hedgehog diet

The Complete Guide to Hedgehog Diet: 🦔 What Do Hedgehogs Eat?


Hello and welcome to our comprehensive guide on hedgehog diets! If you are a pet owner or a wildlife enthusiast, you might have been wondering what hedgehogs eat. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the diet of these prickly creatures.

As hedgehogs are omnivores, their diet comprises of both plant-based and animal-based food. However, the type of food they eat varies depending on the hedgehog’s species, age, and the environment they live in.

Before diving into the details, let’s learn more about these adorable creatures and their eating habits.

Who are Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are spiny mammals that belong to the Erinaceidae family. They are widespread in different parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures and are known for their defensive behavior. They roll into a ball when they feel threatened, releasing their sharp spines to protect themselves against predators.

Why is it Important to Understand Hedgehog Diets?

Understanding the hedgehog diet is essential for pet owners and wildlife enthusiasts. Hedgehogs, like any other living species, require a balance of nutrition to maintain their health and well-being. A well-fed hedgehog tends to live longer and is less prone to diseases. Feeding hedgehogs with the wrong types of food can lead to adverse health outcomes and even cause death in some cases.

What are the Different Types of Hedgehogs?

There are several species of hedgehogs, but the most common types are:

Hedgehog Species Description
African pygmy hedgehog A small type of hedgehog that is commonly domesticated as a pet.
European hedgehog The most common type of hedgehog that is found in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Long-eared hedgehog A hedgehog that is found in Central Asia and the Middle East.

What Do Hedgehogs Eat?

The diet of hedgehogs varies depending on their habitat, the season, and their age. Generally, they are known to eat:

  • Insects
  • Worms
  • Slugs and snails
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat (small animals like mice and birds)

What Do Pet Hedgehogs Eat?

If you are planning to keep a hedgehog as a pet, it is important to know that they have different dietary requirements than wild hedgehogs. The most common food for pet hedgehogs includes:

  • High-quality hedgehog food (pellets or kibble)
  • Fruits and vegetables (moderately)
  • Meat (cooked chicken, turkey, and beef)
  • Mealworms and crickets (as treats)

What Foods are Harmful to Hedgehogs?

Some foods can cause harm to hedgehogs and should be avoided, which include:

  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • High-fat foods
  • Salty foods
  • Dairy products
  • Fruits containing seeds (like grapes and berries)

What are the Nutritional Requirements for Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs require a balanced diet that provides them with essential nutrients like protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The recommended nutritional requirements for pet hedgehogs include:

  • Protein: 28% to 36%
  • Fat: 10% to 12%
  • Fiber: 8% to 15%
  • Calcium: 1.5% to 2%

How Often Should You Feed Hedgehogs?

Wild hedgehogs eat several times a day, while pet hedgehogs are usually fed once or twice a day. It is recommended to feed your pet hedgehog at night as they are nocturnal creatures. Make sure to offer fresh water at all times.

How Much Should You Feed Hedgehogs?

The amount of food that hedgehogs should eat depends on their species, age, and activity level. The general rule of thumb is to feed them an amount that is equivalent to one to two tablespoons of dry food per day. It is also important to monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly.

What are the Signs of Malnutrition in Hedgehogs?

If hedgehogs do not get the proper nutrition, they can show signs of malnutrition, which include:

  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Hair loss
  • Dry or flaky skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Should You Provide Supplements to Hedgehogs?

Most hedgehogs do not require any supplements if they are getting a balanced diet. However, if your hedgehog has specific nutritional needs or is recovering from an illness or surgery, you may need to provide them with supplements as per the veterinarian’s recommendations.

What are the Benefits of a Balanced Diet for Hedgehogs?

A balanced diet for hedgehogs has several benefits, which include:

  • Longer lifespan
  • Stronger immune system
  • Better growth and development
  • Healthy skin and coat
  • Reduced risk of diseases

How Can You Encourage Hedgehogs to Eat?

If your hedgehog is a picky eater, you can encourage them to eat by:

  • Offering different types of food (in moderation)
  • Providing fresh water at all times
  • Giving them treats occasionally
  • Creating a comfortable feeding environment

Can You Feed Wild Hedgehogs?

If you encounter a wild hedgehog in your garden, you may be tempted to offer them food. However, it is important to remember that hedgehogs have specific dietary requirements that are different from pets. Feeding wild hedgehogs the wrong types of food can harm them and should be avoided.

What are the Best Foods for Wild Hedgehogs?

If you want to help wild hedgehogs, you can offer them the following types of food:

  • Cat or dog food (wet or dry)
  • Mealworms or crickets (as treats)
  • Chopped boiled eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables (in moderation)

How Can You Attract Hedgehogs to Your Garden?

If you want to attract hedgehogs to your garden, you can:

  • Keep your garden safe and free from hazards
  • Provide a water source
  • Offer shelter (like hedgehog houses)
  • Offer food (as per the guidelines mentioned earlier)
  • Reduce light pollution


In conclusion, understanding hedgehog diets is essential for their well-being and health. Whether you plan to keep a hedgehog as a pet or want to help their wild counterparts, knowing the right types of food and their nutritional requirements is crucial. We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to make informed decisions about hedgehog diets. Remember, a balanced diet can help hedgehogs live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

Closing Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you have any doubts or concerns about the health of your hedgehog or any other pet, consult a licensed veterinarian immediately.

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