Most prospective and new hedgehog owners often question what hedgehogs can safely eat. Can hedgehogs eat cherries? Can they eat other berries? And so on… A hedgehog’s diet is something the majority of people don’t know. After all, it is not a typical pet.
Hedgehogs can eat cherries but you should only feed them cherries in moderation. As they are high in sugar and hedgehogs are only small creatures, a small number of cherries can actually lead to weight gain and potentially diabetes.
Remember that providing your hedgie with the right type of food is vital for their existence. It is what makes them live a long and happy life. We’ve also rounded up some important things for you to know as a hedgie owner and their diet.
A Good Hedgehog Diet
Before anything else, let’s understand first what’s a good hedgehog dietary intake.
A hedgie’s fundamental diet is pretty uncomplicated, and it’s important for you to understand it so you won’t be helpless without your food list. Not only that, you’ll have a better understanding of your hedgehog’s needs in general.
Ultimately, a good hedgehog diet should be low in fat, high in protein and low in sugar. Things that are fatty for humans are also fatty for hedgehogs.
What Type of Berries Can Hedgehogs Eat?
Most berries can be given to a hedgehog. However, make sure to check the ratios of macronutrients and other nutrients as well. Also, some berries are acidic, and these are the ones you should avoid.
Here’s a list of berries that your hedgehog can and can’t eat:
- Safe Berries:
Acai, Goji, Bilberries, Black Mulberry, Boysenberry, Dewberry, Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries (and their tops), Raspberries
- Unsafe Berries:
Agarita, Buffalo, Wild, Dried
Hedgehogs can eat certain berries as mentioned above, every now and then. However, make sure to remove the skin first prior to feeding them to your hedgehog. This is to mitigate the risk of choking and reduce any chemical toxicity that’s sprayed into the berries.
Removing blueberries’ skin can be tricky since these types are highly delicate.
Certain berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries) are great when it comes to nutritional value. They contain certain properties that help protect your hedgehog against diseases. The berries’ high level of antioxidants and phytochemicals help protect your hedgehog’s cells from damage.
These phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemicals and nutrients. Some nutrients that berries contain are vitamin K, C, E, and fibre.
Wild berries are not recommended as they can be poisonous to hedgehogs and possibly to humans. We’re talking those small red or white berries growing on a bush that you don’t really recognise or are unsure what it may be.
Wild hedgehogs, on the other hand, may eat wild berries yet there is no available information with numbers regarding death rates from wild berry toxicity. So, without a full understanding of what wild berries exactly are, it can be risky towards your hedgehog’s life.
Wild berries may contain bacterial microbes and insects that are dangerous to hedgehogs. Therefore, it’s better to avoid them.
Organic berries can be given to your hedgehog, and since they are organic, there are fewer chemicals sprayed on them.
A wide array of chemicals are sprinkled on berries to preserve them and make them last longer from going off prematurely. These chemicals may do minimal harm to humans, but they can be seriously harmful to small creatures like hedgehogs.
The smaller body frames of hedgehogs may mean small amounts of chemicals are able to yield more of their toxic substances. Unlike us, humans, with our larger body frames, small amounts are of little to no effect.
Pesticide residues will not be completely removed just by washing the berries since most chemicals end up permeating into them.
As for dried berries, these are not good for your spiny pet.
They may contain some form of preservatives that ensure they won’t get rotten, and these preservatives can be a threat to hedgehogs. Dried berries can make your hedgehog’s pooping problematic. These berries can harden their stool, and worse it can lead to constipation.
Drying berries helps get rid of water, and this increases the sugar level by the berry’s weight. So, a dried berry may contain twice the sugar content of a non-dried berry. The extra sugar is not healthy for your hedgehog over a lengthy period of time. It can be a huge factor for your hedgehog to become diabetic.
Not to mention, dried berries are also sticky when eaten. Dissimilar to dried cat biscuits in which a hedgehog can munch into smaller pieces, dried berries being sticky can be an issue as they may get stuck in a hedgehog’s throat.
Are Cherries Safe for Hedgehogs?
Your hedgehog can eat cherries as long as they are pitted — the small stones are removed together with the skin, and they are cut into tiny pieces.
Initially, you should feed your hedgehog small portions to avoid any adverse reaction. Make sure you give cherries in moderation.
Do Wild Hedgehogs Eat Cherries?
Some studies have actually looked into a wild hedgehogs diet, and researchers have observed that wild hedgehogs do eat cherries as part of their scavenged diet. Cherries may only have small amounts of micronutrients, but they are packed with antioxidants.
Hedgehogs are carnivores by nature but also enjoy fruits. You can give your hedgehog certain fruits, which include cherries, melons, strawberries, pears, and apples. The fruits should be peeled and cut, so your hedgehog does not choke on them.
Hedgehogs especially enjoy strawberries.
You can give your hedgehogs organic berries such as blueberries and raspberries, given that they are peeled and cut into tiny pieces. Organic berries are good for them as they do not contain harmful chemicals.
You should not give wild berries as they are poisonous and dried berries due to their high preservative content.
Some fruits that should not be given to hedgehogs are grapes, citrus fruits, avocados, dried fruits, pineapples, and raisins.