Hedgehogs are becoming popular among pet lovers. However, many people keeping them as pets get their diet wrong. Often, hedgehogs are given bread and milk because owners are under the misguided notion that it is good for them. Hedgehogs are not picky eaters so they will eat much of what they have been given. The reality nonetheless is that the milk actually gives them diarrhea and the bread is difficult for them to digest. If you are keeping hedgehogs, it is worth making sure that you give them the right diet.
Hedgehogs are insectivorous animals whose main diet naturally comprises of insects and beetles. Less prominent features of their natural diet include slugs, snails, baby mice, worms, and small snakes. As a pet, you need to ensure that they get a balanced diet comprising mostly of proteins. Here are foods you should give them:
Though not always available in pet stores, you can find commercial food made specifically for hedgehogs. There are different brands of hedgehog food such as Spike’s Dinner, Arc Wildlife, Wild Things, and Garden Bird. In the absence of this food, you can give tinned meat or chicken cat food to your beloved pets. Small amounts of kitten biscuits are also fine.
Moist Cat/Dog Food
Get a moist cat or dog food that is meat or chicken based. The food should be high in protein. If you have some cooked leftover meat or chicken, you can cut it up into very small pieces and give them to your pets. Minced meat is even better because hedgehogs don’t have the strong dog-like teeth to tear through large pieces of meat.
Vegetables and Fruits
The common advice given to humans that fruits and vegetables should make the larger part of our diet doesn’t apply to hedgehogs. Therefore, go easy on these. Feed your them carrots, apples, grapes, peas, and corn in small amounts.
Water is essential to the hedgehogs’ body function and survival. Therefore ensure your hedgehog gets plenty of fresh water. The water should be clean and supplied from the stoppered water bottle that should be installed in the cage.
Mealworms, are to hedgehogs what junk food is to humans; scrumptious but without much benefit for the hedgehogs’ wellbeing. You can give your pet some mealworms but make sure he doesn’t take too much of it. Other treats like cooked eggs and hamburgers can be given in moderation. You can also give your hedgehog some sunflower seeds.
While feeding your pets these foods, make sure that you avoid cheddar cheese. If your hedgehog eats these, it should be in small amounts because it is likely to cause constipation. Other foods to avoid include chopped peanuts, sultanas and raisins. The peanuts, if eaten in large amounts can cause loss of calcium in the bones while sultanas and raisins aren’t good for the teeth. However, if your hedgehog eats some nuts dropped by birds, he should be just fine as long as it’s a small amount.
Finally, you should try to avoid putting out food in the day. This is because maggots from flies can cause harm to your pets. Put out food when flies are less likely to be drawn out to the food, such as in the darkness of the night.