Opportunistic eaters, hedgehogs snack on meat, produce and bugs in the wild. Recreate this nutrient balance for your pet hedgehog to keep him happy and healthy. If you offer an array of foods safe for hedgehogs, your pet should not need vitamin supplements.
Hedgehog Diets in the Wild
Hedgehogs feast primarily on insects, such as beetles, which offer fiber and chitin, a material found in insect exoskeletons. Yet these small critters will also munch on snails, small animals and plants. A balanced hedgehog diet will recreate this mixture of food while providing plenty of protein and fiber and low amounts of fat.
If you can find commercial hedgehog food at a local pet store, make this the mainstay of your pet's diet. If you're unable to find commercial hedgehog food, look for dry cat food that is low in fat and high in protein. Offer 4 tablespoons of hedgehog dry food or dry cat food per day.
Give your pet access to fresh drinking water using a water dish or water bottle. Offer your hedgehog a selection of live insects -- such as crickets, mealworms and earthworms -- and fresh fruits and vegetables. Try soft fruits like bananas, melon and berries. For vegetables, include cooked sweet potatoes, lettuce and other greens. You may offer a hedgehog small pieces of cooked meat, but do not feed more than 1 ounce of meat per day. Offer fruits and vegetables about four times per week as treats.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid feeding onions, grapes, raisins and the eyes of potatoes, since these are proven toxins for other animals. Also avoid peppers, broccoli and cauliflower since they can cause gastrointestinal distress. Stay away from dried fruits, which are high in sugar and can cause dental problems. Don't let your hedgehog snack on dead bugs since these may contain bacteria.
- The International Hedgehog Association: Basic Care
- Hedgehogs; Sharon Vanderlip
- Hedgehogs: Everything About Housing, Care Nutrition, Breeding, and Health Care; Matthew M. Vriends
- Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital: Care and Feeding of Hedgehogs
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