My hedgehog won't eat - Causes and solutions

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If you have a hedgehog as a pet You will know that obesity is a problem that occurs frequently in these animals. A healthy and balanced diet will help prevent this problem. However, sometimes you may notice that your hedgehog stops eating or drastically reduces its diet. This can be caused by various diseases or by a poor diet.

If you want to know the causes that cause your hedgehog not to eat, keep reading this AnimalWised article and find out to solve the problem as soon as possible and offer you a full and happy life.

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  1. The hedgehog feeding
  2. How much should my hedgehog eat?
  3. My hedgehog does not eat
  4. Hibernation
  5. How to avoid hibernation
  6. What I can do?

The hedgehog feeding

Hedgehogs are omnivorous animals in captivity, they eat fruits, vegetables, but mainly insects and small animals. They are classified as insectivores because their diet in the wild is based on insects and small vertebrates and invertebrates. However, as we have just mentioned, in captivity his diet also includes fruits and vegetables that provide him with vitamins..

In captivity it can be fed with high quality feed for cats (never of dogs) or specific feed for hedgehogs. Also canned cat food is suitable for hedgehogs. Remember that the pieces have to be small, according to the size of your hedgehog. Of course, we can also include small insects to the diet, mealworms, bait or crickets. One a day is enough. For their part, fruits and vegetables they will be occasional and in small quantities. You can offer him small pieces of banana, potato, peas, tomatoes...

The food ration is usually given in the evening. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so they will be more active during the night hours than during the day. Servings should not be very large. This way we will avoid overweight problems. In the morning it is convenient to remove the food that has been left over.

During the day you can leave a small amount of feed and remember that you should always have water, especially if you eat dry food.

If you don't feed it, you can divide the night ration into two servings. Increasing the amount of insects and animal proteins to compensate.

  • Forbidden foods for hedgehogs

Sweets, milk, onions, walnuts, peanuts, and raisins are harmful foods for hedgehogs. They should be avoided in your diet.

How much should my hedgehog eat?

Each hedgehog needs a different portion. Aspects such as age, health status and variety of hedgehog must be taken into account. Young hedgehogs and pregnant or lactating females should have more, in addition to a higher protein intake.

As a general rule, an adult male will weigh between 500 and 600 grams and an adult female 250-400 grams. Depending on the variety of your hedgehog, its ideal weight may vary.

To know how much you should feed him, you must know your hedgehog. Ideally, you should have a small amount of food left in the morning. Try different amounts for several days, if he consumes all the food in the first hours after offering it, it means that you are not giving him enough food.

You should also pay attention to which foods he likes the most. Like all animals, they have their preferences and not all insects or all fruits will be to their liking.

Once you have observed how much you usually consume, keep it. See if your hedgehog maintains its weight, and if so, is the amount of food appropriate.

My hedgehog does not eat

Even if your hedgehog's diet is adequate, your hedgehog may not eat. This can be caused by different causes:

  • Parasites: can suffer like other animals, internal and external parasites.
  • Oral problems: oral diseases such as gingivitis, tartar or periodontitis are quite frequent in these animals. Proper oral hygiene helps prevent these problems. You can give him cat treats to prevent tartar. Excessively bland diets should be avoided.
  • Intestinal problems: salmonellosis is a bacterial disease that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite.
  • Neoplasia: the appearance of tumors increases after three years of age. It can affect the whole body, although the most common are breast tumors and oral carcicomas. It causes weight loss and anorexia. It is important that you periodically check the body of your hedgehog looking for possible lumps.
  • Anorexy: Sometimes the lack of appetite can be caused by a sudden change or stress situation. Air currents can affect them a lot.

Hibernation

In nature, with the arrival of winter the hedgehogs tend to hibernate. Not everyone does, only if they have reached the right weight and the conditions are right. They remain in a state of lethargy for several months. Depending on the variety of hedgehog there may also be variations. For example, the African hedgehog does not have a tendency to hibernate because temperatures are usually high in its habitat..

In captivity On the other hand, they are not exposed to low temperatures and have constant food, so they do not usually hibernate. However, hedgehogs are very susceptible to changes in temperature, and their exposure to very low temperatures or low light conditions can lead to your hedgehog hibernating..

The symptom that may indicate that your hedgehog is beginning to hibernate are the following:

  • Colder than normal body and legs
  • Loss of appetite and thirst
  • Decreased activity both day and night
  • Less abundant droppings
  • Decay
  • Lack of balance

How to avoid hibernation

The hibernation process usually causes the animal to lose even more weight, so if our hedgehog does not eat and, therefore, is below its ideal weight, it will not be convenient to start it. We can prevent our hedgehog from going into hibernation by controlling the temperature and light conditions:

  • Temperature: the room temperature must be between 22 and 27ºC. You should not allow your hedgehog to be in colder areas. In winter you can move its cage to the warmest place in the house, where it does not receive drafts.
  • Light: we can offer natural or artificial light. The important thing is that they have about 10 hours of light a day, so that they do not alter their cycles.

Acting quickly can reverse the hibernation process. Place a heat source, such as a hot water bottle, in your hedgehog's cage. Little by little, when you recover your body heat, you will recover. It is important that you do not apply very strong heat sources, since his body does not respond to him and he will not be able to move away if he burns. It should be a gradual process.

What I can do?

  • If it has been more than two days since your hedgehog has stopped eating you should go to your vet. This way you will rule out the diseases that you may suffer and that as we have seen affect your appetite.
  • On specific occasions, your hedgehog may stop eating for a day or two. Vary your diet a bit and include some bugs if you normally don't. If your hedgehog's diet is varied and balanced, it shouldn't have problems eating.
  • Make a teeth cleaning Complete your hedgehog from time to time to avoid oral problems. Nails also need a regular trim.
  • You must not forget to deworm it both internally and externally on a regular basis. Consult your vet on the matter.
  • Take care of your environment. Make sure the temperature, humidity and light conditions are suitable. It incorporates a thermometer and a lamp or heat mat in its cage to more effectively control its environment.

By following these tips and knowing the most common diseases that affect hedgehogs, we can act and prevent feeding problems. Carrying out a weight and nutritional control we will make sure that our hedgehog is healthy and happy.

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