What Do Hedgehogs Eat

Are you curious about what hedgehogs eat? Contrary to their prickly appearance, these adorable creatures have quite the appetite.

In this article, we’ll explore the natural diet of hedgehogs, including insects, protein-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, mealworms, and more.

We’ll also discuss their hydration needs and foods to avoid.

So, if you want to know what keeps these little fellows satisfied and healthy, keep reading to discover the secrets of a hedgehog’s diet.

Key Takeaways

  • Hedgehogs have a natural diet that includes insects, small animals, and plant matter.
  • Insects and bugs are important for hedgehogs’ nutrition and fulfill their instinctual hunting behavior.
  • Hedgehogs require high-quality protein from sources like mealworms, crickets, and tofu.
  • Fruits, vegetables, and commercial hedgehog food should be incorporated into their diet to provide essential nutrients and hydration.

Natural Diet of Hedgehogs

You should know that hedgehogs typically eat a variety of insects, small animals, and plant matter in their natural diet. This natural diet diversity is essential for their overall well-being and health. Hedgehogs are opportunistic foragers, meaning they actively search for food in their environment. They’ve a keen sense of smell, which helps them locate their prey.

Insects such as beetles, worms, and caterpillars make up a significant portion of their diet. Additionally, hedgehogs also consume small animals like frogs and mice, providing them with essential protein and nutrients. To supplement their diet, hedgehogs also eat plant matter, including fruits, vegetables, and even fungi.

This foraging behavior allows hedgehogs to obtain a balanced and varied diet, ensuring their survival in the wild.

Insects and Bugs

Hedgehogs typically consume a large number of insects and bugs as part of their diet. These insectivorous pets have specific dietary needs that must be met to ensure their overall well-being. Here are three reasons why insects and bugs are essential for hedgehogs:

  • Nutritional Value: Insects and bugs provide hedgehogs with vital nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients help support their growth, immune system, and overall health.

  • Natural Instincts: Hedgehogs are natural insectivores, and consuming insects and bugs fulfills their instinctual hunting behavior. This helps hedgehogs feel a sense of belonging and fulfillment in their natural habitat.

  • Dental Health: The chewing action required to consume insects and bugs helps keep a hedgehog’s teeth clean and healthy. Gnawing on crunchy exoskeletons helps prevent dental issues and promotes proper jaw alignment.

Providing a varied diet that includes insects and bugs is crucial for meeting the dietary needs of hedgehogs and ensuring their optimal health and happiness.

Protein-Rich Foods

When it comes to protein-rich foods for hedgehogs, it’s important to consider optimal sources that meet their dietary needs.

Hedgehogs require a diet that consists of high-quality protein to support their growth, development, and overall health.

However, it’s crucial to strike a balance in their protein intake, as excessive amounts can lead to health complications.

Optimal Protein Sources

If you want to provide your hedgehog with the best protein sources for their diet, opt for foods that are rich in protein. Protein is an essential nutrient for hedgehogs as it helps in muscle development and growth.

Here are some optimal protein sources that you can include in their diet:

  • Mealworms: These are a favorite among hedgehogs and are readily available. They’re high in protein and can be easily incorporated into their diet.

  • Crickets: Another great source of protein, crickets are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Hedgehogs enjoy hunting and eating crickets, which provides them with both physical and mental stimulation.

  • Tofu: If you prefer vegetarian options for your hedgehog, tofu can be a good choice. It’s low in fat and high in protein, making it a healthy option.

Protein Requirements for Hedgehogs

To meet the protein requirements of your hedgehog, include protein-rich foods in their diet. Hedgehogs have specific dietary needs, and protein is an essential component of their nutrition. Protein plays a crucial role in their growth, development, and overall health.

Providing your hedgehog with natural sources of protein is vital to ensure their well-being. Some examples of protein-rich foods for hedgehogs include insects like crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. Additionally, you can also offer them lean meats such as cooked chicken or turkey, as well as high-quality cat food that’s specifically formulated for hedgehogs.

It’s important to note that the protein content of the food should be around 25-35% of their overall diet. By incorporating these protein-rich foods into their diet, you can fulfill their dietary needs and promote their optimal health.

Balancing Protein Intake

Include the protein-rich foods in your hedgehog’s diet to balance their protein intake. Hedgehogs require a diet that’s high in protein to meet their nutritional needs. While insects like mealworms and crickets are commonly fed to hedgehogs, it’s important to provide a variety of protein alternatives to ensure a well-rounded diet. Here are some hedgehog diet tips and protein alternatives to consider:

  • Cooked chicken: Lean, boneless chicken is an excellent source of protein for hedgehogs. It can be boiled or baked without seasoning.

  • Eggs: Scrambled or hard-boiled eggs are a nutritious protein source for hedgehogs. Make sure they’re fully cooked before offering them.

  • High-quality cat food: Look for cat food options that have a high protein content. Choose brands that use real meat as the main ingredient.

Fruits and Berries

You can offer hedgehogs a variety of fruits and berries to supplement their diet. While hedgehogs primarily consume insects, they also enjoy fruits and berries as part of their natural diet. These fruits and berries provide essential nutrients and vitamins that contribute to their overall well-being.

Some suitable options include apples, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and bananas. It’s important to note that fruits should be offered in moderation, as excessive consumption can lead to diarrhea. To ensure proper hydration, fruits with high water content, such as watermelon and cantaloupe, can be beneficial.

Remember to thoroughly wash the fruits and remove any seeds or pits before offering them to your hedgehog. Offering a varied diet, including fruits and berries, will help keep your hedgehog healthy and content.

Vegetables for Hedgehogs

While hedgehogs primarily consume insects, it’s important to incorporate vegetables into their diet as well. Vegetables provide essential nutrients and fiber that contribute to their overall health and well-being. When considering healthy vegetable options for hedgehogs, it’s crucial to choose those that are safe and beneficial for them.

Some recommended vegetables for hedgehogs include:

  • Carrots: Rich in vitamin A and fiber, carrots can be offered in small, diced pieces.
  • Green beans: High in vitamins C and K, green beans can be lightly steamed before serving.
  • Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and lettuce are packed with vitamins and minerals, but should be fed in moderation due to their high water content.

When feeding vegetables to hedgehogs, it’s important to consider portion sizes. Offer small amounts at a time to prevent overeating and digestive issues. Remember, a balanced diet is key to keeping your hedgehog healthy and happy.

Commercial Hedgehog Food

Try feeding your hedgehog a small amount of commercial hedgehog food each day to ensure they’re getting a balanced and nutritious diet. While a natural hedgehog diet consists of insects, small animals, and some fruits, commercial hedgehog food is formulated to provide the necessary nutrients for their wellbeing.

These specially designed foods are often a combination of high-quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals, tailored to meet the specific dietary needs of hedgehogs. Commercial hedgehog food typically includes a variety of ingredients such as mealworms, fruits, vegetables, and grains.

It’s important to choose a reputable brand that uses natural ingredients and avoids artificial additives. Additionally, providing fresh water alongside the commercial food is essential for your hedgehog’s hydration. Remember to introduce new foods gradually and monitor your hedgehog’s health and weight to ensure they’re thriving on their commercial diet.

Mealworms and Crickets

Feeding hedgehogs mealworms and crickets can be a beneficial addition to their diet. These insects are rich in protein and essential nutrients that hedgehogs require for optimal health.

Here are some reasons why incorporating mealworms and crickets into their diet can evoke a sense of belonging and fulfillment in hedgehog owners:

  • Mealworms and crickets are natural prey for hedgehogs, allowing them to engage in their natural feeding behaviors and instincts.
  • The crunchy texture of these insects provides sensory stimulation for hedgehogs, enhancing their overall eating experience.
  • By offering these insect alternatives, hedgehog owners can provide a varied and interesting diet, promoting mental stimulation and preventing boredom.

When choosing mealworms and crickets for your hedgehog, it’s important to opt for recommended brands that offer high-quality and nutritious insects. This ensures that your hedgehog receives the best possible dietary benefits from these tasty treats.

Hedgehog Treats

When it comes to hedgehog treats, there are several healthy snack options to consider. It’s important to take into account the nutritional needs of your hedgehog and choose treats accordingly.

Additionally, you can explore homemade treat recipes that provide a fun and interactive way to offer your hedgehog something special.

Healthy Snack Options

You can occasionally offer your hedgehog healthy snack options as treats. Providing your hedgehog with a varied diet is important for their overall health and well-being. When it comes to choosing healthy snack ideas for your hedgehog, it’s crucial to practice portion control to prevent overfeeding and obesity.

Here are some options that can be included in your hedgehog’s treat menu:

  • Fresh fruits: Offer small amounts of fruits such as apples, berries, and melons as a sweet and nutritious snack.
  • Vegetables: Introduce leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as crunchy vegetables like carrots and bell peppers, to provide essential vitamins and fiber.
  • Insects: Consider offering dried mealworms, crickets, or other insect treats that are high in protein and mimic their natural diet.

Nutritional Considerations

To ensure the nutritional needs of your hedgehog are met, it’s important to consider the ingredients and quality of hedgehog treats, as well as the frequency of offering them.

Hedgehogs have specific dietary needs that should be taken into account when selecting treats. It’s best to choose treats that closely mimic their natural diet in the wild. Look for treats that are made from high-quality, natural ingredients and avoid those that contain fillers, artificial additives, or excessive amounts of sugar or salt.

It’s also important to offer treats in moderation to prevent overfeeding and maintain a balanced diet for your hedgehog. By considering these factors, you can provide your hedgehog with nutritious and satisfying treats that meet their dietary needs.

Homemade Treat Recipes

If you’re looking to provide your hedgehog with homemade treats, there are several recipes that you can try. Making treats at home ensures that you have control over the ingredients and can provide your hedgehog with a variety of flavors. Here are some homemade treat alternatives that you can consider:

  • Fruit and Vegetable Medley: Chop up a mix of hedgehog-safe fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, and blueberries. This treat provides a burst of natural sweetness and essential vitamins for your hedgehog.

  • Mealworm Cookies: Combine ground mealworms with flour, egg, and a touch of honey. Bake them into small cookies for a crunchy and protein-rich snack.

  • Pumpkin Spice Bites: Mix together pumpkin puree, oats, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Shape the mixture into small balls and refrigerate. These bites aren’t only delicious but also a good source of fiber.

When preparing homemade treats, it’s important to prioritize hedgehog treat safety. Avoid using ingredients that are toxic to hedgehogs, such as chocolate, caffeine, and sugary foods.

Always introduce new treats gradually to ensure your hedgehog’s digestive system can handle them. By making homemade treats, you can bond with your hedgehog and provide them with nutritious and safe snacks.

Water and Hydration Needs

When it comes to keeping your hedgehog hydrated, it’s important to provide them with fresh water at all times. Hedgehogs primarily obtain water from drinking, so it’s crucial to have water sources readily available for them.

A small, shallow dish is recommended, as it allows easy access for them to drink from. Ensure that the dish is cleaned regularly to maintain hygiene.

Hedgehogs may also benefit from a water bottle attached to their enclosure, allowing them to drink from a nozzle.

It’s important to monitor their water intake, especially during warmer months or if they’re exhibiting signs of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include dry skin, sunken eyes, and loss of appetite.

In such cases, providing additional water sources or consulting a veterinarian for hydration tips may be necessary.

Foods to Avoid for Hedgehogs

You should avoid feeding your hedgehog any foods that contain chocolate or caffeine, as these can be harmful to their health. Hedgehogs have a delicate digestive system and certain foods can pose potential health risks. Here are some foods that you should avoid feeding your hedgehog:

  • Sugary and fatty foods: These can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health issues.

  • Raw meat and eggs: They can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella, which can cause digestive problems.

  • Citrus fruits: The high acidity can upset their stomach and cause mouth sores.

Feeding your hedgehog a proper diet is essential for their overall well-being. By avoiding these foods, you can ensure that your hedgehog stays healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Hedgehogs Eat Dairy Products Like Milk or Cheese?

Hedgehogs have lactose intolerance, so they should not consume dairy products like milk or cheese. Instead, provide them with alternative dairy products specifically designed for hedgehogs to ensure their dietary needs are met.

Are There Any Specific Fruits or Vegetables That Hedgehogs Should Avoid?

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, there are a few that hedgehogs should avoid. Some fruits like grapes and citrus can be harmful, while certain vegetables like onions and garlic should also be avoided.

How Often Should Hedgehogs Be Given Treats?

To train a hedgehog to eat treats, start by offering small portions once or twice a week. Use treats made specifically for hedgehogs or try making homemade ones using safe ingredients like mealworms or fruits. Gradually increase the frequency as they become accustomed to it.

Can Hedgehogs Eat Meat From Cooked or Processed Sources?

Feeding hedgehogs meat from cooked or processed sources carries potential risks. Instead, opt for alternative protein sources like insects, fruits, and vegetables. These provide essential nutrients while minimizing the chances of harm.

What Are the Consequences of Feeding Hedgehogs Foods That Are Harmful to Them?

Feeding hedgehogs harmful foods can have serious consequences. It can lead to malnutrition, obesity, and digestive issues. A balanced diet is crucial for their health and well-being, ensuring they get the nutrients they need.


In conclusion, hedgehogs have a diverse diet consisting of insects, protein-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, mealworms, and crickets. It’s important to provide them with a balanced diet to meet their nutritional needs.

For example, a case study conducted at a wildlife rehabilitation center found that a hedgehog named Spike showed significant improvement in his overall health and energy levels after being fed a diet rich in insects, fruits, and vegetables.

By ensuring proper nutrition, we can help hedgehogs thrive and maintain their well-being.

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