Can You Overfeed a Wild Hedgehog?

If there is one thing hedgehogs love, it is to eat. Hedgehogs follow a varied diet and consume all sorts of things; however, most of their diet depends on insects. Many people like putting out food for hedgehogs in their gardens. If you like feeding wild hedgehogs that may enter your garden, it is natural to think if there is any way you can overfeed it. 

Usually, wild hedgehogs will not overfeed. However, there are some instances when they do. 

Hedgehogs are small animals and are prone to gaining weight. Therefore, when feeding wild hedgehogs, it is best for their health not to overfeed them. An overweight hedgehog has difficulty rolling into a ball and is more susceptible to diseases.  If you think you may be overfeeding hedgehogs, you can try putting out less food next time. 

What Can You Feed a Wild Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs are largely insectivores; there is a reason they are considered to be a gardener’s best friend. Hedgehogs love to eat different worms and pests found in gardens. However, apart from the protein in insects, hedgehogs also require fibre.

There are certain things you must consider before you decide to feed a wild hedgehog. For instance, many people put out cat food for hedgehogs to consume. However, it is important not to feed too much cat food to wild hedgehogs because of its additives.

Hedgehogs do not require high vitamin A and vitamin D levels because they are nocturnal and efficient at processing chemicals. 

Hedgehogs love to consume mealworms, but they should not be fed too much while they contain a lot of protein. It is important to maintain moderation when dealing with mealworms. Hedgehogs can get addicted to mealworms, and in the long run, they can be harmful because of the poor calcium to phosphorus ratio. 

In the wild, hedgehogs consume fallen fruit, berries and seeds. However, these things are not an essential part of the hedgehog’s diet. Giving dried fruit to hedgehogs can seem like a good idea. However, it has high sugar content and is sticky.

In addition, dried fruits do not attract hedgehogs to gardens.

Wild hedgehogs do not consume fish mainly because it is difficult to catch. There is fish-based cat food available for hedgehogs, but some of them may not be into it. In addition, consuming too much fish can lead to stinky hedgehog poo.

You can put out food that replicates a hedgehog’s diet. For instance, you can give meat-based cat food to hedgehogs. In addition, boiled chicken is also a good option as well as boiled eggs. Moreover, you can give boiled vegetables to hedgehogs as they consume vegetable matter, although it does not constitute a big part of their diet. 

There are hedgehog biscuits, dog biscuits and cat biscuits available which you can feed your hedgehog. In addition to the food, you must also leave out fresh water for the hedgehogs to drink from. 

It is best to avoid milk and dairy products like yoghurt, which can cause hedgehogs to have diarrhoea. Many people are not aware, but hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. Moreover, you must also avoid giving things like oats, sunflower hearts and peanuts ad this can lead to metallic bone disease. 

Can Hedgehogs Become Obese?

Hedgehogs in the wild may be less prone to becoming obese because of a lack of food sources. In addition, hedgehogs also have to search for food, which they do the whole night. As a result, these hedgehogs burn some calories. 

Pet hedgehogs are more likely to become obese if they do not receive enough exercise. How likely a hedgehog is to become obese also depends on its breed. For instance, an African pygmy hedgehog is prone to gaining weight. However, different hedgehogs deal with obesity in different ways. 

There are a number of reasons why hedgehogs can become obese. The first obvious reason why a hedgehog may be obese is consuming too much food. If you have a pet hedgehog and give it too much food comprising of fat, it will become obese. Similarly, putting out fatty food for wild hedgehogs may also cause some of them to gain extra weight. 

Hedgehogs need to get lots of exercise to burn calories. In the wild, hedgehogs love to forage through the night in search of food. If you have a pet hedgehog, it spends most of its time alone. Therefore, installing a running wheel in your hedgehog’s cage is essential, so it gets lots of exercises. Not only is exercise important for physical health, but also needed for mental stimulation. 

Sometimes, hedgehogs may become obese simply because it is in their genes. Many genetic diseases are passed down from the parent to the offspring. 

As pet owners, we are likely to fall for our pet’s cuteness and give them too many treats. It is important to stick to giving treats occasionally rather than every day. 

An obese hedgehog faces a lot of problems in its life. You will find that an obese hedgehog may become more lethargic and experience shortness of breath. In addition, when hedgehogs gain weight, they become more susceptible to heart attacks, developing tumours and fatty liver diseases. Overall, the lifespan of an overweight hedgehog is reduced and can lead to an early death. 

Summary 

Many people like putting out food for hedgehogs, but it is common to wonder if you can overfeed them. Hedgehogs are already prone to gaining weight because of their small size and can put on weight. However, it is unlikely for wild hedgehogs to become obese because of how much ground they cover while foraging. 

You can replicate a wild hedgehog’s diet by feeding it protein in the form of meat-based cat foods. However, you must avoid mealworms, peanuts, dairy products. Obesity is dangerous in hedgehogs and can lead to diseases and early death. Hedgehogs can become obese because of several reasons such as overeating, getting less exercise, genetic reasons, and getting too many treats from owners. 

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Hey, I'm Brian and I love hedgehogs. They're curious little animals that fascinate me. Over the years, I've become extremely knowledgeable about hedgehogs so have decided to share that knowledge here