Are you wondering what a hedgehog can eat? Can they eat dog or cat food? In this article, I have explained in detail what a hedgehog’s diet consists of and what they can eat.
What is a hedgehog?
A hedgehog whose scientific name is Erinaceus europaeus is a small mammal. They have a spiny coat and they roll into a ball when they feel threatened.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals which means they are mostly active at night.
They live in Europe, Asia, and Africa and the life span of a hedgehog in the wild is 3-5 years while in captivity, they can live up to 10 years.
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What do hedgehogs eat?
Hedgehogs are omnivores which means their diet consists of both plants and meat. In the wild, they mostly eat invertebrates such as insects, slugs, and snails.
They also eat frogs, lizards, and snakes.
Fruits and vegetables make up a small part of their diet in the wild. In captivity, however, they should have a diet that consists of mostly fruits and vegetables with meat only making up a small part of their diet.
The ideal diet for a hedgehog in captivity is one that consists of:
- Fruits: Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, melon, and grapes. Fruits provide hedgehogs with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and green beans. Vegetables are a good source of fiber for hedgehogs.
- Meat: Cooked chicken, turkey, beef, or pork. Meat should only make up a small part of a hedgehog’s diet as too much protein can be harmful to them.
- Insects: Mealworms, crickets, and earthworms. Insects should only be given to hedgehogs occasionally as they are high in fat.
What can’t hedgehogs eat?
There are some things that hedgehogs should not eat as they can be poisonous to them. These include:
- Avocados: The pit, leaves, and skin of an avocado contain a toxin called persin which can be harmful to hedgehogs.
- Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes contain a chemical called limonene which is toxic to hedgehogs.
- Tomatoes: The leaves and stem of a tomato plant contain a toxin called solanine which is poisonous to hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs should also not eat dog or cat food as it is too high in protein and fat for them.
Mealworms are also not good for hedgehogs as they are high in fat. Cucumbers, however, are safe for hedgehogs to eat.
So, can hedgehogs eat cat food?
Hedgehogs can eat cat food as they are small kibbles that hedgehogs can chew and are known to contain relatively balanced nutrients. While there are a few commercial food brands for hedgehogs, their ingredients are poor and are not readily available. This is why hedgehog pet owners prefer to just feed their hedgehogs cat kibble.
Poor quality ingredients:
Commercial hedgehog food is made using low-quality ingredients such as meat by-products as opposed to named meat (chicken, turkey, lamb, etc.) as a first or second ingredient. You’ll find brands having Bloodmeal as the primary ingredient or low-quality oil such as Canola or cheap fillers that are unhealthy.
If you visit your nearest pet store, you are unlikely to find commercial food brands formulated for hedgehogs. This limited supply has made many hedgehog pet parents to just feed their pets cat food as it is more readily available.
Few brand such as Exotic Nutrition make hedgehog food such as these;
ZooPro Hedgehog Food is a highly palatable meat-based high-protein food with nutrient-dense whole eggs and chicken, as well as the correct vitamins and minerals in quantities required to create a nutritionally balanced diet.
ZooPro has supplements that deliver vitamins and minerals along with live saccharomyces yeast for your hedgehog’s digestive track.
Can Hedgehogs eat Dog Food?
Hedgehogs can technically eat dog food, but it is not recommended as it is too high in protein and fat for them. Dogs are carnivores while hedgehogs are omnivores, so their dietary needs are different. Dog food is also usually made with larger kibbles that hedgehogs may have difficulty chewing.
Criticism of feeding cat and dog food to hedgehogs;
While there is no denying that hedgehogs can technically eat both cat and dog food, there has been some criticism of this practice. Some people believe that it is cruel to feed hedgehogs food that is not specifically made for them. They argue that hedgehogs deserve to have a diet that meets their specific needs and that feeding them cat or dog food is not doing that.
Cat and dog food are known to be high in proteins and fats, which can be harmful to hedgehogs if they eat too much of it. Hedgehogs also have a different digestive system than dogs and cats, so they may not be able to digest these foods as well.
There is also the potential for allergies to develop if hedgehogs are fed cat or dog food on a regular basis. Allergies can cause a hedgehog to itch and scratch, and may even lead to hair loss.
So, while hedgehogs can technically eat cat and dog food, it is not recommended as it is not the best for them nutritionally and there is the potential for health problems to develop. If you are going to feed your hedgehog cat or dog food, it is important to do so in moderation and to watch for any signs of allergies or other health problems.
Other people believe that there is no harm in feeding hedgehogs cat or dog food as long as it is done in moderation. They point out that many hedgehog pet owners have been doing it for years with no problems.
can hedgehogs eat carrots?
Hedgehogs can eat carrots, but they should be cut into small pieces first. Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A and fiber, both of which are important for hedgehogs. However, carrots are also high in sugar, so they should only be given to hedgehogs in moderation.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Bananas?
Hedgehogs can eat bananas, but they should only be given to them in moderation. Bananas are a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. However, they also contain a lot of sugar, so hedgehogs should only have a small piece of banana at a time.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Apples?
Hedgehogs can eat fresh apples, but they should be cut into small pieces first. Apples are a good source of Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. However, they also contain a lot of sugar, so hedgehogs should only have a small piece of apple at a time. Avoid dried fruits as they are often too sugary for hedgehogs.
Hedgehog’s ideal diet should have at least 30% protein but low in fat (about 10% to 20%) and apples are low in fat and have no protein, so they don’t add any actual benefit to a hedgehog’s diet.
What is the best cat food for hedgehogs?
The best type of cat food for hedgehogs is a high-quality, grain-free kibble that contains named meat as the first or second ingredient. The kibble should also be small in size so that hedgehogs can easily chew them. Some good brands of cat food that are suitable for hedgehogs include:
– Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food
– Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken
– Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
– Hills Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food
– Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Intense Hairball Care Dry Cat Food
Q: can hedgehog eat mealworms?
A: Mealworms are very tasty food for hedgehogs and they like them so much that they get excited at just the scent of mealworms. However, mealworms are not nutritious food for them and should only be given as a treat. They lack nutrients like vitamin C which is essential for a hedgehog’s health.
Below is a video of a hedgehog eating mealworms;
Q: Can hedgehogs eat cucumbers?
A: Hedgehogs can eat cucumbers, but they should only be given as a treat as they are not very nutritious for them. Cucumbers lack nutrients like vitamin C as they are mostly made up of carbohydrates and water.
Q: will hedgehog eat cabbage?
A: Hedgehogs can eat cabbage, but it is not recommended as it can cause digestive problems. Cabbage is high in fiber which can be difficult for hedgehogs to digest. It is also a member of the Brassica family of plants that contain compounds that can be harmful to hedgehogs. They are made up of carbohydrates (84%), high dietary fibers (40%), and are rich in sugars (50%). Carbs and sugars are not good for a hedgehog’s health and can lead to obesity.
Q: will hedgehog eat chocolate?
A: Hedgehogs should not eat chocolate as it is poisonous to them. Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which is toxic to hedgehogs and can kill them. Even a small amount of chocolate can be deadly, so it is best to avoid giving it to them altogether.
Q: How often should I feed my hedgehog?
A: Hedgehogs should be fed once or twice a day. They generally eat 2-3 times a week, but this can vary depending on the individual hedgehog. If you are feeding your hedgehog cat food, it is important to do so in moderation and to watch for any signs of allergies or other health problems.
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org