Hedgehogs are adorable, spiky, little creatures that will devour anything yummy in its path! These hoggish critters have 44 tiny teeth that allow them to nibble caterpillars, crickets, millipedes, snails, slugs, worms, and everything else that equals dinner.
Not to mention how these critters love to socialize over a fresh small frog or a baby mouse. Now, that’s definitely not a picky eater! While these ravenous eaters will feed on anything, it doesn’t mean you won’t have to consider crafting a good diet for your hedgie once you adopt one.
Seventy percent of a hedgehog’s diet consists of insects and the remaining 30% consists of a wide variety of edible items including fruits and vegetables. Thus, hedgehogs are considered omnivores as they feed on plants and prey on other animals in the wilderness.
To ensure your spiky pals remain hale and hearty for many years, you must mimic this diet.
Best Food for Hedgehogs
1. Cooked lean meat
Our spiky pets are in tip top shape when they are fed a high-protein diet. As you can see, they have incisor teeth that are ready to tear on insects and meat. But unlike their wild and woodland cousins, domesticated hedgehogs such as the African pygmy, the Egyptian long-eared, and the Indian long-eared hedgehogs should be fed cooked highly digestible meat. This includes:
- chicken liver and kidneys
Choose lean meat and cook it without seasonings or oil. Also, dice the meat into tiny pieces so it’s easy for your pet to munch on.
Hiding bits of boiled eggs in various corners for your pet to hunt is a good way to complement your pet’s staple diet as well as encourage exercise. Eggs are an affordable source of high-quality protein.
2. High-protein dry puppy food
A high-protein puppy food also serves as a good alternative to cooked meat, especially when it features a protein and fat ratio of 34% to 15%.
You should always check the small print and look for good quality ingredients. Make sure its primary ingredient is chicken or turkey so it’s easy on your pet’s tummy.
High-quality puppy food may cost three times as much compared to regular dog food but on the bright side, you won’t be stuffing your pet with bulking agents and meat-by-products that could cause diarrhea.
Dry puppy food is also suitable for hedgehogs as their kibble size are small enough for your tiny pet.
3. Canned cat food
Many hedgehog owners prefer moist food than dry food since it’s a cinch to eat. Often times they mix it with bits of meat to supply a higher percentage of protein. However, canned cat food doesn’t supply as much fiber as dry food.
Likewise, a majority of cat food is high in fat so it must be served with caution. Unless your hedgehog has dental problems, you may want to keep alternating dry puppy food with moist cat food. Otherwise, you may need to invest in a brand new wheel for a fat hedgehog.
4. Frozen or canned insects
Live insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and earthworms are your pet’s favorites. These are the hedgehog equivalent of pizza and fries, so to speak.
Apart from adding variety to your pet’s diet, these insects supply a good amount of chitin, which is a polysaccharide derived from the insects’ exoskeletons.
However, hedgehogs are predisposed to obesity. A majority of the insects that comprise a wild hedgehog’s diet should be given only as treats to a domesticated hedgehog.
Also, don’t catch the insects yourself. Not only is it time-consuming and barely even possible, but they might also carry harmful pathogens. Buy frozen and canned insects from pet shops instead.
5. Fresh fruits and cooked vegetables
A small number of fresh fruits and cooked vegetables are essential to your pet’s diet. Your spiky pet may not like some fruits or vegetables. Thankfully, there is a long list that he can try such as:
- green pepper
Do bear in mind that some fruits such as cherries and bananas contain a lot of sugar. So, it is wise to give your pet these sweet fruits sparingly as it could contribute to diabetes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a hedgehog get its food?A: When they hunt for food, hedgehogs produce loud boisterous snuffling sounds similar to a pig’s grunt. As soon as they come around something delicious, they simply grab it using their mouths. The anatomy of the hedgehog’s nose, as well as their exceptional sense of hearing and smell, make it so much easier for these critters to forage food even in low light areas.
How much do you feed a hedgehog?A: Being gluttonous is intrinsic to being a hedgehog, that is why they are predisposed to obesity. But being a domesticated hedgehog doubles the risk. One tablespoon of food twice daily is already enough to keep your pet nourished. Insects, fruits, and vegetables should only serve as an occasional treat. A good time to feed your pet is around twilight, which is a hedgehog’s wake-up time. If you have baby hedgehogs, pregnant or nursing hedgehogs, you may have to keep the food bowl full all the time. Hoglets should always have an unlimited supply of food. If you notice that your hoglets are putting a little too much weight, then start regulating its food consumption and encourage exercise.
What fruits and vegetables can you feed a hedgehog?A: The list of fruits and vegetables that a hedgehog can safely gobble up is innumerable. A few examples include mangoes, papaya, carrots, and broccoli. However, hedgehogs don’t digest vegetables very well so if you serve them vegetables, make sure they are cooked and diced. Avoid starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes as these foods are hardly possible for a hedgehog to digest. Recent studies have also considered that nuts, seeds, and dried foods could choke your pet. Grapes and raisins are reported to be toxic to hedgehogs. Citrus fruits should also not be given to hedgehogs.