Hedgehogs, generally speaking, are a rather obscure and unique pet to keep in a domesticated environment. It can be difficult to find as much information on their care as it can with other more commonly kept pets such as cats and dogs and equally as confusing knowing what to actually feed them!
One question we came across the other day was whether or not hedgehogs can eat frogs. This a very good question and one we wanted to delve into just that little bit deeper.
So, do hedgehogs eat frogs? Yes, hedgehogs do eat frogs, however, this is not usually considered the main part of their diet. It is more common for frogs to eat invertebrates such as slugs, worms, beetles, and earwigs. Hedgehogs are opportunists and therefore in the wild will get ahold of any meal they can including frogs.
Hedgehogs are more likely to eat frogs on an occasional basis rather than at every meal. Hedgehogs usually opt for insects and creepy crawlies as their primary food source. It is true to say that hedgehogs would normally choose to eat invertebrates rather than vertebrates however these shouldn’t be ruled out completely.
Let’s take a look into some more details about hedgehogs’ eating habits and their relationship with frogs as a food source.
Can domesticated hedgehogs eat frogs?
Domesticated hedgehogs can and will eat frogs. As an owner, it is not one of the most obvious feed types to give to your hedgehog, but it is fair to say that some owners do to add a bit of variety into their diet.
Hedgehogs are known as generalists and tend to eat a wide range of foodstuffs. They will often eat anything and everything available to them.
Eating frogs is not a hazard for frogs however this will usually not be their main source of nutrition. Their primary food consumption should consist of a wide range of insects. The majority of their diet is made up of invertebrates, the most important for nutrition being slugs, mealworm, beetles, caterpillars, and earwigs.
These types of feeds can be bought throughout most big pet stores very easily. Hedgehogs are generally quite cheap to feed overall compared to say a cat or dog, but, indeed, hedgehogs will also eat these types of canned meats if given the option.
Can wild hedgehogs eat frogs?
Wild hedgehogs can absolutely eat frogs, and they do! It isn’t considered to be their first choice of yummy grub, but if presented with that option they will happily wolf down a live wild frog. Hedgehogs are opportunists, meaning if the opportunity presents itself they go for it.
A hedgehog in the wild may come across a frog and look to it as their only option. They never know when more food opportunities will present themselves so they take full advantage of the situation.
In the wild hedgehogs will often choose insects and other creepy crawlies over frogs. They like to forage for their food and frogs do not allow for this and are usually readily available and a relatively easy catch. Hedgehogs will come across frogs infrequently and therefore do not see them as their main meal often.
Other types of small mammals can also become a tasty snack for hedgehogs, such as:
- Small Toads
- Baby Birds (and their eggs)
Toads can actually be quite beneficial for hedgehogs to eat for survival purposes. Hedgehogs will lick up the toad poison from the dead carcass and smear this onto their own spines as a defense mechanism against other predators.
What type of frogs can hedgehogs eat?
Hedgehogs tend to go for very small frogs for the most part. Some of the larger frogs and toads can be too big for them and also put up a fight that a hedgehog is usually not willing to have.
Hedgehogs generally like the easiest catch possible and this is why they prefer insects and all types of creepy crawlies.
Hedgehogs are pretty amazing creatures and are immune to most types of poison including the venom from frogs, snakes, and spiders. This allows them to have a varied diet with little risk of becoming ill from their catch.
There are a few types of frogs that are regularly used for hedgehog feed as well as human consumption. It is true to say, however, that hedgehogs do not have a preference and there are no limits for them even with the most poisonous of frogs.
You will often see the following types of frogs sold as food:
- Common Frogs
- Bull Frogs
- Leopard Frogs
- Water Frogs
Do hedgehogs like eating frogs?
I think it is true to say that hedgehogs love all types of food and if it is available to them they will generally eat it. They do like to eat frogs and if the opportunity is there they will take the plunge. It’s very difficult to say how much exactly hedgehogs like eating frogs, but they certainly do not dislike them.
Hedgehogs pretty much have the choice to eat what they want in the wild so as an owner to a domesticated hedgehog you must provide them with as much variety in their diet as possible. Plenty of insects work well as the main part of their diet with the odd treat thrown in here and there such as a frozen frog will be enough to keep them and their palate happy.
It can be difficult to determine if your hedgehog doesn’t like eating frogs because they tend to just eat everything that is put in front of them regardless of whether they are enjoying it.
Are there any negatives to my hedgehog eating frogs?
The only negative to your hedgehog eating frogs would be if this were the main part of their diet. It would not provide them with enough nutrients they need. Insects and other creepy crawlies are far more nutritious to them so it is always best to stick to this type of feed on a day to day basis.
As mentioned previously there are very few circumstances when a hedgehog may come across something poisonous to them that would compromise their health.
They have an awesome immune system that allows them to eat a variety of poisonous species without making them ill. There are not many species of animals that do this and therefore hedgehogs are unique in this respect.
What is a hedgehog’s main natural food source?
A hedgehog’s main natural food source whether in the wild or domesticated is insects and any types of creepy crawlies. Many types of great commercial hedgehog feed can be bought which is ideal for day to day feeding.
These usually consist of small pieces of kibble that are very similar to a dry dog and cat biscuits. They will often have meat flavoring however anything with fish extract in is usually avoided.
You will often find lots of commercial hedgehog food to be complementary feeds rather than complete feeds which means they should be fed as an addition to other feedstuffs such as insects and mealworms.
These feeds are however specially formulated to provide the right type of nutrients vitamins and minerals your hedgehog requires to stay fit and healthy.
Some owners provide their hedgehogs with tins of cat food spooned into a bowl. Hedgehogs usually really like this and you will often see animal lovers leaving cat food in their backyard to feed wild hedgehogs. This obviously has its pros and cons as it is easy for other wildlife to get to the food first such as foxes.
Many people believe that hedgehogs should drink milk, but this is an absolute myth and should be avoided. Milk can give hedgehogs very poorly stomachs which often results in diarrhea. Always opt for fresh water that has been placed in a shallow bowl.
Make sure you change the water regularly so it does not go stale and sterilize the bowl once a week to prevent a build-up of ammonia which can make your hedgehog and other pets very unwell.
In conclusion, hedgehogs can and do eat frogs although it is not a wise idea for this to be the main part of their diet. In the wild hedgehogs will eat absolutely anything they can get their hands on and should they come across a frog when feeling hungry they will almost certainly grab the opportunity that has presented itself.
In a domesticated environment, it is always better to try and feed your hedgehog a specially formulated commercial feed that provides all the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals alongside a good portion of insects.
Mealworms and crickets are ideal and are sold at most pet stores worldwide. Insects are also very cheap to buy which makes hedgehogs cost-effective pets to keep.
It is advisable to treat frogs as a treat for your hedgehog and to feed them maybe only once a week so you can be sure your hedgehog is receiving valuable nutrition from elsewhere for the majority of the time.