Hedgehog Diet In Captivity (FAQ)

✅ Fact Checked
Updated on January 16, 2023
Michael Colt, Bachelor Computer Science Degree & Computer Engineering.
Written by
Michael Colt, Bachelor Veterinary Medicine & Animal Science.
Ella Williams
Fact Checked by
Ella Williams
Dr. Michael Colt is a highly qualified veterinarian and animal scientist. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the care and treatment of animals, and a deep understanding of the latest scientific research in the field. Dr. Colt is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of animals, and is committed to providing the highest level of care to his patients. Holds a Bachelors Degree in Veterinary Medicine from Middle Tennessee State University.

⭐ Fun Fact ⭐
Did you know that hedgehogs are skilled climbers? They can climb trees and walls to escape predators or find food. Their sharp claws and flexible bodies make them nimble climbers. So, next time you see a hedgehog, don’t be surprised if you find it scaling a wall!
Pet hedgehogs can make wonderful and unique pets. If you’re the proud owner of a hedgehog, it’s important to understand the key elements of a balanced diet to keep your pet healthy and happy. This includes understanding what foods to offer, the importance of variety, how to avoid overfeeding, and how to spot signs of a nutritional imbalance. In this article, we will cover all the essential information you need to know about feeding your pet hedgehog in captivity. Whether you’re a new hedgehog owner or just looking to improve your pet’s diet, this article is for you. So, let’s dive in!

1 What to Feed a Pet Hedgehog

One of the most important aspects of pet hedgehog care is ensuring they receive a balanced and nutritious diet. A hedgehog’s diet should be composed of a variety of different foods to provide all the essential nutrients they need. Here are the main types of food you can offer your pet hedgehog:

Commercial Hedgehog Food: Commercial hedgehog food is the easiest and most convenient way to ensure your pet hedgehog is getting all the nutrients they need. These food blends are specifically designed for hedgehogs and contain a balanced mix of proteins, fats, and other essential nutrients. When choosing a commercial hedgehog food, look for a high-quality brand that uses only high-quality ingredients and avoid brands that contain fillers such as corn and wheat.

Live Insects: Live insects can be a great addition to a hedgehog’s diet and can provide them with additional protein. Some popular options include crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. Be sure to offer live insects in moderation, as they can quickly become a hedgehog’s preferred food if offered too often.

Cooked Meat and Eggs: Cooked chicken, turkey, and lean beef can be offered in moderation to provide additional protein. Cooked eggs can also be offered but should not be given more than once or twice a week.

Vegetables and Fruit: Vegetables and fruit can be offered as a supplement to a hedgehog’s diet, but they should not be the main source of nutrition. Good options include carrots, apples, and blueberries. It’s important to avoid foods that are high in sugar and acidic fruits like citrus, as these can upset a hedgehog’s digestive system.

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So essentially, a well-balanced diet is essential for the health and happiness of your pet hedgehog. By offering a variety of foods, you can ensure they are getting all the essential nutrients they need. And, by avoiding foods that are high in sugar and acidic, you can help keep their digestive system healthy.

2 Importance of Variety in a Hedgehog’s Diet

As a pet hedgehog owner, it’s important to understand the importance of variety in their diet. Feeding your hedgehog a diverse and well-balanced diet is crucial to their overall health and well-being.

Providing Essential Nutrients

Hedgehogs have specific nutritional needs, including protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals. Offering a variety of different foods helps ensure that they are getting all the essential nutrients they need to thrive. For example, commercial hedgehog food provides a balanced diet, but it can become monotonous for your pet over time. Adding live insects or cooked meat and eggs to their diet helps provide them with additional sources of protein.

Preventing Boredom with Food

Just like us, hedgehogs can become bored with eating the same thing every day. Including a variety of different foods in their diet helps prevent boredom and encourages them to continue eating well. This not only keeps them healthy, but also helps to prevent weight issues, which can develop if they lose interest in their food.

Avoiding Digestive Problems

In addition to providing essential nutrients and preventing boredom, variety in a hedgehog’s diet helps avoid digestive problems. Feeding them a limited diet can lead to digestive upset, as their digestive system becomes accustomed to a certain type of food. By offering a range of different foods, you are helping to promote a healthy digestive system, which can prevent issues like diarrhea, bloating, and constipation.

So essentially, variety is crucial in a hedgehog’s diet and can help provide essential nutrients, prevent boredom, and avoid digestive problems. By including a variety of different foods in their diet, you are helping to keep your pet hedgehog healthy and happy.

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3 Signs of a Nutritional Imbalance

When it comes to caring for pet hedgehogs, a balanced diet is essential for their health and well-being. It’s important to be vigilant for signs of a nutritional imbalance and take action promptly to correct the issue. In this text, we will explore the symptoms to look out for that could indicate your pet hedgehog is not receiving the right nutrients.

Loss of Appetite

One of the most common signs of a nutritional imbalance in hedgehogs is a decrease in appetite. If your pet hedgehog is not eating as much as usual, it could be a sign that they are not getting the nutrients they need from their food.

Diarrhea or Constipation

Another sign of a nutritional imbalance is digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation. These symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors, including a diet that is too high in fiber or too low in moisture.

Dull and Dry Coat

A hedgehog’s coat should be soft and shiny, so if it starts to look dull and dry, it could be a sign of a nutritional imbalance. A diet that is lacking in essential fatty acids can lead to dry skin and a dull coat.

Weakness or Lethargy

Finally, if your hedgehog is exhibiting weakness or lethargy, it could be a sign of a nutritional imbalance. A diet that is lacking in essential vitamins and minerals can cause a hedgehog to feel fatigued and run down.

As such, it’s important to keep an eye out for these symptoms of a nutritional imbalance in your pet hedgehog. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and make any necessary changes to your pet’s diet. A balanced diet is key to maintaining the health and well-being of your pet hedgehog, so make sure you are providing them with all the nutrients they need to thrive.

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4 Feeding Schedules and Portion Control

Feeding Schedules and Portion Control

As a pet hedgehog owner, it’s crucial to understand the importance of feeding schedules and portion control in maintaining your pet’s health and wellbeing. Here’s what you need to know:

Recommended feeding times
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and tend to be most active at night. It’s best to feed them during the evening, when they are naturally more active and hungry. A good feeding schedule would be to offer food once in the evening and then again in the morning. This will give them enough energy for their nighttime activities and help them maintain a healthy weight.

How much food to offer
The amount of food you offer will depend on your hedgehog’s size, age, and activity level. As a general rule, you should offer a small amount of food, about a teaspoon, per meal. It’s important to monitor your pet’s weight and adjust the portion size accordingly to prevent overfeeding or underfeeding. If you’re unsure, you can always consult a veterinarian for specific guidelines.

The role of water in a hedgehog’s diet
In addition to food, water is essential to maintaining a hedgehog’s health. It’s crucial to keep a fresh supply of water available at all times. Some hedgehogs may be picky drinkers, so it’s important to experiment with different water dishes, water bottles, and types of water to find what your pet prefers.

As such, feeding schedules and portion control play a significant role in maintaining a hedgehog’s health. Make sure to follow recommended feeding times and portion sizes, and provide a fresh supply of water at all times. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian for guidance.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Feeding a Pet Hedgehog

As a pet hedgehog owner, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes that can negatively impact the health and well-being of your furry friend. Overfeeding, feeding unhealthy or toxic foods, and neglecting hydration are three common mistakes to avoid when feeding your pet hedgehog.

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Overfeeding is a mistake that many pet owners make. While it may seem like a good idea to provide your hedgehog with plenty of food, it’s important to be mindful of portion control. Excessive calorie intake can lead to obesity, which can result in health problems such as heart disease, joint pain, and reduced mobility.

Feeding unhealthy or toxic foods is another mistake that should be avoided. Some common human foods, such as avocado, chocolate, and alcohol, can be toxic to hedgehogs and should never be offered. Always make sure to research what foods are safe and appropriate for your pet hedgehog to consume.

Finally, it’s important to neglecting hydration. Just like all animals, hedgehogs need to stay hydrated in order to maintain their overall health and wellness. Make sure to provide your pet with fresh water on a daily basis and consider offering them a water bottle or dish that’s easily accessible.

In summary, by avoiding these common mistakes, you can help ensure that your pet hedgehog remains happy, healthy, and well-fed. By taking the time to research and understand their nutritional needs, you can provide them with the best possible care and enjoy many happy years together.


What should I feed my hedgehog everyday?

Hedgehogs are insectivores and omnivores, meaning their diet should consist mainly of insects, with a small portion of fruits, vegetables, and high-quality commercial hedgehog food. Feed them small, appropriate portions of food twice daily, making sure they have access to fresh water at all times. Offer a variety of fresh, vitamin-rich produce, such as blueberries, strawberries, and peas, as well as live insects like crickets and mealworms. Avoid giving your hedgehog fatty, sugary, or salty foods, as well as foods that contain caffeine or alcohol. A balanced and varied diet will help ensure your pet hedgehog stays happy and healthy.

What is the best food to feed a hedgehog?

The best food to feed a hedgehog is a commercial diet specifically formulated for hedgehogs. These diets typically consist of high-quality protein from sources such as insect meal or chicken meal, along with added vitamins and minerals to ensure a balanced diet. Offer a varied diet that also includes insects, such as mealworms and crickets, as well as occasional fruits and vegetables as treats. It is important to avoid feeding hedgehogs dog or cat food, as these diets are not appropriate for their nutritional needs. It is also important to monitor portion control and not overfeed, as hedgehogs are prone to obesity.
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What should you not feed hedgehogs?

It is important to avoid feeding hedgehogs the following foods:

– Avocados
– Alcohol
– Caffeine
– Chocolate
– Dairy products
– Fatty and sugary foods
– Raw potatoes and rhubarb
– Onions and garlic

Hedgehogs have sensitive digestive systems, and consuming these foods can lead to digestive problems, lethargy, and in severe cases, even death. It is important to provide hedgehogs with a balanced diet of commercial hedgehog food, insects, and vegetables. Avoid giving them human food as it can upset their digestive system and cause health problems. Stick to a varied and balanced diet to keep your pet hedgehog healthy and happy.

What do hedgehogs need in captivity?

Hedgehogs kept in captivity require specific conditions to maintain their well-being and health. These needs include:

  • Proper housing: A spacious cage with a solid bottom, ample ventilation, and insulation to maintain a comfortable temperature range. The cage should also provide a hide box, climbing structures, and a wheel for exercise.
  • Nutrition: A balanced diet, which typically consists of a commercially available hedgehog food mix and occasional mealworms or crickets as a treat.
  • Temperature: An ambient temperature between 72-80°F (22-27°C) and a temperature-controlled hide box for a safe, warm place to rest.
  • Humidity: Adequate humidity levels to prevent skin and respiratory issues.
  • Lighting: Exposure to natural light or a UVB light to provide hedgehogs with necessary Vitamin D3.
  • Regular vet visits: Regular check-ups with an exotics veterinarian to monitor overall health and address any issues that may arise.

By providing these essentials, hedgehog owners can create a healthy and comfortable environment for their pet.

7 Conclusion

To sum it up, taking care of your pet hedgehog’s diet is key to their overall health and happiness. Providing a variety of nutritious foods, monitoring portion sizes, and being aware of signs of a nutritional imbalance are all crucial steps in ensuring your hedgehog thrives in captivity.

As a hedgehog owner, it’s important to understand that a well-rounded diet plays a significant role in your pet’s longevity and quality of life. So, be proactive and make it a priority to offer the best possible diet for your furry friend. Your hedgehog will thank you for it in the form of good health, energy, and a shiny coat.

Remember, a little effort can go a long way in keeping your pet hedgehog healthy and happy. So, invest the time and energy into providing a balanced diet and you’ll be rewarded with a long-lived, joyful companion.

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