Most hedgehog owners frequently fumble when it comes to the diet of their beloved hedgehogs. It makes sense for them to be clueless. Hedgehogs aren’t trendy pets. But, you will have to remember a few things about their diet to get things right when it comes to hedgies.
So, can hedgehogs eat bananas? Hedgehogs can eat small amounts of banana. Bananas are soft, nutritious, and easily digestible. They’re not acidic like citrus fruits either and make for a tasty snack or extra boost of vitamin C in a hedgehog’s diet.
But, before we go into explaining the details about why bananas make a healthy snack, let’s delve into particulars about the diet of your prickly pet.
In the wild, hedgies eat small critters like worms, flies, slugs, frogs (yes, hedgehogs eat frogs), and others. They run on a low-fat, high-protein diet. But that’s not all they eat. They eat different things in the wild too. Certain vegetables, eggs, and fruits are often a choice meal when they come across them.
Here are some important aspects of a hedgehog’s diet:
- Their primary diet should have more than 20% protein and 5-15% fat. Never overfeed your hedgie, especially when it comes to fatty foods, as hedgehogs tend to become obese, creating all kinds of health conditions.
- Treats should only be given 3-4 times a week.
- The fruits, veggies, and eggs that you feed your hedgie will serve as a snack and a secondary source of other nutrients that are vital for your hedgehog. These nutrients should include vitamins, fibers, calcium, carbohydrates, and minerals.
- Soft food is easy for your hedgehog to eat, but certain hard foods are a smarter option as the hard food provides the crunchy element that hedgehogs are used to and keeps their teeth and gums healthy.
- If you opt to feed your hedgie cat food, make sure it is adult cat food rather than cat food for kittens. Cat food for kittens has a more significant fat content than adult cat food.
Many renowned exotic vets claim that hedgehogs are better off on a cat food diet than generic hedgehog meals available in the market. The reason for this recommendation is that cat food is often of premium quality and suits your hedgie better. In comparison, available hedgehog food is of considerably low quality.
Treats and Snacks for Your Hedgehog
As providing other treats and snacks comes into the picture, many hedgie parents feel unsure about the reason behind giving a variety of foods to their prickly pet, but there are so many good reasons for doing so.
Your hedgie gets extra nutrients from the wholesome treats and snacks you offer. It is common knowledge that hedgehogs require a high protein diet. But, they also need minerals, vitamins, and fibers. Vitamins help with better fur and healthy skin. They also aid in enhancing vision.
Fibers are vital for improved digestion. And, seeing as how hedgies have delicate tummies, it’s certainly a right call to keep fiber a part of your hedgehog’s dietary routine. Minerals are necessary for the healthy growth of bones and teeth.
Also, hedgehogs eat all kinds of things in the wild. They are a sucker for food, so if you want a happy and healthy hedgie on your hand, you’ll want to provide them with meals that they enjoy. This will also invariably lead to a closer bond between you and your beloved pet.
And, though many hedgehog lovers feel bewildered about what to feed their pets, it’s actually quite simple to understand and remember.
Is It Safe for Hedgehogs to Eat Bananas?
Now that you know why it’s essential for your hedgie to have other goodies as part of its meals, let’s talk about why bananas are absolutely suitable for your little ball of quills.
As mentioned earlier, bananas are safe for your hedgehog to eat. Most hedgehogs love snarfing down bananas. And, the benefits of offering bananas as a treat for your hedgehog are numerous.
Bananas are a great source of vitamins, particularly vitamin C and B6. Hence, it’s going to keep the skin and fur of your hedgehog looking superb.
Bananas are a fantastic source of energy, minus fat and cholesterol. And, it aids digestion and helps beat gastronomical issues. Furthermore, bananas contain a rich source of potassium, which is good for heart health and blood pressure.
However, it is best to keep in mind that you aren’t feeding a great dane. Hedgies are tiny creatures with tiny appetites. So, make sure you only offer a banana treat every other day, and just a small spoonfull.
What Else Can Hedgehogs Eat as Treats And Snacks?
As yummy a treat as bananas are, your hedgehog will probably appreciate diversity in treats and snacks too.
Many hedgehog lovers don’t feel comfortable trying out new food items with their spikey friends to avoid complications. So, here’s a list of things that you can feed your hedgehogs without fear of any health concerns.
Here are some healthy treats you can feed to hedgehogs:
- Vegetables – Green beans, fresh tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, arugula. It is best to avoid starchy veggies such as corn or potatoes.
- Fruits – Apples, pears, strawberries, melons, cherries, berries, and kiwi fruit. Do not feed your hedgies avocados; they are healthy for humans but not for hedgehogs with their high fat content. Do not feed your hedgehogs citrus fruit either, as it is too acidic.
- Eggs – Scrambled or hard-boiled eggs make a delicious treat. But, only serve freshly cooked eggs you can also give quail eggs or duck eggs.
- Insects – Mealworms, wax worms, and crickets will be devoured quickly by your quilled comrade. But, never feed your pet hedgie wild bugs as there is always the danger of pesticide poisoning. An insect treat, once or twice a week, is quite enough for the little fellow.
Nothing on the list is processed, canned, or seasoned. Almost all of the food items mentioned in the list contain health benefits for your tiny buddy as well.
Caring for a pet is a huge responsibility. But, it also brings with it tons of joy and laughter. The idea is to get to know enough about your pet to understand its needs and wants.
Naturally, your hedgie isn’t going to sit you down and tell you about itself, so when you keep an exotic pet, you should consult with the vet with its dietary requirements as well as other upkeep needs. Here are a few common queries that many hedgehog parents often wonder about.
Is It Safe For Hedgehogs to Eat Grapes?
Unfortunately, grapes are not for hedgies. Grapes can cause kidney and liver damage in your beloved pets. Hence, it is considered toxic for hedgehogs.
Some videos and articles claim that feeding anything in moderation is safe. But, considering the size of your pet, it’s better to err on the side of caution and steer clear of grapes.
Why Can’t I Feed My Hedgehog Citrus Fruits?
Well, citrus fruits are acidic. And, for your tiny pet, even a little is enough to damage its digestive tract. So, when you feel the urge to offer some orange, lime, or lemon to your hedgehog, remember the abdominal pain and discomfort you’ll be putting your hedgie through for a tasty morsel.
How Long Do Pet Hedgehogs Live?
In the wild, hedgehogs live a relatively long lifespan, stretching from 4-7 years. Some even live up to 16 years!
As a pet, hedgehogs live happy and healthy lives too. Most live up to five years. But, according to Dr. Keller, with appropriate care and nutritional diet, your hedgie will live as long as eight to ten years.
What Kind of Cat Food Can You Feed Your Hedgehog?
It’s best to buy two or three premium brands of cat food. Poultry-based, dry cat food is the best choice. The concept behind buying two or three brands is that your hedgehogs will get added nutrition from different meals.
Hedgehogs enjoy eating, so the different flavors will also make them happy. And, you can get a clear idea about which brand suits your hedgehog and which is their preferred taste.
Contrary to popular belief, hedgehogs aren’t plaint little creatures with no mind. They are quite particular about their preferences when it comes to food. So, while one hedgie may enjoy one brand, another may not find it tasty at all. The same holds for their snacking choices.
Each tiny hedgie has likes and dislikes. And, if you make it a point to present what your hedgie prefers more, your small pet will genuinely appreciate you all the more for it.
One or two tablespoons of kibble per day are appropriate for adult hedgehogs. You can also provide a teaspoon of fruits or vegetables during the day to treat your beloved pet.
If you have a larger-sized or more active hedgehog on your hands, you could increase the amount of food a little more. It’s smart to keep a close eye on your hedgie’s weight, as hedgehogs are prone to obesity and diabetes.
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