What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
Hedgehogs make a unique pet in their appearance and care, and so are their food requirements. Being an insectivore hedgehog needs nutrients that are not easily found in other pet foods. Traditionally, pet owners feed cat food to hedgehogs, but now many nutritional food brands are available for hedgehogs. When you know what do hedgehogs eat, you will be able to make better nutritional decisions for your cute little pet.
General Pet Hedgehog Food Guidelines
Hedgehogs are either insectivores or omnivores, depending on the source of reference. As hedgehogs live in the wild, they eat many other things than just insects depending on which part of the world they belong to.
Hedgehogs can easily digest everything from insects to chitin. Chitin is a hard exoskeleton of insects that is a source of protein but good fiber quantity. Chitin is an important component of the hedgehog diet but not the only source of food.
These are some of the items that hedgehogs eat and can be included in their daily food diet.
- Mealworms- freeze-dried or live mealworms make good hedgehog food or treat. They are a good source of chitin. Also, live worms make a good mental stimulation as they move around, and the hedgehog has to make an extra effort in eating.
- Crickets: crickets are also available in freeze-dried and live form. These are good sources of chitin. Before feeding, crickets make sure to do gut loading to make sure your hedgehog is loaded with nutrition.
- Waxworms- another great hedgehog treat is waxworms. These are high in fat but low in chitin; therefore should be fed fewer times.
- Fruits: avoid feeding dried fruits to hedgehogs; however, small amounts of fresh fruits can be given as treats. Bananas, apples, berries, and melons are popular choices.
- Vegetables: fresh green beans, tomatoes, and cooked squash are some options that hedgehog likes. Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and carrots, and dried vegetables should not be fed.
- Cooked eggs: an occasional bit of hard-boiled or scrambled egg is a good treat for a hedgehog because it makes a protein-rich diet.
- Cooked meat: low fat and high protein canned cat or dog food along with cooked chicken can be offered to your pet hedgehog.
- Hedgehog or cat kibble: this should make the bulk of your hedgehog diet. A good quality hedgehog or cat kibble should contain less than 20 percent fat and 30 percent protein.
A hedgehog food makes the ideal everyday diet if it meets the nutritional requirements. However, a few formulated diets do not include raisins and seeds, which should not be given to your pet.
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How Much and When Should Hedgehogs eat?
Hedgehogs are prone to obesity, so it is essential to take care of how much food you feed them. The cat or hedgehog kibble should make most of their daily diet. Even though hedgehogs are super active at night and burn a lot of their energy, you need to control how much they eat.
Every day you can feed them one to two tablespoons of kibble. An adult hedgehog can be fed an extra teaspoon of vegetables, fruits, and insects. A large-sized and more active hedgehog will need more food. You need to regularly monitor their weight on a baby scale. If you see more than 10 percent weight gain, cut back on food.
A hedgehog tends to eat more at night when it is the most active and running on the wheels. So if they do not eat a lot during the day, you have nothing to worry about. Make sure to always keep fresh water for your pet.
Foods To Avoid Feeding to Hedgehogs
The safety of your pet hedgehog depends on the food you feed it. It is extremely important to pay extra attention to what goes in your hedgehog’s mouth. Here are some of the things you should avoid feeding a hedgehog:
- Sugary food
- Salty foods
- Small seeds
- Dried fruit
- Raw meats
- High-fat food like fried food
- raw diet
- Highly processed carbs
- Processed human food
Certain foods are extremely dangerous to a hedgehog and leave a toxic effect on other species as well. These foods are:
- Raw potatoes
- Apple seeds
Now that you know what hedgehogs eat and what they should not, you might have got an idea of their healthy diet. The key is to give a well-balanced diet if you want to keep them healthy and happy.
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