Hedgehog Diet – Expert’s Advice on the Best Hedgehog Food (Guide)

Hedgehog Diet – Expert’s Advice on the Best Hedgehog Food (Guide)

Is your hedgehog a picky eater? How do you feel each time it stays away from the food you give it?

Well, never give up exploring the hedgehog friend.

It is a little bit different in its taste towards food compared to the feline pals.

Hedgehogs have diet restrictions and various foods they say no to.

That said, a glance through our article will help you have an amiable acquaintance with your little hedgehog at home.

There are also favorite foods suggest in our review for the best hedgehog diet.

Have fun reading!

Hedgehog Diet in the Wild…!

You should care for your hedgehog to grow it healthy.

The first time you see a hedgehog, you will inevitably be impressed by the prickly skin, which looks a bit weird and frightening.

This feature fools you into thinking that hedgehog is a carnivore, frequently engaging itself in the aggressive fight against various preys (the moment when the prickles finally make sense as an active body protection method).

But when you research a little bit, it turns out that hedgehogs are indeed either omnivores or insectivores, depending on where you seek the information.

It is hard to believe, but actual pet owners report seeing their little hedgies feeding on a variety of foods, including insects and many others. Thus, they are an omnivore.

We cannot tell for sure what kind of food all hedgehogs in the wild eat because it differs in a distinct part of the world. But generally, there is some shared information about it.

Have you ever heard of the word “chitin”? For those who haven’t, chitin is a primary constituent of the exoskeleton of arthropods, including insects.

In the body, its function is paramount to that of the protein keratin, which means they provided protein, together with some fiber for the growing body.

In real life, chitin proves beneficial for the medicinal, industrial, and biotechnological purposes while for hedgehogs, it becomes a salient feature in their diets.

Fortunately, hedgehogs don’t have to find elsewhere for this component, but they can digest it themselves from insects.

So, what types of insect are a rich source of chitin for hedgie friends? Live or freeze-dried mealworms (Amazon link) are known as common sources from which hedgehogs seek chitin.

Besides, the benefit of hunting a live prey for food goes beyond health benefits as it also helps stimulate the hedgehog’s mental focus and body agility as well as requires it to employ different techniques flexibly to dispatch the prey insects.

Here are what we put in the wild hedgehog diet list

Wax Worms

  • Wax Worms (Amazon link) are, on average, higher in fat than mealworms.
  • By contrast, in terms of the chitin provision, wax worms are a better option than mealworms provided that they are not made staple foods in the diet, but merely a small treat.

Live or freeze-dried crickets

  • Mealworms and crickets (Amazon links) are among hedgehog’s favorite as they are yummy treats, and they serve the demand for chitin as well.
  • Usually, hedgehogs have to play hard to chase this food; thus, it improves mental stimulation for the hedgie friend, you can find here the best toys for a hedgehog.
  • Gut-loading the crickets with highly nutritious foods is the prerequisite to feeding them to the hedge so that you can make sure the food is packed with nutrition.

Green veggies and fruits

  • Fruits are not recommended, but a small treat of them within moderation will be tasty.
  • Try apples, bananas, oranges, melons, etc.
  • Fresh veggies are perfect for health-conscious hedgehogs while dried vegetables should be avoided at all costs

Meat

  • Treat overloaded with heavy beef is not a healthy choice because it is too high in protein and probably fat.
  • Stick to low fat, a small amount of canned meat.

Eggs

  • The egg is home to various nutrients, especially protein. But remember to boil the egg carefully for a sufficiently long period.

Pinky mice

It does sound crazy, right? But pinky mice (Amazon link) can be.

A treat on hedgie’s preference. They are super high in calcium and low in fat (about 5% fat).

Besides, their bones are not solidified as yet; otherwise, the hedgehogs never come to like eating something that can affect their usually weak metabolic system.

Not to mention that it can cause choking problems.

You can make things easy for the pet by preparing a pre-killed pinky mouse in advance.

Cat food

Cat food is made initially for felines, so to make it suitable for hedgehogs, the most essential requirement is that the food should not be less than 30 percent in protein and more than 20 percent fat.

Hedgehog Feeding Schedule

Hedgehog Feeding Schedule

Most of the time, the reason why your hedgehog becomes overweight is partly because of an illogical or inappropriate feeding schedule.

If not controlled 24/7, your friend is likely to eat each time continually after it has lost energy in playing and hunting.

That’s why a feeding schedule is essential to supervise the consumption of nibbles and different treats and to ensure the pet is not left hungry or too full.

The feeding schedule should cover how often to feed the hedgehog kibble, how much kibble to give in each treat, and what to do when the hedgehog puts on weight too fast.

More often than not, one to two tablespoons of kibble with a small amount of well-cooked veggies or fresh fruit can be enough for an adult hedgehog.

This rule can be altered a bit depending on the energy the animal has burnt throughout the day.

The more active it is, the more food it needs. Specifically, hedgehogs tend to take in more food at night simply because they have to compensate for the loss of energy on the exercise wheel.

So, don’t be surprised to see the scene; just let them fuel themselves.

On the contrary, when the animal gains weight beyond expectation, monitor it to spot out the changes and then cut down on the meals in due course. For the most accurate measurement of the food, use a baby scale.

The leftovers after eating or the uneaten food when left overnight till the next early morning are no longer in a new condition and even prone to spoilage, so remember to get rid of them and fill the bowl with new foods.

The same is true for the water.

Hedgehog Diet Requirements

We all want to give the best hedgehog houses and the best food for our cute, little friend. But hedgehogs do not eat just anything you add in their treats because they cannot assimilate them all.

Thus, it is worth noting that hedgehogs have sensitive digestive systems so what hedgehogs can eat and what hedgehogs can’t eat are those critical questions that you have to track down the answers before adopting one.

Failure to do so also leads to an overweight, unhealthy hedgie pal.

Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so they say no to dairy products and sweet meals.

But excluding these foods entirely from the hedgie food list is by no means advisable, so treat your friend with a small amount of cheese or yogurt at times to enhance a sense of well-being.

Sadly, hedgies are not green-eaters and not particularly keen on fruits, especially grapes, raisins, citrus fruits, avocado pineapple.

These fruits make them struggle hard to chew and assimilate.

Not to mention, they can exert adverse health effects on the little friends. Nuts should be avoided as well.

Hedgehogs are on a low-fat diet most of the time, so hardly do they expect the presence of red meat, heavy meat, or fatty foods in their daily meals.

They are allowed to eat meat by only a balanced and moderate amount of it.

The matter gets worse if these foods are surplus to requirements.

Before living in captivity, hedgehogs used to be an intense hunter, which means they feed on insects in the wild.

However, had better forget the idea of buying bait shop insects because there is no guarantee these sorts of food are free from toxic preservatives or harmful insecticides.

Instead, to fulfill the demand of a genuine insectivore, you can resort to package food which is scientifically mixed with a variety of worms and other nutritious ingredients.

Hedgehog Nutritional Requirements

Hedgehog Nutritional Requirements

Here are what you should base on to supervise the suitability of the food your hedgehog pet eats.

First and foremost, the food should be rich in protein and low in fat, with the reasons mentioned above.

Such characteristics are all seen in the insects in the wild.

Second, the food must be a perfect blend of different tasty ingredients such as some snacks or fruits.

Protein-rich foods:

  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Tuna

Pre-cooked vegetables and fresh fruits:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Dandelion greens
  • Collard greens
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato
  • Asparagus
  • Radish, turnip
  • Green pepper
  • Carrot
  • Fruits
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Cherry
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Peaches
  • Plum
  • Pumpkin
  • Strawberries, Cranberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberry (carefully peeled).

Hedgehog Diet Guidelines

This is what you should know before adopting a hedgehog.

Besides entertainment and interaction, diet requirements should be cared for meticulously.

You can buy the best hedgehog cages for helping it to grow more healthy and safe.

When hedgehog becomes a pet, it does expect to be given food like other feline and canine friends in your house, which means special treats placed in a lovely bowl.

What you put in the container may not be alive worms taken from your yard or anything like that.

Rather than that, you should learn how to deal with the hedgehog diet in captivity as well as what is key to balanced, nutritious food.

This will have direct consequences on the health of your friend. Whether she can live happily and comfortably is up to you.

Cat Food

Is this your question that can I use cat food for my furry hedgie? We are ready to answer you that yes, you can.

Because one cannot easily find tailored hedgehog foods in those pet stores in his vicinity, so save your time with cat foods instead.

The nutritional supply is relatively similar. That’s why most pet owners love using it as the main staples for their hedgehogs.

Dry Food

Some dry foods that are high in protein are chicken, meat, fish which can be added in a moderately large proportion to your friend’s diet.

Moist Foods

Never leave moist foods out of the diet menu of a hedgehog.

Had better offer them to the pet regularly. Moist foods are available everywhere, including local pet shops, supermarkets, etc.

They come in the form of canned cat foods or dog foods but can be a good alternative for hedgies too.

Why not take them if they are sure to check off protein requirements.

What’s more, they are made from fish, meat, tuna, chicken, etc. for a change of flavor.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and veggies are responsible for delivering a vast amount of minerals, vitamins, and fiber crucial for a long and healthy life.

Think of the pivotal role of vegetables in your daily meals and figure this out in the case for hedgehogs.

The favorite fruits for hedgies are listed in detail above, so try to incorporate some in moderation, say from 5 to 10 percent of the green stuff in the diet is ok. Bear in mind never to overfeed hedgies.

Treats

Treats are something special to incentivize the hedgehog to behave themselves decently; thus, it needs to be thoroughly prepared before being gifted to the little friend.

  • Hedgies might expect some mealworms, live crickets, hard-boiled eggs, chicken, etc.
  • The gap between meals should be the most suitable time to offer treats.

Take note that treats at their core are always in small amount, but they mean a lot to the hedgehog.

Water Intake

Change the water inside the hedgehog’s bowl when you think it is no longer fresh.

As the bowl of water is placed inside the enclosure, it becomes dirty quickly, which can be fixed by purchasing a water bottle stopper – a favorite accessory to keep the water always clean and fresh.

What to Consider when Choosing the Best Hedgehog Diet?

Best Hedgehog Diet

These tips do not exclusively work for hedgehog foods but also for cat foods that are tailored for hedgie friends.

They are straightforward and beneficial.

Food Safety

Starting from the brand from which the food comes.

Is it a credible brand? Are there any scandals related to food safety standards?

If possible, read the previous users’ reviews on the brand background and the food benefits.

We suggest choosing famous brands as they are more likely to deliver optimal product quality.

Another way to check the food safety is right in the ingredients printed on the package.

Make sure there are no harmful preservatives that can be detrimental to your pet’s health.

Main Ingredients and Proportions

As said above, moist foods can be made of a variety of ingredients, and the diversity never ceases to increase.

If you are not sure which one will suit the pet yet, let’s play safe by picking the two most common flavor which is chicken and meat.

These two components are rich in protein and conducive to good health.

What’s more, the proportions of each component are clearly stated on the labels, so please take a glance at them as well as look for any imbalance in the representation of food.

The most important things to focus on are moisture, proteins, minerals, fats that are available in the food.

Feeding Instructions

As for hedgehog foods, everything is straightforward the way it is. You just have to follow the instructions to distribute the food properly.

But if you are using cat foods for hedgehogs, pay careful attention to the differences in taste and the ability to absorb food between the two friends.

Cats are bigger than hedgehogs, so they probably eat more. But hedgies only eat a small portion of food, with some extra green veggies.

Best Hedgehog Diet – Suggested by real pet owners

Fluker’s Dried Mealworms

These mealworms are a great supplement to your hedgehog’s taste with a whole host of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and other substances.

Besides the health benefits, this type of food takes the package form of a shaker to always keep the worms in a fresh condition.

Sale

Product Features:

  • A healthy treat with the supply of 100 percent natural nutrients.
  • Fresh food.
  • Convenient to use.

Suncoast Sugar Gliders: Spike’s Delite Hedgehog Diet Food

This food is not only an addition to your hedgie’s meal but can be the staple meal as it supplies chicken, whole soy and fish proteins to nourish the young growing babies or those hedgies during reproduction period.

Even the pickies hedgie can’t resist this tasty stuff.

Product Features:

  • Rich not only in minerals but also protein.
  • Wholesome for young and adult animals.
  • Cooked supplement.

Exotic Nutrition Berries and Bugs

Exotic Nutrition has a huge fan base consisting of pet owners across the world because it delivers the quality upon its promise.

The food is safe and free from preservatives.

Bugs and berries spring to mind a fancy, yummy taste. Your hedgie will love it.

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Product Features:

  • No artificial ingredients.
  • Can be mixed with other fruits, insects.
  • Releasable bag to keep the food well preserved.

Eight In One (8 In 1) Ultra-Blend Hedgehog Diet

“Ultra-Blend” suggests a perfect combination of wholesome, high-fiber and nutrient-rich ingredients all existing in one package.

Therefore, it may suit well with the taste of either young or adult hedgehog.

To improve the well-being of your pet, this comes with minerals and vitamins as well.

Product Features:

  • Favorite food by young and adult hedgehogs.
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals.
  • Rich in animal proteins and amino acids.

Sunseed Company Hedgehog Treat – Wigglers & Berries Trail Mix

Time to relive the past old days of constant hunting.

This mix has celery, mealworms, and strawberries that can fulfill your pet’s hunting instinct.

It is a sufficient supplier of proteins as well.

Product Features:

  • High in proteins.
  • Encourage natural hunting instinct.
  • Perfectly mixed with tasty foods.

FAQs Hedgehog Diet

Hedgehog food

Can hedgehogs eat bananas?

First, banana is a kind of fresh fruit which has a bad reputation for having too many calories and carbs. But in return for that, it contains a lot of potassium and magnesium.

Therefore, generally speaking, banana is a safe option to go with provided that it is given in a moderate amount.

The side effect of overfeeding your hedgehog with bananas is a body surplus of sugar.

That’s why it is best to give them as a treat rather than the main staple in the meal

Even if the banana is safe to eat, there’s no guarantee your prickly pal will enjoy it.

Test to see if the little friend displays a preference for this type of fruit.

For the first time trying, give one or two small pieces of banana twice a week at most.

Can pygmy hedgehogs eat grapes?

Grapes can be a healthy kind of fruit for us, human beings. But the food is not suitable for hedgehogs because it is harmful to their health.

When the friend bites on the fruit by accident, make sure you spot out the case as soon as possible to take immediate actions.

Do hedgehogs eat poop? If yes, why does it have to do so? Is there anything wrong with his body?

“Oh my god, it’s appalling to see my hedgehog getting close to its feces and wipe them all over his body,” says a pet owner.

So, the answer is clearly yes. Some pet parents may at times wonder why many critters, omnivores, and hedgehogs tend to chew on stinky stuff that their body defecates.

Look for the answer right in the daily diet of hedgehogs. Ask yourself, does the foot bowl of the hedgie stay filled? Or have you forgotten to offer the treats that your hedgie loves?

Many such questions can clarify the matter. Hedgehogs eat the poop merely because they are looking for extra protein, sugar, etc. on other food.

You may be unaware that the friend is suffering from a lack of nutrition in its diet. Poop, as a result, is said to provide undigested protein, sugar, and cellulose.

What to do is check carefully if the hedgehog is getting too little of something from the diet.

You might have to switch the food a bit to a more nutritious menu till your friend says right.

You might have to consider these best hedgehog litter boxes and pans to avoid also.

What will happen if my hedgehog gnaws on my socks?

It is a scene that most pet owners have encountered when they have a hedgehog. Hogs are known for their habit of licking almost anything around them, including your socks. But is it alright?

Remember that hedgehogs are hypoallergenic animals, so they are susceptible to fragrance, especially the scent of the laundry detergent, or if any, the smell of your socks.

Whether your socks are clean or dirty, there will always be a kind of fumes to which if the hedgehog exposes can cause damage to their respiratory health.

Try to keep the hedgie away from your socks even if the socks are thoroughly washed.

Moreover, dirty socks even come with more severe health hazards because they are not only packed with the stinky smell but also a strain of bacteria.

What if your pet inhales the scent and absorbs the bacteria or any toxic material from the socks.

Probably we don’t need to tell the consequences as you have already known the hedgie’s digestive system is rather weak.

Can pet hedgehogs have milk?

Hedgies are lactose intolerant, so they are no friends to dairy products. Milk is one typical example of dairy.

Thus, never give your hedgie milk as it can cause diarrhea.

However, yogurt and cheese will do well provided they are available in moderate amount.

Are hedgehogs normally, vegetarian?

Well, the answer is no. They are omnivores, so their main diet is insects, and besides, they can eat a variety of many different foods which have been suggested in the post.

Don’t mistake hedgie for a vegetarian by only seeing him chewing on natural plants at times.

This doesn’t mean he loves this food, but just because he cannot act against his impulse to try the taste of plants.

Similarly, he will act in the same way as for smelly things around him. Such a curious baby!

When a hedgehog is living in captivity, his life turns to a new chapter when he is made to get used to being attended to by human beings, starting from what they eat to how they feel and where they live.

They are given a variety of treats every day, but the foods are in a small amount such as kibbles or snacks.

Everything they consume is not much, even for staple foods or treats such as live mealworms, scrambled eggs, oranges, bananas, etc.

That said when you try to make your friend a complete green-eaters, his meat eating and insect-eating desire will be kept in check, which is quite irritating.

Thing is clear that a hedgehog naturally born to feed on such foods will never be easily swayed to accept anything else.

If you persist in making him eat plants and veggies, his health will impair, and illness is inevitable.

He may start showing symptoms of weakness, lack of energy, decreasing the desire for active playtime, etc.

So please follow suit the food instructions, and diet guidelines tailored for hedgehogs.

What is wrong with my little prikey as it is not drinking enough water?

We cannot tell for sure, as the symptoms of the disease are not apparent. So let’s start to examine from the manner you give your hedgehog water.

Consider this scenario: If you have always given water in a water bottle and this habit happens to be different on a particular day, your hedgehog can perceive these changes and refuse to drink the water placed in a separate container.

It is tiring, though, that’s how hedgehog feels. Their body, when devoid of water, can suffer from dehydration, but symptoms will not show up obtrusively at the time this happens.

Instead, it develops quietly until it is too late to do anything about it. Take your time by taking immediate actions.

First, check inside the hedgie’s mouth. Look for any injuries that cause pain when coming into contact with water.

Second, if your hedgie refuses to drink water in the usual way, find the alternative from syringes.

You have to give him a few syringes of water through his mouth.

This is a problematic practice, so be patient when conducting it. You may need help from clinical staff or the doctor.

Can hedgehogs eat fish?

There is not much evidence to prove fish is toxic for hedgehogs, but for the best results, try not to include this too often in the hedgehog’s meals.

Wrapping up

Hedgehogs are by no means difficult to please, so be relaxed when you have to make critical decisions regarding its food options.

Most of the time, you may worry about the intake of essential nutrients your friend will have from the diet it has, but we will help you.

With a wide array of recommendations and sufficiently detailed information around the hedgehog diet, you can be more confident when it comes to this significant moment.

Understand your hedgie’s preference; consider his nutritional requirements carefully to make the most sensible choice.

The best luck of all!

Last update on 2019-06-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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