Hedgehogs are popular pets to keep, but their owners can face some problems as they would with any other pet. One of these problems could be that their hedgehog is not eating or drinking or accidentally left without food or water.
So, how long can a hedgehog go without water or food?
Hedgehogs are small animals. They have small bodies with not much space to store excess food and water. Hedgehogs can easily become dehydrated and malnourished within a day without their required food and water intake. This will depend on the size and age of your hedgehog.
When should you feed a hedgehog and give it water? What are the signs of dehydration in a hedgehog? What are the signs that a hedgehog is starving?
Let us find out!
How Long Can Hedgehogs Go Without Water and Food?
Hedgehogs are fast becoming popular pets. Even though they are very cute animals, they can be pretty needy when it comes to their care requirements, as they need a very specific environment to survive and thrive.
But as they are becoming popular, some problems can pop up as with any pet. For example, you go on holiday for the weekend and forget to leave extra water in your hedgehog’s enclosure.
When you return home from your holiday, the water bowl is tipped over and is bone dry. This can make you panic, as you do not know how long exactly your hedgehog has gone without water. The same thing can happen with their food. When this happens, do you need to be worried?
The time until dehydration and starvation set in will depend on your hedgehog’s size and age, as smaller and younger hedgehogs can suffer from dehydration and hunger faster than older and bigger hedgehogs, as their bodies are smaller, meaning they can store less in them.
If your hedgehog may have gone a few days without food and water, you need to look for possible signs of starvation and dehydration. We will discuss the signs later on in this article.
If you are new to hedgehog care, you may not know when to feed or water your hedgehog, which can cause problems for them. Let’s cover this first to ensure your hedgehog receives its required food and water when it needs it.
When to Feed Hedgehogs
As hedgehogs are small animals and are nocturnal, they need to be fed every day in the evening as they wake up. Your hedgehog must have access to fresh food every day. You need to ensure their diet is diverse and nutrient-rich.
If you forget to feed your hedgehog on time, you should feed it as soon as you remember. These animals are small and can quickly suffer from starvation, especially if they are young, which can cause problems with their development.
You can leave out some food for them during the night. They will be active and become hungry while you are asleep.
When to Give Hedgehogs Fresh Water
Hedgehogs should always have fresh water available; ensure you give them fresh water daily in a clean bowl. Hedgehogs can get dehydrated very quickly, and a dehydrated hedgehog will not eat its food, meaning it can begin to starve too.
It is always best to clean out your hedgehog’s water right before you feed them, as they will drink water after eating to help them digest their food. This way, you can ensure they are drinking clean fresh water before you go to bed.
Remember that your hedgehog will need more water to stay hydrated in the hotter summer months, so always provide extra water.
Signs that a Hedgehog Is Dehydrated
So, if you think your hedgehog has gone a while without water, what are the signs you should look for that will indicate dehydration and a possible visit to the local vet?
There are different methods to tell if your hedgehog is dehydrated and how dehydrated they are. Depending on the results, you may need to take your hedgehog to the vet for medical assistance, as your hedgehog may need a drip to survive.
Some signs your hedgehog is dehydrated include:
- When you pull up some of the spines on your hedgehog’s back, does the skin spring back into place, or does it stay in place? If it stays in place, your hedgehog may be dehydrated, and if it takes more than ten seconds for the skin to return to normal, you need to take your hedgehog to the vet.
- If your hedgehog is wobbling and struggling to walk, this can indicate that your hedgehog is dehydrated.
- If your hedgehog is lethargic and does not want to move, this can indicate dehydration.
You can try and make some rehydration fluid for your hedgehog when it is dehydrated. The correct solution is two pints of boiled water mixed with one tbsp salt and one tbsp sugar dissolved in the water.
Give this to your hedgehog when it is dehydrated; you can carefully use a syringe or pipette to feed this fluid to your hedgehog slowly. Take your hedgehog to the local vet for a check-up as soon as you can.
Signs that a Hedgehog Is Starving
If your hedgehog has not eaten in a while, then your hedgehog will show signs of starvation; these signs include:
- If your hedgehog is weak and struggling to walk around its enclosure, it may be weak from lack of food
- If your hedgehog has lost weight, this can indicate malnutrition and starvation
- If your hedgehog looks worse for wear and scraggly, this can indicate malnutrition and mean they are staving
If your hedgehog is starving, you need to slowly introduce some soft food to it, as you must not let it overeat in this state, or its stomach will burst. Feed it in small amounts throughout the night and get it to a vet as soon as you can.
Hedgehogs are not that hardy when missing a few meals or not having water for a while. Hedgehogs can easily be affected by lack of food and water, which is why they should never go a day without it.
If your hedgehog is sick, then it may refuse to eat or drink. When this happens, you need to get your hedgehog to a vet fast, as this can cause them to go downhill quickly. Good luck with your hedgehog!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. I have a wife and two children and love taking them to the zoo to see all the animals. I grew up with dogs and fish and now have two dogs and two cats. I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.