African Pygmy Hedgehog Diet – Fruits Hedgehogs Can Eat

African Pygmy Hedgehogs kept as pets are prone to obesity. Getting your African Pygmy hedgehog diet right is essential for their well-being.

Hedgehog Diet – What Are The Right Elements

As hedgehogs would eat pretty much anything they see, it’s extremely important to know the correct diet for your African Pygmy hedgehog and also how often you should feed them.

Fruits are part of hedgehog’s diet but can also be dangerous. Therefore, it’s important for you to know what fruits hedgehogs can eat safely.

Hedgehogs are small mammals and they run the risk of becoming overweight if not looked after properly.

As a hedgehog owner, it’s important to know what your African Pygmy Hedgehog diet consist of. That includes what they should eat, what they shouldn’t eat and what are good treats that you can give them as a reward for good behaviour.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to your African Pygmy hedgehog diet is that it needs be low in fats and high in protein.

In this article we will go into detail regarding the following:Hedgehog’s diet in the wild

  • Hedgehog’s diet in the wild
  • How often should I feed my hedgehog
  • What can hedgehogs not eat
  • What can pet hedgehogs eat
  • Insects pet hedgehogs can eat
  • Fruits hedgehogs can eat
  • Vegetables hedgehogs can eat
  • What meats can pet hedgehogs eat
  • What’s whole prey feeding
  • Is hard food good for hedgehogs
  • Cost of feeding your pet hedgehog

But that doesn’t mean they don’t like a good snack every now and then.

Hedgehog’s Diet In The Wild

Hedgehogs’ diet in the wild consists mainly of protein as their primary source of food is insects. Not only insects provide them with protein but they also contain water which results in the protein exiting the hedgehog’s body quickly.

Some of the insects that wild hedgehogs eat include:

  • Worms
  • Snails
  • Mealworms
  • Earthworms
  • Slugs
  • Baby mice
  • Small animals such as small snakes
  • Fruit and Vegetables

In comparison to wild hedgehogs, African Pygmy hedgehog diet can either consist of dry kibble food that has high protein but no water, or wet pet food that doesn’t have enough protein for the hedgehog’s body to absorb and can result in protein deficiency.

That’s why is important for your African Pygmy Hedgehog diet to consist of the correct balance of nutrients. 

In addition, African pygmy hedgehogs don’t have to hunt for their food or hibernate compared to hedgehogs in the wild. Therefore, there is the risk of pet hedgehogs becoming obese. Read more about obesity in hedgehogs and other health issues by clicking here Hedgehog Diseases – Sick Hedgehog Signs

For that reason some of the foods that wild hedgehogs eat, can only be given as an occasional treat to pet hedgehogs. Some of these foods include insects and fruits.

How Often Should I Feed My Pet Hedgehog

African Pygmy Hedgehog Diet

As hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and sleep during the day, they must be fed in the evening when they wake up. In addition to that, you should be aware of how often you should feed your pet hedgehog as if fed too often or too much, it can become overweight and subsequently develop further health problems.

You should feed your pet hedgehog every day the following:

  • 1-2 teaspoons of hard kibble food
  • A teaspoon of mixed fruits and vegetables
  • Half a teaspoon of insects

With the mentioned formula above, you shouldn’t be feeding them fruits each time as they are high in sugar contents. Fruits and insects should be given as a occasional treat.

It’s essential for you to monitor your hedgehog’s weight. This can be done by the use of a baby scale or kitchen scale.

What To Avoid Feeding My Hedgehog

Knowing what your African Pygmy hedgehog diet should consist of is as important as knowing what your pet hedgehog can’t eat.

Furthermore, there are foods that are not only unhealthy but also unsafe and toxic for hedgehogs to eat.

Knowing this information is essential to keep your hedgehog safe and healthy. The foods listed below are foods your pet hedgehogs can’t eat because as they would lead to an upset stomach or are toxic and can kill them.

  • Dairy products
  • Foots with high fat content
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes (the skin is dangerous as they can choke on it)
  • Mushrooms
  • Processed meat
  • Raw meat
  • Peanuts
  • Chocolate is toxic to hedgehogs
  • Grapes and raisins (grapes’ skin can lead to choking)
  • Citrus fruits
  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Fried meat

What Can Pet Hedgehogs Eat

African Pygmy Hedgehog Diet

As mentioned above, you should be very careful when it come to your African Pygmy Hedgehog diet. For your hedgie to live a long and healthy life, you need to make sure it’s fed a well-balanced diet.

A well-balanced diet for your Pygmy hedgehog must consist of the following:

  • Fats should be up to maximum of 15%. If you feed your hedgehog foods with high fat content, you run the risk of your pet becoming obese which can result in more health problems
  • Protein content should be between 30% and 35%. If you feed your hedgehog too much protein, it will overwhelm their organs, especially the kidneys and liver. On the other hand, not enough protein, will result in protein deficiency
  • In addition to that, you should feed your hedgehog hard food such as cat kibble food. in order to avoid them developing dental diseases

Here are some examples of what foods you can purchase for your pet hedgehog:

  • Dry cat food
  • Specialised hedgehog food
  • Meats
  • Boiled or scrambled eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Insects and bugs
  • Baby pureed food

As mentioned above, pet hedgehogs are prone to becoming obese. This is because they are not as active as they would be in the wild when hunting for their food. Therefore, foods that are high in protein, fats or sugar should only be given on occasion as a treat.

As a hedgehog owner, it’s your responsibility to regulate not only what foods your hedgie eats but also how often and what times it’s fed.

Insects Hedgehogs Can Eat

Some of hedgehog’s favourite insects include the following:

  • Mealworms
  • Crickets

In addition, they can also eat:

  • Beetles
  • Waxworms
  • Millipedes
  • Grasshoppers
  • Hornworms
  • Maggots

When feeding your pet hedgehog, you can feed them insects in three forms:

  • Live
  • Freeze-dried
  • Canned

Insects are major part of hedgehogs’ diet in the wild. Furthermore, insects are one of their main food source in the wild. Insects are a source of protein, water and chitin which is very important for your hedgie’s health.

On the other hand, for hedgehogs in captivity, feeding them insects daily can result in too much protein and subsequently – organ failure. This type of food shouldn’t make for most of your pet hedgehog’s diet and should only be given as an occasional treat.

Finally, when getting the insects for your pet hedgie, you should be cautious and do the following:

  • Don’t give your hedgehog insects that you’ve caught yourself as they can contain parasites or bacteria that can harm them
  • Avoid purchasing insects from bait shops as they can have toxins
  • You should purchase the insects from reptile shops

Fruit Hedgehogs Can Eat

Although, hedgehog’s enjoy eating fruits as they are sugary and sweet, you should be careful how much you give them and how often. The reason for that is high intake of sugar can lead to becoming overweight and diabetes.

If you want to include fruits to your hedgehog’s diet, you should be informed on what fruit hedgehogs can eat safely. For instance, grapes and raisins are toxic to hedgehogs.

In addition, some fruits contain too much sugar and should be given very rarely. Some of these fruits are bananas and apples.

This is the list of the fruit hedgehogs can eat safely:

  • Kiwi
  • Apple
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Cherry
  • All type of berries such as strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, etc
  • Peach
  • Mango

In addition to the list above, you should be cautious when feeding them the following fruit, as you’ll have to remove the skin first:

  • Pear
  • Apple
  • All type of berries (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry)
  • Mango
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Pumpkin

Finally, below are fruits that your hedgehog shouldn’t eat as can be a risk to their health:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Grapes
  • Raisins

Vegetables Hedgehogs Can Eat

Hedgehogs can eat vegetables, although you should pick vegetables that will provide them with the most nutrients. For instance, regular lettuce doesn’t have much nutrients, so it should be avoided.

Recommended vegetables for your hedgehogs are the following:

  • Leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale
  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Green Peppers
  • Cucumber

Hedgehogs can eat carrots, although carrots can be rough and scratch their throat, so it should be avoided.

Finally, vegetables contain minimal if none sugar, so they are a healthy snack for your hedgehog.

Meats Hedgehogs Can Eat

Although, hedgehogs can be given meats there are some forms of meat that should be avoided such as:

  • Processed or canned meat
  • Fried or seasoned meat

You should add lean meat to your African Pygmy hedgehog diet. Some of the recommended are the following:

  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Salmon

What Is Whole Prey Feeding

African Pygmy Hedgehog Diet

In the wild, hedgehogs would hunt their food. The animals they hunt to feed on would consist of the skin, feathers and fur, organs, blood, etc. Those parts of the prey are very important for your hedgehog’s health and have many health benefits.

Some of the health benefits of whole prey feeding include:

  • Fibre which improves gut health
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Hunting for their food, also keeps them active

The questions is where can you get live prey to add to your African Pygmy hedgehog diet. If you live in the city, this can be particularly difficult. One option can is to purchase pinky mice for your hedgehog.

On the other hand, as an alternative you can use raw diet feed instead of more processed option. This type of feed can be purchased from a reptile shop. It consists of links made from whole prey animals and turn into a sausage.

Finally, you should always aim for your African Pygmy hedgehog diet to consist mostly of natural ingredients.

Furthermore, this would benefit their health and result in them being more active and bright.

Is Hard Food Good For Hedgehogs

African Pygmy hedgehog’s diet should consist mostly of hard food. The reason for that is hedgehogs in their natural habitat feed mostly on insects that are hard and crunchy.

Therefore, if you provide your pet hedgehog with kibbles to crunch on, it will not only be closest to their natural feeding habits but will also provide fibre to their diet and keep their teeth healthy.

In addition, if you feed your hedgehog mostly wet food, it would result in dental problems.

Cost Of Feeding Pet Hedgehog

Fortunately, having a hedgehog as a pet is fairly cheap. The reason for that is their small size and requiring only small amounts of food to keep them fit and healthy.

Most of your hedgehog’s diet will consist of:

  • Cat kibble fry food or specialised dry hedgehog food
  • Snacks and treats such as fruits, veggies, seeds or insects

All the above is fed to your hedgehog in teaspoon measurements, therefore a medium sized bag of dry food can last you for months.

Price examples

  • 50 Mealworms – $3.99
  • 120 crickets – $4.99
  • Cat kibble food – $33.29 for 12lb (Solid Gold used as a good example of dry cat food suitable for hedgehogs)

Final Thoughts

African Pygmy Hedgehog Diet

Getting your African Pygmy hedgehog diet right, is essential to their health, beahviour and life span. Your pet hedgehog diet should be the following:

  • Fats up to 15% maximum (on the low end)
  • Proteins between 30% – 35%
  • Fruits and insects should be given as an occasional treat because of high contents of sugar and protein
  • Keep the the African Pygmy hedgehog diet as natural as it can be and include whole prey feeding if possible
  • Hegdheogs should be fed in teaspoons measurements
  • Feeding should happen in the evening as hedgehogs are nocturnal animals
  • Be cautious with foods that are toxic or unsafe to your hedgehog’s health

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