What do hedgehogs eat?

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Hedgehogs are friendly to almost everyone. Its habitat includes Europe, Asia, and Africa. There are different species and some are suitable as pets, like the African pygmy hedgehog. Others, native to different territories, such as the common hedgehog or the Moorish one in Spain, are prohibited from keeping them and can only be found in freedom..

If you have decided to live with a hedgehog or have found one and take care of it until transferring it to a specialized center, in this AnimalWised article we explain what do hedgehogs eat.

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  1. Nutritional needs of hedgehogs
  2. What do wild hedgehogs eat?
  3. What do domestic hedgehogs eat?
  4. What do baby hedgehogs eat?

Nutritional needs of hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are mammalian animals with high energy needs. This leads them to have to eat large amounts of food to stay. For this reason, many species hibernate when weather conditions make it difficult to obtain food resources..

The basis of the hedgehog's diet is made up of animal protein. The rest is made up, to a lesser extent, of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals. As a guide, these would be the most appropriate percentages to make up the menu:

  • Maximum 35% protein of animal origin and ideally € 22.
  • Maximum 15% fat and ideally 5%, since otherwise it would accumulate.
  • At least 2% fiber, ideally a percentage of 15%.

Next, we review what hedgehogs eat to elaborate the most suitable menu taking into account these proportions.

What do wild hedgehogs eat?

In their natural habitat, hedgehogs come out at dusk to search for food. Some are capable of traveling enormous distances at night. They eat considerable amounts of insects of any kind, especially from underground, such as:

  • Earth worms.
  • Slugs.
  • Snails.
  • Small vertebrates.

They are also capable of attacking and consume snakes and they do not despise eggs and even baby birds if they get the chance. In addition, they can ingest seeds and fruits.

In general, they are appreciated for the control of insects that they carry out thanks to their diet. Knowing what ground hedgehogs eat, when we take care of one of these specimens at home, it is important that we try to reproduce as much as possible the diet that is natural for them.

What do domestic hedgehogs eat?

It is quite common for hedgehogs kept in the home to feed on I think for cats. It is an option, since both the feed and the cans formulated for these felines have a composition that closely resembles the correct diet for a hedgehog. On the other hand, the feed for dogs or for ferrets does not work, as it does not adapt so much to the nutritional needs of the hedgehog.

But for the cat food to be adequate, it is necessary to choose quality, with a high percentage of protein of animal origin and low in fat. We must check their composition on the label, since not all meet these criteria. Simply provide a couple of tablespoons a day.

There are also some for sale foods specially prepared for hedgehogs. They would be the best option as they are formulated to cover all your nutritional needs, but you also have to check the label, because not all of them have the quality they should.

Natural foods for hedgehogs

The menu can complete with insects, They can be purchased live, dead or dehydrated in specialized stores. They can be given insects such as cricket, grasshopper or tenebrio or mealworm 3-4 times a week. It is not a good idea to offer them any that we find on the street, since sometimes they are contaminated with pesticides or carry parasites. There are also common foods in our pantries that are suitable for hedgehogs, such as meats, fruits or vegetables, of which you can have half a tablespoon of dessert a day. These are some examples:

  • Chicken, turkey, or pork cooked without salt or sauces.
  • Salmon, tuna or horse mackerel, cooked like meat and without bones.
  • Boiled or scrambled eggs, better only the white and occasional consumption.
  • Apple, peach, pear, banana, watermelon, melon, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry or mango, only the pulp, without seeds or peels.
  • Cooked carrots, potatoes, or legumes.

Forbidden foods for hedgehogs

On the other hand, among the basic care of a hedgehog is knowing what foods cannot be provided, which are:

  • Citrus or acidic foods, as they can cause digestive discomfort and irritation in the mouth.
  • Nuts or seeds, as they can choke on them and are difficult to digest.
  • Grapes or raisins, being toxic to hedgehogs. The same happens with avocado, onion or garlic.
  • Cereals such as corn, oats, rice, or wheat.
  • Dairy, as they do not tolerate lactose, although they can consume organic yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Of course, the diet cannot contain sweets, alcohol, caffeine, or junk food..

If you have the company of a domestic hedgehog, we encourage you to watch the following AnimalWised video, where we explain the care of these small animals, including their diet.

What do baby hedgehogs eat?

As mammals, the first food of the hedgehog offspring is the breastmilk. If they are with their mother, she will be in charge of feeding them and providing all the care. We don't have to intervene. On the other hand, if they are orphaned hedgehogs, we will have to raise them artificially using one of the formulated milk for kittens. They will consume only milk until approximately six weeks of age, but by five they will begin to try the same foods that we offer to their mother.

In the case of giving them feed, we can add water to form a mush that they assimilate better in the beginning. If we are raising them, it is a good idea to make the porridge with the milk and start giving it in the bottle. Little by little we will leave more solid fragments to promote the transition from a liquid diet to a solid one. Once weaning is achieved, up to six months of life they must have food at your disposal 24 hours a day.

And if your hedgehog is a newborn, the following article on Care for newborn hedgehogs may be helpful..

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