Pet hedgehogs are typically known as African pygmy hedgehogs. Domesticated hedgehogs are becoming popular additions to many American homes. When their basic needs are provided properly, you will find one of these gentle creatures a great companion to have inside (even outside) the house. However, not everyone may find this docile creature the right pet to have. If you already have one, you will need to know the food for hedgehogs so that your pet will live happy and satisfied while under your care. Find out more about the right foods that you can offer to your pet hedgehog as you read through this post.
A Hedgehog’s Nutritional Requirements
Hedgehogs are insectivores, which means their primary food source is insect protein (chitin). However, they also consume anything that is available in their natural habit. That includes slugs, baby mice, frogs, fish, mealworms, small snakes, eggs, even fruits, and vegetables. In the wild, they eat almost anything they want with their set of 55 tiny teeth.
Their little bodies require a mixture of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, water, and more. The protein in their diet should be more than 20 percent, however. Fat, on the other hand, should be about five to 15 percent. It should also include a good amount of fiber as well. You may serve a variety of protein sources. Even then, insect and poultry will still be the easiest for pet hedgehogs to digest.
Foods for Hedgehogs
There are several brands that offer quality hedgehog foods. Opt for a dry commercial formulation that contains about 20 percent protein. It should also contain some fiber that is about twice the amount of its primary food. Food formulas that have L-carnitine listed as an ingredient as this will support your pet’s heart health. You may also opt to give your pet some health supplements. Hedgehogs usually need about 50 mg a day, for treatment of cardiomyopathy. Again, you will need to offer other foods, such as live insects, cooked chicken, and more.
You may also offer a small portion of a cat’s canned food. Remember, however, that you should not feed your pet with seeds, raisins, dried fruits, and vegetables.
If for some reason, you cannot find a good best food for hedgehogs, your last option is to offer your pet a high-quality chicken cat food sprinkled with some kibble. Keep in mind, however, that this should be provided only when all other options are not available.
If you are still thinking of having one or two to care for, you might want to know the characters that these domesticated animals usually display.
- Hedgehogs can be prickly at times. A hedgehog’s back is covered with sharp spines that they use to defend themselves whenever they are held by an unlikely person. If it will be your first time to hold one, make sure that you will be gentle enough not to frighten and use a towel to cover it until it’s already relaxed.
- Hedgehogs are noisy. These domesticated animals will vocalize their fear and their emotions by grunting, squealing, even screaming when they get hurt. When upset, you may hear your pet hissing or clicking. When happy, a hedgehog will purr like a cat. So
- These domesticated pets are disease-carriers. Like many other pets, hedgehogs are potential human disease carriers. You need to make sure that you handle and manage your pet well to make sure that you won’t get any of the possible diseases that it may carry on its quills and skin. This animal is potential carriers of diseases like Salmonella bacteria and fungal spores. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling one and make sure that its housing is cleaned regularly.
- Hedgehogs adapt well to extreme climatic changes. Extreme cold and warm climates will affect the eating and sleeping behaviors of your pet. That means you should not worry if you notice your hedgehog sleeping more or becoming less active when it is extremely hot or cold. It is just their way of slowing down their metabolic rate or to keep their body warm.
- Hedgehogs are heavy eaters. Hedgehogs love to eat. Those with a small space and a limited time to socialize tend to put on a lot of weight. This can cause certain disorders at times like brittle bones due to lack of calcium. You should let your pet enjoy more time outside and restrict its food intake if it is getting a little overweight.
- These pets are insectivores. Hedgehogs eat insects. They love feasting on mealworms, crickets, earthworms, wax worms.
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. These domesticated pets have maintained this lifestyle and will always be active during the night and sleeping in the daytime.
- Hedgehogs use smell to camouflage. A hedgehog will disguise itself with the scent of a new object near it to make itself less obvious to those who might try to harm it.
- They have an unusual behavior when threatened. Hedgehogs would roll their bodies like a ball when they are threatened, leaving the sharp spines on their back exposed. Once this pet curls up, it will be difficult to uncurl it.
How do you meet your hedgehogs’ nutritional requirements?