They feed on multiple foods groups including protein, low-fat carbs, fruits, vegetables, and water, which is very essential to them. In the solid diet of the hedgehog, the main components are insects, rodents, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Feeding on … If you want to serve your hedgehog bacon, it is to be prepared and cut into small pieces. Additionally, wild hedgehogs will hibernate in cold seasons in colder climates (not in Africa) and rely on fat reserves in extremely hot seasons. The nocturnal animals also do not shy away from gnawing on a dead mouse and other carrion. We’ll look at what (and how) wild hedgehogs eat, and what is known about their nutrient requirements. They will eat any bugs such as worms, night crawlers, earwigs, millipedes, slugs, and caterpillars that they can find. When pieces are too large, they can be hard to chew. Some other animal protein foods (could be different types of cat kibble). In which case, you may want to take a more cautious approach. However, for the pet hedgehog, their diet is more of that of an omnivore. But, what eats hedgehogs? Often, hedgehogs are given bread and milk because owners are under the misguided notion that it is good for them. Credit: Julie N Woodhouse / Alamy Stock Photo When to feed hedgehogs You can start feeding hedgehogs as soon as they emerge from hibernation in spring. Hedgehogs are not difficult to feed and usually thrive on a fairly set dietary routine, so long as it includes the important elements of quality animal protein, insects, and some fruit and vegetables. Most hedgehog enthusiasts have a preferred base product for their hedgehog’s dry food. This will not only help with weight management but enriches life for your prickly friend. [ 2] T They also eat at night. A Pet Hedgehog ’s staple diet should be mostly dry cat biscuits. But, as yet, their specific nutritional requirements are unknown. Offer each new treat on its own alongside the main food and wait to see how the hedgehog responds before feeding anything else. Foraging opportunities can help to keep the hedgehog active and can easily be offered by putting the kibble in various places around the habitat. Like other mammals, it’s important to remember that a hog’s nutritional needs will vary over its lifetime, so you will need to change your hedgehog’s feeding schedule as they age. Most of the information available leads back to work done in zoos by researchers such as Anthony J. Smith and Dr. Graffam-Carlsen. Higher levels of nutrients are usually needed for: Despite some of what you might read, there are a variety of healthy hedgehog diets, but they mostly follow the same basic pattern: Let’s consider each of these in more detail. They must be refrigerated after opening. Adrienne Kruzer, RVT, has worked with a variety of animals for over 15 years, including birds of prey, reptiles, and small mammals. They use their senses (primarily smell, hearing and sight) to locate their prey and can even sense grubs in the soil to around 4cm depth. document.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a63208d43ef58b4dac3cd57ad848418c" );document.getElementById("baaea177ed").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); SmallPetJournal is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, or Most hedgehogs will need between 1 and 2 teaspoons of kibble if they are getting insects and fruit/veg as well. Freeze-dried make a great alternative, as this process maintains nutritional value very well. Insects would be a major part of a wild hedgehog’s diet and should always be included in the diet. If you are feeding live insects, you need to feed them before you feed them to your hedgehog (called gut loading) to give the best possible nutritional value. Pet hedgehogs are unique in both their appearance and their care as a small pet. Many owners stay away from fish as it can cause the hog’s feces to be very smelly. Then we will discuss the variety of foods that make up a healthy hedgehog diet, how much to feed, and – just as importantly – which foods to avoid. Dried fruit (high sugar, sticky foods can lead to tooth decay). Hedgehogs are to eat fish in moderation due to the level of mercury that could be in the fish. Hedgehogs mainly eat creepy crawlies. Hedgehogs are prone to obesity, so it is of utmost importance to monitor how much you are feeding it. This can be useful when feeding overweight hogs, as some fibrous vegetables can be offered to increase the amount of food while having little impact on calories. John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images. This simply means that hedgehogs are adapted more for digesting insects than plants. These are: Several conditions and illnesses can arise if hedgehogs aren’t fed correctly. The main purpose of treats is to add variety and extra nutrition to the main diet. This leads to a greater tolerance for macronutrients, such as protein and fat. The main supplements given to pet hedgehogs tend to be: General vitamin and calcium supplements are unnecessary for all hedgehog owners who feed a good quality cat food. So, what do hedgehogs eat in the wild? Many people choose a ‘lite’ option. These include when they are pregnant, nursing, growing, recovering from illness, getting older, or when the weather is cold. Some vegetables and fruit. Should Your Hedgehog Eat Cat Food or Hedgehog Food? However, there is some agreement that for pet hedgehogs the ranges that produce the best results are around 28 to 35% protein (dry food matter) and 5 to 15% fat. Looking at a wide spread of hedgehog articles and information, in the US and UK, sources state a range of 20 to 50% protein (dry food matter) and 5 to 20% fat. It’s also worth noting that many captive hedgehogs will refuse new food, and others can get diarrhea with changes in the diet. They get their main source of fiber and chitin from the exoskeleton of insects or invertebrates. It’s best to take advice from your hedgehog’s breeder on this as they will know which foods suit the hogs they breed. However the hedgehogs we keep as pets are far removed from the wild, and risk getting parasites if they eat wild bugs. Freeze-dried insects can also be re-hydrated easily. The Good, the Bad (& the Wonderful? Copyright © 2018 - 2020 Around 15% fiber is also thought to be desirable. You can feed your hedgehog cat food in the absence of special hedgehog food, with treats such as crickets, earth worms, slugs and mealworms when you can find them! However, because of the tendency of the captive hedgehog to be picky, these diets should only ever be fed after proper research and advice from experienced people. Any uneaten food should be disposed of the next day to avoid spoilage and fresh water should always be available. Undomesticated hedgehogs have a natural range of 200 to 300 meters from their nest. Each individual feed should be suitable for use as hedgehog food and will need: Many fruits and vegetables are enjoyed by hedgehogs and add interest, vitamins, antioxidants and healthful phytochemicals to the diet. In the wild, hedgehogs live on a diet of insects and sometimes rodents like small mice. ), Healthy Treats for Your Hedgehogs (Plus, Unhealthy Treats to Avoid). Therefore, it is difficult to be precise about how much to feed your hedgehog. fiber (sometimes given as extra insects or vegetables to prevent constipation in susceptible hedgehogs); joint supplements (to reduce arthritis as hedgehogs age); probiotics (useful for maintaining gut health during stressful periods). A check should also be done for preservatives and harmful elements. Supplements (optional). Can hedgehogs eat pineapple? Some hedgehog keepers do feed their pet hedgehogs with pineapples, but in small portions where they do not get any side effects. This would also be based on good quality cat food, with chicken or turkey as its primary ingredient. The nutritional benefits are also limited to what’s been added to the packet. This kibble has mashed up insects along with vitamins and minerals to create a balanced diet specifically formulated for an African pygmy hedgehog. Learn how to create a happy, healthy home for your pet. A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet. What do African pygmy hedgehogs eat? Historically, cat food was often used to feed these spiky pocket pets, but there are also quality hedgehog foods that provide ideal nutritional components for a hedgehog to eat. Hedgehogs have been known to eat certain species of fish. This means that they are eating a wide variety of food sources in the wilderness. Hedgehogs have a short, simple gut that includes a stomach, and they do have the ability to vomit. Despite some of what you might read, there are a variety of healthy hedgehog diets, but they mostly follow the same basic pattern: A ‘base food’ cat kibble or premium hedgehog food. Another treat of a different kind is to feed a wet meal. The worms are higher in fat, so don’t overdo it. African pygmy hedgehogs are natural omnivores in the wild, mostly eating small invertebrates like spiders and insects, as well as plants, small vertebrates and bird eggs. However, they do crumble if handled heavily, so need to be treated gently and stored in a ridged container. By Elton Dunn. Top 20 Safe Woods for Rats (& Toxic Woods to Avoid), How Do Guinea Pigs Sleep? That said, there’s little point leaving insects out for a hedgehog as they can get all they need for themselves. Recreate this nutrient balance for your pet hedgehog to keep him happy and healthy. The majority of their diet is made up of invertebrates (or creepy crawlies). He has six years of experience keeping small pets, from guinea pigs, rabbits, to hedgehogs. They mainly feed on insects and vegetation. In this article, we will be giving you all the information you need to feed your hedgehog a great diet. They will often take advantage of baby rodents, fallen fruit, birds’ eggs, baby birds, frogs, and carrion. correct levels of fat and protein (see above); an easily digested meat (such as chicken or turkey) as the primary ingredient. Others may upset their stomach and can be fatal as well. Hedgehogs feast primarily on … However, because of the captive hedgehog’s much less active lifestyle, too many insects – which can be high in fat – can lead to obesity. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and so eat at night, and the best time to feed them is just before you go to bed. Kibble itself is an unnatural way of presenting nutrition to an animal like a hedgehog because every bite is the same in terms of texture, smell, and taste. Hedgehogs are widely recognised as a potent ally in the garden, but what do they actually eat? There are times when a hedgehog will naturally need to eat more. Hedgehogs usually eat at night. But then there are certain predators that are able to successfully hunt and eat hedgehogs. There is some information available about their digestion of plant fiber (digested at a rate of 38%), compared to chitin – the fibrous exoskeleton of insects – (digested up 68%). Overgrown patches, compost heaps and log piles can all be used by resting hogs. Required fields are marked *. Wet diets also need to include crunchy insects and other ‘teeth cleaning’ elements. They can be useful for those who make up their own mix or feed a cooked or raw fresh diet. These predators include birds of prey like hawks, several types of carnivorous mammals, some snakes, and humans. What do wild hedgehogs eat? Don’t feed insects from the garden, countryside or fishing (bait) shops as they often have parasites, pesticides or microorganisms that can affect your hedgehog. See … Highly processed carbs (will increase weight gain). Pet hedgehogs will also each cooked, lean chicken and … This post may contain affiliate links. If there is more than a 10 percent weight gain you should cut back on how much food is offered. Unfortunately, they don’t have little easy bake ovens or tiny skillets in their home. This is often an excellent dry cat kibble, picked to be suitable for their pet’s life stage and weight. Some insects. Most of their diet is made up of invertebrates. Throughout this article when we refer to the hedgehog, we are talking about the African Pygmy Hedgehog (atelerix albiventris), though much of this will transfer to other species. What makes up a wild hedgehog’s diet? The 7 Best Wet Foods for Your Kitten in 2020, The 8 Best Premium Dry Foods for Cats in 2020, The 8 Best Cat Foods for Weight Loss in 2020, The 8 Best Frozen and Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food. Many hedgehog owners buy high … Repeat this for a few days and if there is always food left then reduce the amount given. Activity levels also vary greatly between individuals, so this will affect how much food is needed. Here is a list of animals that could pose a threat to the hedgehog or even eat them. Apple seeds (contain a compound that converts to cyanide in the stomach. Even though the answer to the question of “what do hedgehogs eat” is almost always insects when it comes to the wild, for a pet hedgehog it’s a bit different. Hedgehogs can eat other pet food. The Hedgehogs’ Diet. Some other animal protein foods (could be different types of cat kibble). Try starting with 2 teaspoons of kibble in the evening (along with the other elements of the diet), and then assessing what is left in the morning. Hedgehogs will often eat small amounts of vegetable and can be given small amounts of fruit as treats. Hedgehogs in the wild, however, are opportunistic eaters. The main issue with this method of feeding is that it’s often then difficult to get the hedgehog to convert to a kibble-based diet later if the need arises. Wild hedgehogs eat and drink specific things that are easily accessible and found while foraging. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. What Do Hedgehogs Eat When Kept As Pets? Hedgehogs do not seem to be very picky eaters, but it is important that you do not feed them the wrong things. The kibble size is important too. Hedgehogs are considered either omnivores or insectivores, depending on the source referenced. This could make them sick and could hurt their digestive system. The problems arise with those who are rather greedy and those who are very lazy! Chitin is found in the hard exoskeleton of insects and is primarily a protein source but also provides some fiber. Hedgehogs are insectivores, feeding primarily on grubs, spiders, snails, small vertebrates, and more. Each day, one to two tablespoons of kibble should be offered to an adult hedgehog in addition to a teaspoon of fruits and vegetables and some insects. Before we begin to look at hedgehog diet in captivity, it’s important to understand how wild hedgehogs are adapted to their diet. Your email address will not be published. Hedgehogs have the unique ability to digest chitin from insects. Berries – such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries – and green leafy vegetables are a particularly helpful addition from a nutritional perspective. However, they are great runners and in their search for food (according to the African Pygmy Hedgehog Club UK) they can cover up to 12 miles a night. Chitin is a necessary component to a hedgehog's diet but it isn't the only thing a hedgehog needs from its food, so various items should be fed in addition to insects. In the wild, hedgehogs are opportunistic omnivores, who may eat virtually any small animal they encounter, although they exhibit a distinct preference for insects and other invertebrates. These are usually different types of cat kibble but could also include good quality hedgehog feed. Treats should only ever be fed in small amounts because of the danger of obesity. Some owners of pet hedgehogs will mix cat food in with scraps of chicken, turkey or lean pork, and this is one of the best things that you can feed these little guys. Mealworms and crickets are the most commonly fed insects in captivity but the staple diet for a hedgehog should be a store-bought, specially formulated hedgehog kibble. Fatty liver disease, liver failure, and cancer. The natural diet is extremely variable, and the opportunistic tendencies of this little forager mean they would experience a widespread of textures, tastes and smells when eating. So what do Hedgehogs eat? From fish and chicken, Asparagus and green collards, watermelons, and berries, their diet is … The exception to this is a diet based on quality wet cat food, which is an appropriate diet for a hedgehog, at least nutritionally. Occasionally, they may also dine on worms, slugs or snails, which could help to keep your garden pest- free. There are a few things to be sure you don’t feed your hedgehog. Different species of hedgehogs will have slightly varied diets depending on the part of the world they are from, but most pet hedgehogs are African Pygmy hedgehogs so being a hybrid, their diet isn't the same as a wild hedgehog. Hedgehogs can enjoy a wide variety of treats from cooked meat to cottage cheese (which is naturally lactose-free) and eggs to baby food. Never feed a ‘live’ insect that has died in the box, as it may already be decomposing. A few pieces of apple, carrot or greens are suitable for this purpose. You will need to place this in a heavy ceramic bowl so that it doesn’t get spilled. A ‘base food’ cat kibble or premium hedgehog food. Hedgehogs are considered either omnivores or insectivores, depending on the source referenced. What fruits do hedgehogs eat? Feeding Your Hedgehog Fruits and vegetables. Hedgehogs live mostly in Africa, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand. Follow these guidelines and you’ll soon be able to relax about your hedgehog’s food and concentrate on enjoying their quirky ways. What do baby hedgehogs eat? Pet hedgehogs. So providing them with a source of fresh vegetables and concluded insects is a good idea. Canned insects are usually devoured happily as they have a strong smell, but – for the same reason – might not be acceptable to some humans. General Pet Hedgehog Food Guidelines . Sugary food (the exception is a little fruit). You can usually get away with feeding them scraps of meat, from cooked beef to lean pork, turkey and chicken. Fresh water should always also be available to your hedgehog. There are hedgehog enthusiasts who feed their own mixes and fresh diets with success. Raw meats unless part of a properly sourced (pre-frozen) raw diet.

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