What to Feed a Pet Hedgehog
Hedgehogs are adorable wild animals. Nowadays, they can also be domestic pets. However, many hedgehog companions ask themselves what pet hedgehogs eat.
In this AnimalWised article we're going to explain what hedgehogs eat. We'll go through their nutrition and complete food list.
Nutritional needs of hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are small mammals that require lots of energy. This is why they eat large amounts of food and why many hibernate when weather conditions make it difficult to obtain the amount of food resources they require.
These animals are considered omnivorous or insectivores as the majority of their diet consists in insects. The rest of their diet consists in fruits and vegetables. However, we must bear in mind that their diets will vary depending on their species and which part of the world they are from
When it comes to the nutrition of a hedgehog. Their diet consists of:
- Protein: should be around 22% of their diet, always less than 35%.
- Fat: should be around 5% of their diet, always less than 15%.
- Fibre: should be around 15% of their diet, always more than 2%.
You may also be interested in our article about interesting facts about hedgehogs.
What do wild hedgehogs eat?
In their natural habitat, hedgehogs come out at dusk to search for food. Some are capable of traveling enormous distances at night. They eat considerable amounts of insects of any kind, especially underground ones, such as:
- Earth worms
- Small vertebrates
They are also capable of attacking and eating snakes. They are also known to eat eggs and even baby birds if they get the chance. In addition, they can consume seeds, fruits and vegetables.
Wild hedgehogs help in pest control as they mainly eat insects. When adopting a domestic hedgehog, it's important to imitate their diet as close as possible to what they would eat in the wild. This way, we make sure they live a long and happy life.
You may also be interested in our article about why hedgehogs bite.
What do pet hedgehogs eat?
There are specific hedgehog foods at certain pet shops. They are specifically made for pet hedgehogs and the nutrition they need. However, in the case where you cannot get your hands on these types of feed, some hedgehog companions opt for cat food.
Cat food can work for pet hedgehogs since the nutritional values are similar. However, make sure that if you do choose commercial food for your pet hedgehog you must choose high quality food. Check the ingredients and nutritional composition.
On the other hand, dog food would not work for hedgehogs. In fact, dog food is dangerous for hedgehogs. Therefore, it's best to avoid any other type of commercial food. However, the best option would be to make homemade and natural food for your pet hedgehog.
Natural foods for hedgehogs
Insects are very important in a hedgehog's diet. Thankfully, these can be purchased live, dead or dehydrated in pet stores. You can give your hedgehog crickets, grasshoppers or mealworms 3-4 times a week. Make sure to never give your pet hedgehog insects from the street as they can be contaminated with pesticides or parasites.
Here is a complete list of natural foods you can feed your hedgehog:
- Insects: mealworms, grasshoppers, etc.
- Cooked meats: chicken, turkey or pork.
- Cooked fish: salmon or tuna, with no bones.
- Fruits: watermelons, papaya, pears, cantaloupe, peaches, plums, squash & pumpkin, mangos, apples, bananas, cherries, honeydew, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries.
- Vegetables: arugula, spinach, dandelion greens, asparagus, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, radish, romaine lettuce, turnips, green peppers, collard greens.
You may also be interested in our article about the best pet hedgehog names.
Forbidden foods for hedgehogs
Now that you know what to feed your pet hedgehog, you should know what you should avoid at all costs. Here is the complete list of forbidden foods for hedgehogs:
- Dairy products
- Fatty foods
- Processed or canned meat
- Raw meat
- Fatty red meat
- Nuts and seeds of any kind
- Grapes and raisins
- Citrus fruits
- Seasoned or fried meat
- Insects from bait shops or your yard
- Sugary human food
- Caffeinated products
If you've adopted a pet hedgehog or you're thinking about doing so, we encourage you to watch our video about caring for a pet hedgehog. Here, we speak about their diet and care.
What do baby hedgehogs eat?
Baby hedgehogs, also known as hoglets, are mammals and therefore drink their mother's milk as babies. If they are with their mother, she will take care of feeding them and providing all the care they need. Humans shouldn't intervene or stop this process as it's very important for their health and wellbeing.
In the case of orphaned hedgehogs that need to be cared for, they can drink milk formulated for kittens as it's very similar to the nutrition hoglets need. Hoglets will consume only milk until they are approximately six weeks of age. Then, they will begin eating the same foods as their mother, which we have mentioned above.
You may also be interested in our article about caring for a pet hedgehog.
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- Lohmann, Michael. (2009). Hedgehogs Editorial Hispano Europea.