Did your hedgie eat grass while chilling in the garden with you? You’re probably wondering if your pet is safe or not and whether or not hedgehogs can eat grass safely?
Hedgehogs should not eat grass. Their digestive system lacks the needed components to break down grass. There is also a risk that your grass contains chemicals from feeds and fertilisers.
There is always a risk that your hedgehog, being inquisitive, will eat grass because they’re intrigued to see what it tastes like. A small nibble of a blade of grass is unlikely to cause any long-term damage but we would avoid actively feeding hedgehogs with grass.
Why is Grass Not Allowed?
Hedgehogs, regardless of species, must not be fed grass since their natural diet does not consist of it. More so, their teeth and body systems have not evolved to digest grass.
Consuming it can cause severe health problems for hedgies. Their digestive systems lack the right enzymes required to break down grass into nutrients for the body.
Generally, hedgies are insectivores and need proper nutrients which are not often found in typical pet foods. Some owners tend to feed cat food to their hedgehogs, but there are other appropriate foods you can give them.
Hedgehogs are also referred to as omnivores because they consume various foods, such as small animals and some plants.
However, the most common hedgehog breed that is often kept as pets is an African Pygmy. Their diet is different from wild hedgehogs since they are domesticated and are hybrid.
What Can Hedgehogs Eat?
These small spiny mammals are known to feed mostly on insects. Why? Because they have this unique ability to digest chitin that comes from the insects’ exoskeleton. Chitin helps provide fibre and protein to your hedgie.
However, you need to take note that chitin alone isn’t enough to suffice your pet’s nutrient needs. You need to feed your hedgehog with other food items, and these include:
Whether live or freeze-dried, mealworms are another great source of chitins. Live mealworms provide hedgehogs with mental stimulation. This is important considering hedgies need to focus and make efforts mentally when getting hold of moving worms.
These insects are a great source of both mental stimulation and chitin. Crickets can be given to your hedgie in either freeze-dried or live form. Prior to feeding these insects to your hedgie, make sure to gut-load them. Doing so will guarantee sufficient nutrition for your hedgehog.
What Foods Should be Avoided?
Furthermore, hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. Milk can make them ill, and bread can be difficult for them to digest.
Not to mention, it offers less nutritional value for them, too. Apart from these, you also need to steer clear of other harmful foods that can cause health problems to your hedgie, such as:
- Nuts and seeds, grapes and raisins, onions, garlic, mushrooms, citrus fruits, avocados, chocolates, fatty foods or high-fat meat, raw meats, processed foods
Hedgies are small spiny mammals that indeed make for adorable pets. These critters feed majorly on insects, but can also feed on some plant-based food in small amounts. Apart from vegetables, you can feed your hedgie with broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, cucumber, or even peas.
But can hedgehogs eat grass? Unfortunately, they can’t eat nor digest grass well.
Consuming a small amount of grass may not do harm, yet it can be really hard for their tummies to digest and absorb it. Not only that, the toxic fertilizers and pesticides sprayed on grass are proven to be deadly for your hedgie’s health.