Hedgehogs are omnivorous or insectivorous, depending on who you ask. That means their menu covers a lot of different food items. Now, you might wonder what kind of human food can you feed a hedgehog? In this post, we’ll cover exactly this question along with the basics of hedgehog nutrition needs. In fact, after reading this article, you’ll know exactly what you can give to your hedgehog as a treat from the fridge.
What human food can you feed a hedgehog?
Take a look at the following lists. In the first one, we put all the food items that should be eaten as main food sources. The second list shows all the food that is best for snacks and treats. But do remember that this is just a broad overview. All of the food comes with important exceptions. Some common food is dangerous for hedgehogs!
As the main food sources…
- Boiled eggs
- Lean meat (preferably poultry)
As for snacks and treats…
Is it true you can give them human baby food?
Yes, baby food isn’t a health hazard if it’s strictly just for treats. But you do need portion control. Baby foods aren’t something to give them on a daily basis. It’s more of a treat as when people have some chocolate cake to celebrate something (never give that to hedgies, though!). Just check the baby food labels before you give that to your hedgehog. Watch out for onion powder, salt, sugar, and other potentially bad ingredients. Moreover, the best ones contain only meat, water, and other benign ingredients.
Can I give some meat from my plate?
Probably not. The reason for that lies in people’s preferences for heavily processed meat. But the meat you give to your hedgie can’t under any circumstances be baked, broiled, boiled, grilled, fried, cooked in the microwave, or barbequed. And never feed raw meat to your hedgehog! You should just cook the meat with a little bit of oil. No seasoning whatsoever, though. Chicken and turkey are the best options. Try to avoid beef, pork, and any other kind of meat. Meat that’s not poultry is not as easily digestible.
What are hedgehogs’ main food sources?
First, let’s point out that we talk about pet hedgehogs. The ones roaming the wilderness have a bit different menu. Since they are on the go, wild hedgehogs tend to be quite opportunistic eaters. At home, the main part of every hedgehog’s food should be designated hedgehog food or cat food. And not every cat food will do. It should be low in fat, high in protein, and made from poultry.
Although we mentioned hedgehog food, the jury is still out there on this one. Some people recommend skipping brand hedgehog good. They say that the food isn’t scientifically engineered to keep up with the hedgies’ nutritional needs. Furthermore, others say that hedgehog food is fine along as the owner checks the label for the nutritional value. Low-grade pet food is always a bad idea. These food mixes might contain ingredients unsuitable for the particular animal.
What are the best snacks and treats for hedgies?
Best snacks and treats include fruits and vegetables. Still, some experts admit that even regular chicken should stay as a treat. According to them, the most optimal way is to give chicken along with other snacks three to four times a week. Actually, this makes a lot of sense. The hedgehog food or cat food already contains high-quality protein. When you give too much protein, this isn’t good for you hedgie as well. Let’s make a short list of the best vegetables that you can give to your hedgehog:
- Dandelion greens
And here’s a list of the most delicious fruits to feed your hedgie:
All of these vegetables and fruits need to be kept to a minimum. They must not become their staple food. Otherwise, there’s a great chance of consuming too many carbohydrates. In fact, this could result in some health issues.
What kind of non-human foods can hedgehogs eat?
Actually, this is a very controversial topic. When you browse the web, you could find a variety of answers, including recommendations for buying dog food. But let’s start with a more common topic. Cat food is a good choice for hedgehogs. Basically, they can eat this food on a daily basis without any problems. The key is in the ratio of fats versus protein. In fact, experts find that cat food contains the golden ratio of fats and protein. Actually, it’s exactly needed for hedgies.
If you aren’t sure about the particular cat food choice, then opt for a dried one that’s ranked with the highest quality. And don’t blindly choose a product just because it’s dry and marketed to cat owners. Check the ingredients list to find out whether the product’s free of any unsuitable food items for hedgehogs. Moreover, cat food’s suitability doesn’t mean that you could endlessly feed it to your hedgehog. There’s always the threat of too many calories.
When you narrow down the cat food choices to a few reputable and hedgie-friendly brands, then you are free to freely experiment. You might discover that your hedgehog is really into only one type of cat food brand. In turn, they might despise all the other products. That’s why it’s better to give them plenty of choices. Moreover, if you stick to only one brand, and they don’t like it? You’ll never see how they’d love another product on the market!
Are there any foods to completely avoid?
Yes, there are many foods that you should never give to your hedgehog. While these may be fit for human consumption, they become very dangerous for hedgehogs. Note the items in the following list to steer clear of harming your hedgie.
- Fishing shop insects
- Raw meat
- Unsuitable processed meat (canned, fried, grilled, seasoned, etc)
- Wild insects
Some of these listed foods are outright life-threatening, such as chocolate, grapes, and wild-caught insects. Others are just a potential health hazard, such as vegetables part of the Allium family. For example, onions and garlic really upset hedgies’ stomachs, resulting in stomach pain or worse.
What else should I know about giving human food to hedgehogs?
Avoid food that’s sweet. Refined sugar isn’t nice for your hedgehog at all. Both sticky and hard foods don’t make for good snacks. The hard ones could quickly become a choking hazard for your hedgie. On the other hand, sticky foods, like all sorts of dried fruit, can get stuck to the mouth roof or teeth. In turn, your hedgie can develop serious tooth decay or just plain discomfort.
Fried and spicy foods don’t get along well with an average hedgehog stomach. Frying inevitably creates greasier food. Consequently, that isn’t well-handled by their intestinal system adapted to lesser fat intake. Excessive salt in food is another serious concern. That’s one of the reasons why canned meat is out of their menu. Inadequate salt intake creates electrolyte imbalance in their body. And that could become an acute health threat. Better be safe than sorry!
Why did all the classic children’s’ books depict hedgehog sipping milk? It’s a bad idea! In fact, they are completely lactose intolerant. The only thing that you could do is give a tiny amount of yogurt. But even that’s discouraged because the product could produce diarrhea as an unwanted reaction. On another note, when the feeding time arrives, you are able to use your own hands or a useful tool. The latter could be a dropper, syringe, crocks, or a pair of tongs. And then there’s always the actual food bowl inside the cage.
So, what human food can you feed a hedgehog?
Many of the human foods overlap with hedgehogs’ meal preferences. But that concerns the snacks and treats. Their main source of calories should come from a high-quality cat or hedgehog food. As for snacks, you could provide poultry, fruits, and vegetables. Basically, all of these food groups carry many important exceptions. You should learn about these before offering any food to your hedgehog. This ensures the good you give to your prickly buddy doesn’t threaten their health and well-being in any way.