Buying a pet hedgehog should be a fun and exciting experience. Many people think that these little pets are great, but you want to be prepared ahead of time.
It’s wise to learn about the needs of this pet so you can get things right. If this is your first hedgehog, you likely don’t know a ton about caring for them.
One important aspect of caring for any pet is feeding them. You need to give your hedgehog the right types of food, or it isn’t going to stay healthy.
Below, you’ll learn about the dietary needs of hedgehogs. You’ll get all sorts of advice about taking care of hedgehogs that will help you out as a beginner.
What Do Wild Hedgehogs Like to Eat?
When you find hedgehogs out in the wild, they’re going to eat many different things. They will scavenge all sorts of different types of food.
It’s common for these animals to eat various types of fruits and vegetables. Whatever they can find, they will consume.
They will also eat many different types of bugs. It’s normal for them to eat beetles, worms, and other such bugs.
Hedgehogs also like feeding on slugs and snails. They’ll even eat baby mice or some types of small animals if they get the chance to do so.
What Do Baby Hedgehogs Eat?
Normally, a baby hedgehog would be eating only its mother’s milk for quite some time. Baby hedgehogs consume this milk for the first several weeks of their lives.
After three or four weeks have passed they will be able to eat solid foods. If you’re caring for a baby hedgehog at home, you’re going to need something to replace the mother’s milk.
It’s common for people to use goat’s milk or puppy’s milk for this purpose. You should be able to find what you need at a pet store.
After the baby hedgehog is old enough to eat solid food, you’ll be giving it many different things. These pets can eat mealworms, crickets, and waxworms for protein.
It’s also common to give baby hedgehogs fruits as treats. They seem to really enjoy apples, berries, melons, and bananas.
Veggies and cooked eggs can also be a useful part of the diet. Some people even feed baby hedgehogs cat kibble, but they need to weigh more than 300 grams before they can consume dry food.
Are Hedgehogs Carnivores?
Hedgehogs do eat meat, but they aren’t considered to be carnivores. They also eat veggies and many other things.
Are They Herbivores?
No, hedgehogs aren’t herbivores either. They need to be given meaty foods sometimes so they can get the right mix of protein and vitamins.
Are They Omnivores?
Yes, hedgehogs are omnivorous animals that are known to eat a variety of different things. You’ll be feeding them meaty foods, veggies, fruits, and more.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Cat Food?
Hedgehogs can eat cat food, and it’s not too unusual for people to give them cat kibble. They should be able to eat both dry cat food and wet cat food.
If you don’t have any other food for the hedgehog, cat food should be acceptable. It gives them plenty of the vitamins and minerals that they need to thrive.
However, it should be noted that it’s better to buy commercial hedgehog food from pet stores. This food is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of hedgehogs.
Can They Eat Dog Food?
Dog food is also acceptable for hedgehogs, but it’s not ideal. This food can be given to hedgehogs if you need them to get by for a few days.
Note that dog food will often be too big for hedgehogs to eat. The dog kibble should be broken down into smaller pieces that are more manageable for these little pets.
As with cat food, this should only be a temporary thing that you give to hedgehogs. It’s better to go with commercial hedgehog pet food.
Feed Hedgehogs Specific Hedgehog Food
Go out to a local pet store and buy commercial hedgehog food. This food is what you should be giving to the hedgehogs each day.
The food is designed to keep hedgehogs happy and healthy. It’s better to do this than to give the hedgehogs cat food or dog food.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Slugs?
Hedgehogs do indeed love eating slugs. They’re known to eat both slugs and snails.
Wild hedgehogs will help to reduce the population of slugs in garden areas. It’s normal for them to eat slugs.
You don’t need to feed hedgehogs slugs in your home if you don’t want to, though. It might not be the most practical food to give to these pets.
Can They Eat Pumpkin?
You’ll find that hedgehogs have a little bit of a sweet tooth. As such, they enjoy eating pumpkins as a snack.
However, it isn’t wise to give your hedgehogs pumpkins often. You might be able to give them pumpkin as a snack once per year, but it’s not wise for them to eat much.
You see, pumpkin is known for making hedgehogs poop a lot, and it can cause them to lose weight. So this isn’t the best snack to give to your pets.
What About Carrots?
Carrots are safe for hedgehogs to eat in small quantities. However, experts recommend avoiding them altogether.
Starchy veggies such as carrots aren’t the best options for hedgehogs. You’d be better off sticking with veggies such as green beans and cooked squash.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are going to be something that your hedgehogs will adore. These little pets are known to love blueberries.
This will be one of the best snacks that you can feed these pets. It’s also nice that blueberries contain antioxidants that are beneficial to hedgehogs.
Are Grapes Okay?
Sadly, feeding hedgehogs grapes will not be a good idea. You need to keep both grapes and raisins far away from hedgehogs.
This is because grapes are toxic to hedgehogs. If hedgehogs eat grapes they could wind up getting very sick.
The same holds true for most types of dried fruit. So keep raisins and other types of dried fruit away from your pet hedgehogs.
Is Bread a Good Idea?
Feeding hedgehogs bread is not a good idea. Bread doesn’t have much nutritional value when it comes to feeding hedgehogs.
A hedgehog would likely eat bread if you try to give it some. However, it’s simply not going to be a positive thing.
Bread isn’t known to harm hedgehogs, but it’s also not something that does them any good. Avoid giving bread to your hedgehog.
Can You Give Hedgehogs Milk?
Giving hedgehogs milk isn’t a good idea, either. You see, hedgehogs are very lactose intolerant.
If you try to feed these little pets standard cow’s milk, it’ll cause them to experience digestive issues. This is only going to make your pet go through unnecessary pain.
Avoid giving the hedgehogs cow’s milk since it isn’t good for them. Stick to having the hedgehogs drink water, and feed them normal recommended foods.
Can They Eat Lettuce?
Lettuce is a great thing to give to hedgehogs. Many veterinarians have touted giving leafy greens to these pets as supplementary foods and snacks.
You can feed your hedgehogs romaine lettuce or leaf lettuce. Just stay away from iceberg lettuce since it’s not nutritious and mostly contains water.
There are other greens that you can feed to these pets as well. They’re known to enjoy eating collard greens as well as kale.
What About Tomatoes?
Fresh tomatoes can be given to hedgehogs as snacks. They love biting into fresh tomatoes and these will make a very nutritious snack for your little animal friend.
Of course, you don’t want to feed these fruits to hedgehogs all the time. They should be given to hedgehogs only as snacks and in limited quantities.
You never want to go overboard when feeding these pets fruit. They love eating it, but too much fruit can be detrimental.
Are Bananas Safe?
Bananas are a good fruit that you can give to hedgehogs. They’re good to give to these pets as snacks because they contain so much fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
You don’t need to give your hedgehog an entire banana. That would be far too much to give the hedgehog at once.
Instead, you want to give your pet only one tablespoon of banana. This is enough to give the pet a good nutritious treat without overfeeding it.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Chocolate?
Never feed hedgehogs chocolate under any circumstances. This is going to be very dangerous for your pet.
Chocolate is not something that you should be giving to most animals. It’s toxic to hedgehogs, and it can make them sick.
You might love chocolate, but that doesn’t mean you need to share it with your pet hedgehog. When hedgehogs eat chocolate, they can experience respiratory issues.
It’s the cocoa that causes this to happen. Large amounts of cocoa are known to cause significant respiratory problems in hedgehogs.
Can They Eat Cucumbers?
Cucumbers are another common snack that many pet owners give to hedgehogs. It’s one of the most popular hedgehog snacks in the summer.
They love eating cucumbers because they’re tasty and they provide essential nutrients. It’s also nice that cucumbers contain a lot of water, and that helps your pet to stay cool in the summer.
What About Grass?
Technically, hedgehogs can eat grass, but this shouldn’t be part of their diet. You don’t want to feed your pet hedgehog grass.
Grass has the potential to cause these little pets to experience digestive issues. It can be tough to digest, and hedgehogs don’t have the right enzymes to digest grass easily.
So you should likely avoid allowing your hedgehog to consume grass. It’s not recommended to let your hedgehog go outside, so it shouldn’t ever be near grass.
Are Mealworms an Option?
Mealworms are sometimes given to hedgehogs as treats. However, there is some controversy about whether this is an appropriate food for them or not.
Some people say that mealworms should be avoided. There’s some evidence to suggest that mealworms might contribute to the development of bone diseases.
This is kind of like a type of junk food for hedgehogs. It isn’t something that they need to eat, but it’s something that people give them as a snack.
If you choose to give mealworms to your hedgehogs, be sure to avoid doing so more than twice per week. Give them only a few mealworms and wait until the next week to give your pet more.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Crickets?
Crickets will be a very good treat for your hedgehogs. You can feed them crickets in a few different forms.
Some people choose to buy freeze-dried crickets or canned crickets. You can also buy live crickets so the hedgehogs can enjoy chasing them down and eating them.
This gives the hedgehogs a little bit of exercise as they’re enjoying their snacks. Overall, crickets are recommended as an occasional snack for hedgehogs as long as you don’t go overboard.
What About Avocados?
Avocados will absolutely not be appropriate for hedgehogs to eat. This is another food that is highly toxic to hedgehogs.
Feeding these pets avocados will do them harm. So you need to avoid avocados and keep them far away from your pet for safety purposes.
Can They Eat Raw Meat?
Feeding raw meat to your pets is generally never a wise choice. This is also true when you’re feeding pet hedgehogs.
Raw meat has the potential to carry various forms of bacteria. You could expose your hedgehog to Salmonella or E Coli.
People do sometimes feed hedgehogs cooked meat, though. If you want to do this, it would be best to go with some type of lean meat.
Cooked turkey, chicken, and beef will be acceptable. Hedgehogs do seem to enjoy eating cooked meat, but you don’t need to make this a regular part of their diet.
Can They Eat Potatoes?
Potatoes don’t need to be fed to hedgehogs. Sadly, potatoes will wind up doing more harm than good.
This is because potatoes are starchy veggies that can cause hedgehogs to gain weight. They have very little nutritional value for hedgehogs.
On top of this, potatoes are relatively high in both carbohydrates and calories. So it’ll make it more likely that your hedgehog will become obese.
It’s also important to know that starchy veggies like potatoes are tough for hedgehogs to digest properly. So this is a type of food that is to be avoided.
Knowing more about how to feed hedgehogs will help immensely. You now know about the things you should feed these pets as well as things you must avoid.
Never feed hedgehogs chocolate, avocados, raw meat, or starchy veggies like potatoes. Doing so is only going to harm your poor little pet.
You want to focus on feeding your pet healthy types of food. This will mostly involve feeding the pet commercial hedgehog food and then supplementing that with healthy snacks.
There are many veggies, fruits, and insects that are safe to feed these pets. You need to do so in moderation so the pet doesn’t gain too much weight, though.
Approach this situation carefully and try to feed your pet high-quality foods. It’ll help your hedgehog to thrive and remain happy in your home.
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.