Fruit is vital for a balanced diet. But can hedgehogs eat fruit and is it safe for them to eat? Or should fruit be avoided?
Hedgehogs can eat some fruit but there are other fruit varieties that must be avoided. Unfortunately, answering this question on its own is not simple which is why we have compiled a list of fruits that hedgehogs can eat and a list of fruits that must be avoided.
It is also worth noting that, although healthy for humans, the natural sugar in fruit can cause hedgehogs to gain weight and potentially develop diabetes. Instead, make sure you use fruit as a treat and only feed it to hedgehogs in moderation.
What Fruits Can Hedgehogs Eat?
Let’s start off with the good news. Below are a handful of fruits that are perfectly safe for hedgehogs to eat in moderation. As always, ensure you use fruit as a treat as excessive consumption can lead to dramatic weight gain:
- Apples – Hedgehogs can eat apples. You do need to do a little prep work beforehand though. Make it easier for hedgehogs to digest by removing the core, pips, stalk and skin. Once you’ve removed all the tough parts, cut the flesh into small bite-sized pieces.
- Bananas – Hedgehogs can also eat bananas but you do need to make sure they’re perfectly ripe. Underripe bananas can be tough to digest. Overripe bananas can be overly sugary. Once you have perfectly ripe bananas, peel and slice a small piece from the centre of the bananas. You’ll have to eat the rest yourself!
- Melon – Hedgehogs can eat melon in moderation as it does contain quite a high level of sugar. Hedgehogs can eat a variety of melons including watermelon, gala melon and cantaloupe. Ensure you cut the melon into tiny pieces before feeding it to hedgehogs and remove all pips, seeds and skin.
- Strawberries – Although packed full of sweetness which hedgehogs love, the sugar content of strawberries is actually remarkably low which means you can feed hedgehogs more strawberries than other fruits on this list. Remove the green, try to remove some of the seeds from the outside if they’re large and then slice into tiny pieces.
- Other Berries – Berries are enjoyed by hedgehogs but they only need 1 or 2. If feeding hedgehogs berries then we would recommend buying organic to avoid feeding hedgehogs with unnecessary chemicals. Berries tend to be high in pesticides if non-organic berries are purchased.
- Kiwi – Kiwi is safe for hedgehogs to consume but you will need to remove the skin and then slice the kiwi up into small pieces. The central core of kiwi can also be challenging to chew so it may also be worth removing this alongside some of the seeds.
What Fruits Can Hedgehogs NOT Eat?
Unfortunately, there is an extensive list of fruits that are not suitable for hedgehogs to eat. Some of these fruits are dangerous and some are simply uncomfortable for hedgehogs to eat. The list of suitable fruits is extensive enough that we would avoid feeding any of the following to hedgehogs:
- Grapes – Grapes are a strange fruit for hedgehogs. They are known to be highly toxic and can do long term damage but the reason is not known. It is unknown whether it is the juice, flesh, pips or skin but there’s something in grapes that renders them unsuitable.
- Oranges – Although hedgehogs make like the smell of oranges, they can actually be painful to eat as the high acid levels can cause saw gums and throats. The acidic content can also cause damage to the digestive system of hedgehogs.
- Pineapple – Pineapple impacts hedgehogs in the same way as oranges. It is the high acid content that makes it unsuitable for hedgehogs. The same can be applied to all citrus fruits such as lemons and limes.
- Avocados – Although some resources will claim that a little avocado is safe, we would always recommend erring on the side of caution when feeding hedgehogs any foods. There are two issues with avocados. Firstly that they may contain a toxic that does long term internal damage. They are also fatty which can cause hedgehogs to put on weight leading to further health issues.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Dried Fruit?
Hedgehogs cannot eat dried fruit and it should be avoided at all times. The sticky outside and tough skin make it tough for a hedgehog to both chew and digest. Hedgehogs find it hard to break through tough skins which is why they will struggle to consume dried fruit.
Not only this, but with dried fruit being so sticky, it can stick to the inside of a hedgehogs throat causing them to choke.
Additionally, some dried fruit is actually toxic to hedgehogs. Raisins, for example, are dried grapes and grapes are toxic to hedgehogs.
Do Wild Hedgehogs Eat Fruit?
Studies have been completed on wild hedgehogs to determine what their diet is made up of and it has been discovered that they will eat fallen fruit from trees including apples, pears and berries.
They are omnivorous, however, and the majority of their diet will be made up of insects such as beetles, earwigs, caterpillars and worms.
Hedgehogs in the wild are opportunistic hunters which means they aren’t particularly fussy. This is why it is believed that they will consume fallen fruit if they happen upon it. The same can be said for the egg of ground-nesting birds.
There are a number of fruits that hedgehogs can eat but there are also several fruits that must be avoided. Dried fruit should also not be fed to hedgehogs as it can be both a choking hazard and tough to digest.