Giving any animal a varied diet is vital. But can hedgehogs eat grapes and are they safe to consume?
Although some online resources claim otherwise, hedgehogs cannot eat grapes. Both grapes and raisins are toxic to hedgehogs and can cause severe damage to their kidneys and liver.
As always, err on the side of caution when feeding hedgehogs with foods that are claimed to be fine for them in some articles and videos online. If a hedgehog has accidentally eaten grapes then it would be a good idea to get them checked over by a vet as soon as possible.
Why Hedgehogs Cannot Eat Grapes
Unfortunately, medical experts and veterinarians do not seem to have conclusive proof as to why grapes can be so toxic to hedgehogs. It is unknown whether it is the skin, the seeds, the juice or the flesh of the grape that gives them such a high level of toxicity.
This toxicity isn’t isolated to hedgehogs either! Cats and dogs have both been known to suffer after consuming grapes and the reason for this remains unknown.
Ultimately, grapes can have a hugely negative impact on the health of a hedgehog so is worth avoiding at all costs.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Raisins?
Raisins are grapes that have been dried for a few weeks. As the grapes dry, they darken and that is why raisins are so dark in colour. But can hedgehogs eat raisins? Unfortunately, like grapes, hedgehogs cannot eat raisins. They are also highly toxic to hedgehogs.
As raisins are often sticky and dense, they can also become a choking hazard for hedgehogs who struggle to chew them and find they stick to the inside of their throat if care is not taken. Raisins should never be fed to hedgehogs and must be avoided.
What Fruits Can Hedgehogs Eat?
Now you’re aware that hedgehogs cannot eat grapes, you may be wondering what fruits they can eat safely. Fruits, after all, are packed full of nutrients so getting them into a hedgehogs diet can be important. The good news is that there are a number of fruits that are perfectly safe for hedgehogs to eat.
Be warned, however, that there are further fruits that remain dangerous to give to hedgehogs which we have covered further in this article.
Hedgehogs can eat apples but it’s worth limiting their consumption. Apples are high in natural sugar. Even though it is natural, the high sugar content can still cause hedgehogs to put on excessive amounts of weight. Instead, try to moderate the amount of apple they consume.
If you plan on feeding apples to hedgehogs then it is also worth removing the skin and core before cutting into small cubes. This can prevent hedgehogs from choking on the apple pieces as the skin is often hard for them to break down.
Hedgehogs can eat peats. If you’ve read about apples above then the same rules can be applied to pears, which are a very similar fruit. As with apples, pears can cause hedgehogs to pile on the weight so it is advised that you moderate the amount of pear they eat. Hedgehogs, like humans, can develop diabetes.
Again, as with apples, it is also worth coring, removing the stalk and skin and then cutting into small cubes to make it far easier for a hedgehog to chew and digest.
Hedgehogs can eat bananas. Unfortunately, we’re going to sound like a broken record here because, as with most fruit, it’s important that you moderate the quantity of banana fed to hedgehogs due to the high sugar content which can lead to weight gain.
We would advise peeling the banana then cutting out a 1-inch segment from the middle of the banana. Cut this small segment into small pieces then feed to a hedgehog. You will, of course, have to like bananas yourself as you’ll need to consume the rest otherwise it will go to waste.
It’s also worth noting that as a banana ripens it develops more sugar. Conversely, under ripened bananas can be harder to digest. Try to only feed hedgehogs perfectly ripe bananas so that they are not too high in sugar but are also easy to digest.
Hedgehogs can eat melon. They can eat a range of melon varieties including watermelon, honeydew and gala. Before feeding hedgehogs melon, we would advise removing both the skin and seeds before cutting into small, bite-sized cubed. Remember bite-sized cubes for a hedgehog is much smaller than cubes for a human.
Much like apples and pears, melons are quite high in natural sugar so limit the number of times you feed hedgehogs melon to prevent any weight gain.
Hedgehogs can eat berries. They can eat strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Where possible, we would opt for organic berries which have not been sprayed with countless chemical and pesticides as they can cause long term health problems to hedgehogs, especially if they eat a lot of berries.
Try to limit a hedgehogs consumption of berries to those with soft skins. They can find it hard to break through the skin of a blueberry, for example, which can lead to choking. If you allow berries to slightly overripen and soften then this can make it easier to consume. Of course, this also increases the sugar content.
It should go without saying that any berries that have mold beginning to form on the outside should be discarded immediately as they can make hedgehogs ill.
What Fruits Can Hedgehogs NOT Eat?
Grapes are not the only fruit that should be avoided when feeding hedgehogs. There is actually a range of fruits that can be toxic and/or dangerous for hedgehogs to consume and we’ve outlined some of these below:
Oranges are acidic, as you probably know from eating them yourself. The acidity in oranges can make it difficult for hedgehogs to digest oranges. Therefore, hedgehogs cannot eat oranges. Were you to feed oranges to hedgehogs over an extended period of time then there is a chance you will cause long term damage.
Much like oranges, pineapple is also highly acidic which is why hedgehogs cannot eat pineapple. Pineapple can cause serious long term damage to the digestive tract of hedgehogs which is why you should avoid feeding hedgehogs pineapple.
Pineapple is also very high in sugar which can cause hedgehogs to rapidly gain weight. There simply is no benefit to feeding hedgehogs pineapple when you can feed them with berries, apples or bananas instead.
Lemons and Limes
As you may have worked out, any fruit with a high level of acid should be avoided. As you can imagine, lemons and limes are packed full of acid. In fact, this can be applied to all citrus fruits. This means grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges should all be avoided.
Although us humans can eat a variety of fruits doesn’t mean that every other mammal can. This is especially true for hedgehogs who can become severely ill if they eat grapes. Hedgehogs cannot eat grapes and should also avoid highly acidic fruits such as oranges, pineapple and lemons.
There is a range of fruits that hedgehogs can eat, however. These include apples, pears, melon and berries. It is important, nevertheless, to keep a close eye on their sugar consumption. Consuming a high quantity of apples, for example, can actually lead to weight gain due to the high sugar content.