Hedgehogs are beloved pets with loyal fan bases around the world, but what do these spiky creatures eat? While some might assume that hedgehogs have a specific diet of nuts and berries, their dietary needs can be more complex.
In this article, we’ll look at the basics of feeding hedgehogs in captivity as well as what wild hedgehogs forage for in their natural environment. We’ll also touch on some potential health problems associated with improper diets. Let’s dive into the world of hedgehog nutrition!
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
In captivity, hedgehogs should be fed a diet high in protein and low in fat. This can include commercial dry food specifically formulated for hedgehogs or a combination of fresh fruits, vegetables, cooked lean meats, insects and eggs. A balanced diet should provide at least 30% of its calories from proteins sources such as mealworms, crickets, chicken hearts and beef liver.
It’s also important to supplement the diet with calcium-rich foods like yogurt drops or crushed eggshells to prevent metabolic bone disease. In addition, small amounts of wet cat food can be offered as an occasional treat.
Wild Foraging Diet
When they are living in the wild, hedgehogs typically feast on bugs like beetles and caterpillars. They may also consume frogs, lizards and snakes if they come across them. Occasionally they will snack on plant material like mushrooms but their primary source of nutrition is animal protein.
- Fruits: Strawberries, blueberries, apples (in moderation)
- Vegetables: Carrots, spinach leaves, dark leafy greens
- Meats & Insects: Mealworms, wax worms, crickets, earthworms, slugs, snails (cooked)
Types of Food Suitable for Feeding Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are omnivorous mammals, meaning that they can eat a variety of food items. When it comes to what hedgehogs should be fed, there are several different types of food that are suitable for them.
Meat and Insects
Hedgehogs enjoy eating meat and insects such as mealworms, crickets, waxworms, earthworms, slugs, snails, etc. It is important to ensure these foods have been raised or purchased from reputable sources to avoid potential parasites.
Fruits & Vegetables
A small amount of fruits and vegetables can also be given as treats. Some safe options include apples (without seeds), pears (without seeds), blueberries, strawberries, canned pumpkin (unsweetened), spinach leaves (cooked or raw), carrots (shredded or chopped) and sweet potatoes.
Commercial Hedgehog Food
There are many commercial diets available specifically formulated for hedgehog nutrition needs. These diets typically contain the necessary nutrients needed by hedgehogs in order to meet their dietary requirements. These commercial diets usually come in kibble form which makes them easy to feed and store.
Some people choose to supplement their hedgehog’s diet with vitamins and minerals such as calcium carbonate powder. This should only be done if recommended by your veterinarian as too much supplementation may cause health problems for your pet hedgie.
Common Foods that Hedgehogs Enjoy
Hedgehogs are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and plant-based foods. They mostly eat insects and worms in the wild but when kept as pets, their diet can be supplemented with commercial hedgehog food or a variety of other common foods.
Commercial Hedgehog Food
There are a wide variety of commercial hedgehog foods available, from pellet-style to canned wet food. Most commercial hedgehog diets are complete and balanced, meaning they contain all the essential vitamins and minerals your pet needs for optimal health. It’s important to choose an appropriate formula based on your pet’s age and size.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can also supplement your pet’s diet. Here is a list of some fruits & vegetables that hedgehogs enjoy:
The Diet of a Hedgehog: What Do They Eat and Drink?
Hedgehogs are omnivores that feed on a variety of small insects, fruits, vegetables, and other foods. In the wild, they may also eat bird eggs and even small mammals. As pets, hedgehogs can be fed commercial dry cat food (high in protein) or specially formulated hedgehog food.
In general, it’s important to provide your pet hedgehog with a wide variety of nutritious foods. Some recommended items for their diet include:
- Protein Sources: Small insects such as mealworms or crickets; cooked lean meats like chicken; hard-boiled eggs; cottage cheese.
- Fruits & Vegetables: Apple slices; blueberries; cantaloupe pieces; carrots; sweet potatoes.
- Grains & Legumes: Oats; quinoa; lentils.
- Beverages: Water should always be available for your pet hedgehog to drink. If desired, you can offer them low-calorie juices like apple juice or diluted grape juice.
Tips For Feeding Your Pet Hedgehog
- Offer fresh foods daily in small amounts so they don’t go to waste.
- Remove uneaten food from the cage after 24 hours to prevent spoilage.
- Avoid overfeeding – too many treats can lead to obesity and health problems.
- Monitor your pet’s weight regularly to make sure he/she isn’t eating too much or not enough.
Creating a Balanced Diet for Your Hedgehog
A balanced diet is essential to ensure your hedgehog stays healthy and happy. Here are some tips on creating a nutritious diet for your pet hedgehog:
Provide Variety of Foods
Make sure you provide variety in the foods that you give your hedgehog. A good mix should include fresh fruits, veggies, insects, and high-quality commercial food.
- Fruits & Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables make up the bulk of a hedgehog’s diet. Try to include different types of each item so that your pet can get all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
- Insects: Insects such as mealworms, crickets, wax worms (in moderation) are also important sources of protein for hedgehogs.
- Commercial Food: High-quality commercial food designed specifically for hedgehogs is an excellent source of nutrition for your pet. Look for brands with natural ingredients.
Hedgehogs typically eat every other day. Provide 1/4 cup or 2 tablespoons per feeding depending on the size of your pet. Make sure to remove any uneaten food so that it doesn’t spoil overnight.
In conclusion, hedgehogs are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and vegetables. They mainly feed on small insects such as crickets, mealworms, beetles and caterpillars. However, it is important to supplement their diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that include dark leafy greens like spinach or kale as well as bell peppers, carrots and squash. Commercial hedgehog food is also available which should always be supplemented with other items to make sure your pet gets all the nutrients they need for a healthy life.