also act as fertilizers when they dissolve, providing your garden with loads of nourishment.
A hedgehog-safe garden is important, and these are some of the ways you can get rid of slugs and protect hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs are famous for following a varied diet, and among many other things, they also consume slugs. However, if other insects are available, hedgehogs will not consume slugs. Unfortunately, consuming slugs can be bad for hedgehogs as they are carriers of the dangerous parasite.
These slugs come with the lungworm parasite that is fatal to hedgehogs. Consuming poisoned slugs can also kill hedgehogs.
In addition, hedgehogs also eat slug pellets directly, which kills them. Even if a hedgehog does not die, it can walk wobbly or affect its reproductive ability. It is important to use hedgehog-friendly ways to get rid of slugs to maintain the ecosystem balance.