Updated/Fact-Chacked on November 23, 2022 by John
If you have found a hedgehog roaming around during the daytime or in the winter months, it is likely to be unwell and looking for food.
You can offer the hedgehog food and water and see how it responds. Many are looking for food to feast on before they hibernate over winter; they need to be a certain weight to survive winter.
The kind of food hedgehogs like
Hedgehogs are considered insectivores, but they could be labelled omnivores as well, depending on where you’re reading about them. However, if you take a closer look at what a hedgehog eats, omnivore would sound like the more accurate categorization since it feeds on more than just insects.
Hedgehogs love eating insects as they are easy to catch and plentiful; they are also a great source of protein and fibre from the chitin exoskeleton. Hedgehogs have the ability to digest this chitin and benefit from the nutritional value of insects. Still, there are many ways through which a hedgehog can get its nutrients, including:
-Mealworms: Whether live or freeze-dried mealworms, these are an ideal source of chitin for a hedgehog. A live option would be more stimulating to your pet because its movement encourages the hedgehog to work a bit harder to be able to catch its food. Still, freeze-fried ones work just as well in terms of providing nutritional value.
-Waxworms: Live waxworms include a lot more fat but also less chitin than mealworms, which is why you should deal with them as treats for the hedgehog rather than the main dish.
-Crickets: These are also available live for a stimulating experience or freeze-dried. Crickets are an incredible source of chitin, especially if you gut-load them before you feed them to your hedgehog to guarantee they’re loaded with nutritional value.
-Fruits: As long as they’re fresh, not dried, then fruits are great for a hedgehog. These include berries, bananas, apples, and melons, all of which hedgehogs seem to love.
-Vegetables: You can feed your pet hedgehog fresh green beans, cooked squash, and fresh tomatoes. However, steer clear from dried or starchy vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and corn.
-Cooked eggs: Scrambling or hard-boiling an egg for yourself? Add one for your hedgehog as well. This treat is a protein-packed one, which is ideal for your pet.
-Cooked meat: Low-fat, high protein canned food for dogs or cats and cooked chicken can be served to a hedgehog as long as you offer them in small amounts.
-Pinky mice: You could feed your hedgehog baby mice, as long as the idea doesn’t repel you, so you can comfortably provide your pet with this pre-killed treat.
-Kibble for cats or hedgehogs: This would probably be what you feed your hedgehog in bulk. High-quality cat or hedgehog kibble typically contains 30% protein and under 20% of fat, which is the combination that works best for hedgehogs.
What not to feed Hedgehogs
Do not feed hedgehogs any type of dairy for bread and only small quantities of mealworms.
Hedgehogs eat more than just insects! They can get great nutritional value from mealworms, fruits, vegetables, and even meat! Just be careful not to feed your hedgehog anything that can harm it, like dried vegetables.
Mary shares a passion for gardening with her husband John, though she is more focused on growing veg on their allotment at St. Margaret’s Allotments, Durham. Mary also works in the lawn care industry and manages the lawns for the Durham University campus.