With hedgehogs becoming widely popular pets, people wish to know more about them. These curious mammals are famous for their sharp quills and small ears. One thing to bear in mind is that hedgehogs have particular dietary needs.
However, one should know that pet hedgehogs have different diets than wild ones. Let us see what hedgehogs enjoy eating.
Hedgehogs are categorised as being insectivores. This means that most of a hedgehog’s diet is comprised of insects.
However, to say that hedgehogs are fully carnivores would be wrong.
Hedgehogs enjoy eating various kinds of insects such as beetles, worms, and grasshoppers. These mammals are also known to eat small snakes and rodents in the wild. Moreover, hedgehogs occasionally enjoy ground nuts, plants, and fruits.
Pet hedgehogs can be given mealworms as treats and be fed cat food.
What Other Animals are Insectivores?
Insectivores are animals that feed on insects. Like hedgehogs, many animals fall into this category. Some animals eat fruits, plants, and small animals, along with insects. On the other hand, some animals completely rely on insects for nutrition:
The first insectivore on the list are lizards. These reptiles love munching on insects. Some lizards may also consume birds and rodents. Insects make the most of a lizard’s diet.
Anteaters are insectivorous mammals. There are four species of anteaters, and each has its preference for insects. This mammal feeds mostly on small insects. Anteaters have long tongues that allow them to lick insects off and penetrate nests.
Usually, most insects do not feed on other insects. Dragonflies are an exception as they eat small insects. Dragonflies feed on butterflies, baby moths, and other small insects such as mosquitoes.
Frogs are amphibians that feed on small insects such as houseflies. Big frogs also feed on small animals along with insects such as rats, fish, and mice.
Birds are one of the most famous animals that feed on insects. Some birds hunt insects in the air, while some look for insects in the trees or ground.
- Shrews and Moles
Shrews and moles are close to hedgehogs. These mammals are also insectivorous, feeding on insects and earthworms.
Bats are winged mammals that are insectivorous. These flying mammals feed on insects such as beetles, mosquitoes, and moths. Bats feed on flying insects and can be found flying above fields that have plenty of insects.
An opossum is a marsupial that are insectivores. Their diet includes a variety of things. Apart from insects, opossums feed on rats, mice, amphibians, eggs, and more. They also feed on plants.
- Praying Mantis
Praying mantis is another example of insects that indulge in other insects. They are known to have big appetites and feed on mosquitoes, caterpillars, and other soft insects when they are young. As they mature, praying mantis will feed on larger insects such as beetles and grasshoppers.
- Philippine Tarsier
The Philippine Tarsier is a primate that feeds on insects and other animals such as birds and lizards.
Do Hedgehogs Only Eat Insects?
Insects make up most of a hedgehog’s diet. However, hedgehogs do not solely rely on insects. Wild hedgehogs have been known to eat a variety of food to sustain themselves. These hedgehogs eat small animals as well, such as rodents and snakes.
Apart from this, hedgehogs may also feed on roadkill.
Pet hedgehogs do not need to be fed live insects. However, do not let a wild hedgehog’s diet stop you from housing one as a pet. You can incorporate insects into your hedgehog’s diet in a smart way.
You can feed your hedgehog freeze-dried mealworms. If you are not put off with worms, you can give your hedgehog live worms. Apart from worms, you can also get freeze-dried crickets for your hedgehog.
Most of your hedgehog’s diet should comprise of cat food. Cat food contains the correct amount of protein that is necessary for your hedgehog. You can give boiled chicken meat and boiled eggs as a treat to your hedgehog.
How Much Should You Feed Hedgehogs?
Due to their small size, hedgehogs have a high chance of gaining weight and become obese. Hence, it would be best if you fed your hedgehog in moderation.
Cat food is a great meal to give your hedgehog as it will provide it with the necessary nutrition. You can also opt for hedgehog kibble. Even though hedgehogs are active animals that enjoy running, it is still vital to practice moderation.
Baby hedgehogs only require up to tablespoons of kibble daily along with fruits and vegetables. As hedgehogs mature into adults, they will require more food.
It is best if you keep monitoring your hedgehog’s weight to keep updated. If you notice a significant weight gain, you should control your hedgehog’s diet.
So are hedgehogs insectivores or not? Hedgehogs are mammals famous for being insectivores. However, insects are not the only thing that hedgehogs consume. Although a major part of their diet is insects, hedgehogs also consume small snakes and rodents.
There are also cases where hedgehogs have eaten roadkill. There are many animals apart from hedgehogs that are insectivores. Some animals that are insectivores are lizards, bats, opossums, birds, and shrews. Some insects also feed on other insects, such as praying mantis and dragonflies.
You can feed your pet hedgehog freeze-dries, mealworms and crickets. Apart from this, you can give your hedgehog fruits such as apples, berries, and melons. You should not give your hedgehog dried fruits. You can also feed hedgehogs vegetables.
You should give boiled chicken and eggs to hedgehogs as treats. Cat or hedgehog kibble should be their main meal. It is important to monitor and control your hedgehog’s diet as they are prone to gaining weight and becoming obese.