It’s rare to find hedgies as domestic pets, but the trend of owning them has undoubtedly grown. You see, hedgehogs make phenomenal pets. They are an intelligent animal species that may not be the best cuddlers but do make friendly and playful companions.
So, if you’re wondering about adopting a hedgehog, it’s best you do a bit of research about the needs and wants of this adorable creature before you become a hedgehog’s parent. Their diet, in particular, is a very important aspect of their care.
So, can hedgehogs eat crickets? Yes, hedgehogs are omnivorous scavengers and enjoy eating all kinds of insects in the wild, including crickets. However, this should not be the only source of food for your hedgehogs, as they require many vitamins and other nutrients that insects don’t provide.
Before you start panicking about the complex needs of your new hedgehog, continue reading for some more information about what you should and shouldn’t be feeding your spiky friend.
What Should Be The Primary Diet Of Hedgehogs?
Like most other animals, you’ll find meals formulated specifically for hedgehogs. But in general, hedgehogs are omnivores and insectivores.
Primarily, they need to have a protein-based diet. Even hedgehog-specific diets may need to be supplemented with fresh sources of protein or fresh fruits and veggies, not only for your hedgehog’s physical wellbeing but also for their enjoyment.
Of course, we always recommend checking with your vet before making changes to your hedgehog’s diet!
Should I Feed My Hedgehog Live Or Frozen Insects?
You can do either. You will find live as well as frozen insects for your hedgehog to munch on in many pet stores. And, it is a meal that will do your hedgie good, as that is a part of their natural diet.
Not to mention, hedgehogs seem to love a good crunchy meal. An insect-based snack will satiate your hedgies’ taste buds as well as other dietary needs. Hedgehogs can eat many different kinds of insects such as slugs, millipedes, mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers, and even snails.
As hedgehogs are scavengers, they can even eat small nesting birds, lizards, eggs, smaller rodents, and any scraps of carrion they come across. On the other hand, they are also known to enjoy a fruity snack from time to time. There seems to be a consensus that hedgehogs aren’t picky eaters.
So, the one thing that you have to keep in mind when you feed your hedgehog is that you try not to overfeed it. A tablespoon of food for a baby hedgehog and two or a bit more for an adult hedgehog is ample food.
Otherwise, they are prone to obesity, which causes many other complications and shortens their lifespan. You may be thinking, “but hedgehogs eat as much as they want in the wild!”
Well, yes, but that’s only if they can find it. They really have to work at finding food, and after all that running around and searching, they’ve burned quite a lot of calories. We’re willing to bet your pampered hedgie doesn’t get quite as much exercise, even if you take them out multiple times a day.
What Kind Of Snacks Can You Feed Your Hedgehog?
Hedgehogs don’t harass their parents when it comes to eating their meals. Your hedgie will probably eat everything you put in front of it. But you make allowances for different tastes, so if your hedgie doesn’t feel like gobbling down something, don’t force it.
Now, hedgehogs do get obese if you overfeed them, so do take care. But a snack of some fresh fruit every once or twice a week will only do your prickly baby some good.
You can feed your hedgie many kinds of fruits such as berries, cherries without pits, melons, apples, and bananas. Some greens will do your hedgie good, too, so you can try giving them some cucumbers, fresh green beans, and cooked squash.
What Should You Never Feed Your Hedgehogs?
Many pet parents find it hard to believe that avocados are toxic for hedgehogs. But, it is true. You see, avocados have persin, which is dangerous for most pets. Then again, many fruits that fall into the citrus fruits category are unsafe for your tiny buddy as these fruits are very acidic.
You may think that since hedgehogs are omnivores their stomachs can handle pretty much anything. On the contrary, hedgehogs have very delicate tummies and even more sensitive digestive systems that seem to malfunction on the slightest bit of unsavory food. So, do take care about what you feed your pet.
Keep starchy vegetables off your hedgehog’s diet plan, such as potatoes or corn. Vegetables like garlic, onions, celery, and tomatoes should be avoided too. Then you keep most of the human food away from your hedgie, and most animals don’t do too well with a high sodium or sugar diet.
Furthermore, you should never feed your hedgehog raw meat or processed meat. A little bit of plain cooked meat will do. Keep away chocolate and dairy products from your pet too. And, dried fruits and dried vegetables also fall into the no-no list for your hedgie.
It’s essential to understand that hedgehogs don’t fall into the ordinary pet category. Parenting is never an easy task, to begin with. But if you happen to be the proud parent of an exotic animal, know that your job now entails more responsibilities.
Yet, most pet parents gladly care and nurture their hedgehogs, as many parents claim that hedgehogs are as fun as any other pet.
So, be very sure about your ability to care for an exotic pet before adopting a hedgehog. In time, most pet parents realize that as time goes by, the responsibilities don’t seem like such a chore, and that it is very easy to fall in love with a hedgehog.
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