what do pet hedgehogs eat

Feeding Your Hedgehog Fruits and vegetables. In the wild, hedgehogs live on a diet of insects and sometimes rodents like small mice. Are Rats Good Pets? It should also be checked whether the food is hard or soft. Raw meats unless part of a properly sourced (pre-frozen) raw diet. 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. Hedgehogs are prone to obesity, so it is of utmost importance to monitor how much you are feeding it. Hedgehogs have been known to eat certain species of fish. A hedgehog may eat more at night when it is most active and running on its wheel, so don't worry if you don't see it eating much during the day. What Do Hedgehogs Eat When Kept As Pets? Recreate this nutrient balance for your pet hedgehog to keep him happy and healthy. However, for the pet hedgehog, their diet is more of that of an omnivore. By Elton Dunn. 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 live mostly in Africa, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand. Although pet hedgehogs are considered omnivores, their diet should be heavily meat based because their bodies aren’t able to digest large amounts of plant matter. The hedgehog or cat kibble should make up the majority of the daily diet, and even though a hedgehog is very active at night and burns a lot of energy, you'll want to control how much kibble it gets. Weight variation in adult hedgehogs is huge – with healthy adults, who are not obese, ranging from 200g to 1,000g. There are hedgehog enthusiasts who feed their own mixes and fresh diets with success. If you want to serve your hedgehog bacon, it is to be prepared and cut into small pieces. It’s much harder to get your hog to lose weight than it is to prevent weight gain in the first place. Some other animal protein foods (could be different types of cat kibble). You can buy a specially prepared hedgehog food mix from some larger pet stores, but. In addition to it being raw, it is usually “aged”. 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. 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. This post may contain affiliate links. Preferably not pork or beef as these are harder to digest; a named bird or animal (‘chicken’ rather than ‘poultry’), either as meat or meat-meal, rather than derivatives which have much less food value and less digestible protein; no artificial preservatives (such as BHT or ethoxyquin) which are associated with potential tumor growth; if using a hedgehog food, it should still list meat as the first ingredient. Wild hedgehogs eat and drink specific things that are easily accessible and found while foraging. In this article, we will be giving you all the information you need to feed your hedgehog a great diet. Other (fruit, fungi, vegetation, eggs, roots, carrion, etc. When pieces are too large, they can be hard to chew. Many hedgehog owners buy high … In order to keep a pet hedgehog healthy, you need to mimic this diet. You may want to keep a written log of the different foods you try. Your email address will not be published. Hedgehogs can enjoy a wide variety of treats from cooked meat to cottage cheese (which is naturally lactose-free) and eggs to baby food. He currently lives with his wife & three guinea pigs in Texas. You will need to place this in a heavy ceramic bowl so that it doesn’t get spilled. This is often an excellent dry cat kibble, picked to be suitable for their pet’s life stage and weight. 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. 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. Before we begin to look at hedgehog diet in captivity, it’s important to understand how wild hedgehogs are adapted to their diet. If this kind of diet interests you, please seek out someone who is well-established in feeding their hedgehogs with the kind of diet you intend to use and ask them to assist you. All Your Questions Answered, Invertebrates (termites, millipedes, grasshoppers, ants, worms, etc. Many hogs seem unwilling or unable to learn to use a water bottle, and it’s safer if these are never be used as the only water source. There is so much more to know. Lower protein and fat levels are needed for fully grown adults and those who have a tendency towards putting on weight. What makes up a wild hedgehog’s diet? Hedgehog Diets in the Wild. As for hedgehog treats, you can feed them meal worms, as … It’s also worth noting that many captive hedgehogs will refuse new food, and others can get diarrhea with changes in the diet. As well adapted insectivorous omnivores, they have a set of 36 teeth, including 22 sharp, raspy molars and premolars for crushing and grinding prey. Additionally, wild hedgehogs will hibernate in cold seasons in colder climates (not in Africa) and rely on fat reserves in extremely hot seasons. 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%). Hedgehogs can eat other pet food. Steven is the guy behind SmallPetJournal. Feeding on … What do hedgehogs eat and drink? If you look at the actual diet of a hedgehog you'll see that the omnivore description is probably a more accurate one since hedgehogs in the wild will eat a variety of foods, not just insects. This could make them sick and could hurt their digestive system. What do pet hedgehogs eat. They feed on multiple foods groups including protein, low-fat carbs, fruits, vegetables, and water, which is very essential to them. 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. Larger and very active hedgehogs may need more food, but your hedgehog's weight should be monitored with the use of a baby scale. Follow these guidelines and you’ll soon be able to relax about your hedgehog’s food and concentrate on enjoying their quirky ways. Instead, they eat everything raw. Being insectivores, hedgehogs need nutrients that may not be found in many other pet foods. That said, there’s little point leaving insects out for a hedgehog as they can get all they need for themselves. 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. The Good, the Bad (& the Wonderful? In which case, you may want to take a more cautious approach. A little fruit and veg should be given on most days. These include: There are a few foods that are often mentioned as potentially toxic to hedgehogs because they are toxic to some other species, and toxicity is unclear. They will often take advantage of baby rodents, fallen fruit, birds’ eggs, baby birds, frogs, and carrion. The main purpose of treats is to add variety and extra nutrition to the main diet. From April on, moths and their larvae are popular hedgehog food. They can be useful for those who make up their own mix or feed a cooked or raw fresh diet. If there is more than a 10 percent weight gain you should cut back on how much food is offered. If you are struggling, you can approach one of the hedgehog clubs or groups for experienced people to help you. So, what do hedgehogs eat in the wild? But then there are certain predators that are able to successfully hunt and eat hedgehogs. Because the hedgehog diet is so different from what you’d feed a cat or dog, these pets can be a challenge to keep. They may also enjoy occasional treats in addition to these foods. Domesticated hedgehogs can consume anything from one teaspoon to one tablespoon of dry food in one night. 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. What do African pygmy hedgehogs eat? Hedgehogs are insectivores (insect-eaters), but they are not strict insectivores, as wild hedgehogs will eat different types of food, including mollusks (snails and worms), amphibians, lizards, snakes, birds’ eggs, fish, carrion, mushrooms, roots, berries, and melons. Hedgehogs are generalists and feed on a wide range of things. The main types of insects that are suitable for hedgehogs are mealworms, waxworms, silkworms, crickets, and grasshoppers. Never feed a ‘live’ insect that has died in the box, as it may already be decomposing. Hedgehogs earned the title of opportunistic eaters. Required fields are marked *. What do wild hedgehogs eat? Mixing more than one cat kibble (or hedgehog food) together gives the main diet variety in terms of nutrients, taste, smell and the size of the biscuit pieces. The most essential invertebrates in hedgehogs’ diet are caterpillars, slugs, millipedes, earwigs, beetles, and worms. Foraging opportunities can help to keep the hedgehog active and can easily be offered by putting the kibble in various places around the habitat. Hedgehogs mainly eat creepy crawlies. There are times when a hedgehog will naturally need to eat more. Bacon. Hedgehogs feast primarily on … Hedgehogs are insectivores, feeding primarily on grubs, spiders, snails, small vertebrates, and more. It is best however to avoid the fish flavors as hedgehogs are not partial to it. Sometimes, they encounter some wild fruits and vegetables that they’ll happily eat. A Pet Hedgehog ’s staple diet should be mostly dry cat biscuits. Should Your Hedgehog Eat Cat Food or Hedgehog Food? 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 Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.ca. Occasionally, they may also dine on worms, slugs or snails, which could help to keep your garden pest- free. In the solid diet of the hedgehog, the main components are insects, rodents, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Treats should only ever be fed in small amounts because of the danger of obesity. There’s always the concern of possible insecticides that come with almost any place you can purchase insects. Obviously, a large hedgehog is likely to eat a great deal more than a very small one. Small seeds (hard to pick up and hedgehogs can’t remove the seed case, so the seed is essentially indigestible). and small amounts of … I n nature, wild hedgehogs are insectivores and feed off of wild bugs and insects. 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. This will not only help with weight management but enriches life for your prickly friend. They will eat any bugs such as worms, night crawlers, earwigs, millipedes, slugs, and caterpillars that they can find. 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. General Pet Hedgehog Food Guidelines . As well as nutrient deficiencies (which can cause a whole host of problems) these include: These can usually be prevented by managing your hedgehog’s weight well and sticking to the recommended dietary levels of protein and fat. When they awaken from hibernation in spring, hedgehogs usually eat earthworms and snails, easy prey even for the not too nimble hedgehog. 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. It is the safest. Naturally, hedgehogs are insectivores, taking over 70% of their key nutrients from insects and beetles in the wild. If you offer an array of foods safe for hedgehogs, your pet should not need vitamin supplements. 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. Many people choose a ‘lite’ option. 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. This would also be based on good quality cat food, with chicken or turkey as its primary ingredient. Activity levels also vary greatly between individuals, so this will affect how much food is needed. Supplements (optional). Good quality dry cat food is usually a good food source for a hedgehog. Pet hedgehogs will also each cooked, lean chicken and … Hedgehogs are considered either omnivores or insectivores, depending on the source referenced. Top 20 Safe Woods for Rats (& Toxic Woods to Avoid), How Do Guinea Pigs Sleep? So providing them with a source of fresh vegetables and concluded insects is a good idea. This can help your hedgehogs to stay healthy and live a long life. Heat dried insects have the advantage of being widely available, but they may have a lower nutritional quality. Around 15% fiber is also thought to be desirable. [ 2] T They also eat at night. 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. 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! This is balanced so that it contains the right amounts of proteins and fats. They eat a diet rich in protein and low in fat, not too dissimilar to cats. Hedgehogs have the unique ability to digest chitin from insects. Treats are enriching for your hog. Hedgehogs are not picky eaters so they will eat much of what they have been given. This includes … make for a greedy eating style. 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. 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. Different species of hedgehogs will have slightly varied diets depending on the … 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. The worms are higher in fat, so don’t overdo it. John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images. Hedgehogs will often eat small amounts of vegetable and can be given small amounts of fruit as treats. Some people choose to use a hedgehog chow as the base food instead, and while many of these products are inappropriate for hedgehogs, there are a few that are quality feeds with a good ratio of protein and fat. You can buy a specially prepared hedgehog food mix from some larger pet stores, but this is not available in all areas. Adrienne Kruzer, RVT, has worked with a variety of animals for over 15 years, including birds of prey, reptiles, and small mammals. See … 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. What do baby hedgehogs eat? Some other animal protein foods (could be different types of cat kibble). 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. However, they do crumble if handled heavily, so need to be treated gently and stored in a ridged container. What Do Hedgehogs Eat? Most of their diet is made up of invertebrates. Apple seeds (contain a compound that converts to cyanide in the stomach. There is prepared food that is made especially for hedgehogs. However, as far as the liquid is concerned do not give them any other thing other than water. 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. This kibble has mashed up insects along with vitamins and minerals to create a balanced diet specifically formulated for an African pygmy hedgehog. If your hedgehog is likely to look for food during the day (some do), then leave a few pieces for them to find around the habitat but remove the dish until the evening. 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). The exception to this is a diet based on quality wet cat food, which is an appropriate diet for a hedgehog, at least nutritionally. ), Healthy Treats for Your Hedgehogs (Plus, Unhealthy Treats to Avoid). A ‘base food’ cat kibble or premium hedgehog food. correct levels of fat and protein (see above); an easily digested meat (such as chicken or turkey) as the primary ingredient. They get their main source of fiber and chitin from the exoskeleton of insects or invertebrates. We’ll look at what (and how) wild hedgehogs eat, and what is known about their nutrient requirements. These are usually different types of cat kibble but could also include good quality hedgehog feed. What fruits do hedgehogs eat? Hedgehogs will readily eat meat-based cat food. Hedgehogs are to eat fish in moderation due to the level of mercury that could be in the fish. It is helpful to keep a log of your hedgehog’s weight each week so that you can spot issues quickly. Pet hedgehogs are unique in both their appearance and their care as a small pet. Freeze-dried insects can also be re-hydrated easily. It is generally accepted that hedgehogs have a good level of dietary flexibility, having a wide range of foods that they can use depending on their habitat. Another treat of a different kind is to feed a wet meal. From fish and chicken, Asparagus and green collards, watermelons, and berries, their diet is … Berries – such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries – and green leafy vegetables are a particularly helpful addition from a nutritional perspective. 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. Dried fruit (high sugar, sticky foods can lead to tooth decay). Here are our favorite list of foods that can be provided to your hedgy every day. Canned insects are usually devoured happily as they have a strong smell, but – for the same reason – might not be acceptable to some humans. A few pieces of apple, carrot or greens are suitable for this purpose. Hedgehogs Eat High-Quality Dry Cat Food with a Main Ingredient of Chicken. So, what do pet hedgehogs eat? The nocturnal animals also do not shy away from gnawing on a dead mouse and other carrion. Occasionally, hedgehogs even eat vertebrates, such as snakes, … All commercial kibble will already be supplemented. Many people suggest leaving out a bowl full of kibble all the time, which will work for many hogs. Overgrown patches, compost heaps and log piles can all be used by resting hogs. Readily eat meat-based cat food, with chicken or turkey as its primary Ingredient are under the misguided that! About their nutrient requirements include good quality hedgehog feed and fruit/veg as well so providing with. What makes up a wild hedgehog ’ s diet how do guinea pigs rabbits! As worms, slugs, millipedes, grasshoppers, ants, worms, etc )! Treats in addition to these, hedgehogs live on a dead mouse and other ‘ cleaning. Level of mercury that could be in the box, as it can cause the ’! 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