Feeding Your Hedgehog

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There are so many commercial foods out there. You may be confused by the selection and quality of hedgehog food. When I first did my research, I was naive and believed that if it was labeled for a hedgehog, it must be a perfect diet. I was completely wrong. Unfortunately, the hedgehog diets on the market are not well suited for hedgehogs. Since hedgehogs are a fairly new exotic pet and are even illegal in many states, many animal food companies still do not have a handle on the nutritional requirements of a hedgehog. If you ask most breeders, they will give you a variety of different cat foods and hedgehog foods that they have tried. I have tried a good many of the ones labeled for hedgehogs, but I’m still most happy with the cat foods.

What do they eat?

Hedgehogs are insectivores. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be fed to your hedgehog in very small amounts from time to time, but treats should mostly consist of live insects. Other good treats would be: cooked chicken, cooked eggs and cottage cheese, to name a few. My hedgehogs have really liked Sunseed Hedgehog food as a treat, too.

Below is a list of hedgehogs foods and cat foods that I’d list as acceptable options. This list is compiled from a lot of research and first-hand experience.

Cat Food:
#1 Purina One Beyond Chicken and Whole Oat Meal Recipe
#2 Chicken Soup For The Cat Lover’s Soul Lite
#3 Blue Spa Select Weight Management

Hedgehog Food:
#5 Spikes Delight Ultra

Some other acceptable hedgehog foods only recommend as a treat:

Sunseed Hedgehog food (My hedgehogs liked this, but only as a treat.)
Brisky’s Hedgehog food (I haven’t tried it, but have heard it is alright as a treat.)
8in1 Ultra Hedgehog food (It seemed alright and my hedgehogs ate it, but not good enough for complete diet.)
L’Avian Hedgehog food (My hedgehogs ate it, but just as a treat.)
Hedgehog Complete by Exotic Nutrition (I think this is acceptable as a treat, but my hedgehogs wouldn’t touch it.)

My Personal Choice

My personal food of choice is Purina One Beyond Chicken and Whole Oat Meal Recipe cat food. It has a main ingredient of chicken and also contains good quality ingredients. Previously to using this food, Purina One Chicken and Rice formula cat food was recommended to me by Shannon at Dreamflower Meadows and I had great results with that for 7 years until it was discontinued. I have not had any problems with obesity and my hedgehogs have stayed very healthy. When you find something that works, it is best to stick with it. I am always open to new options, but I’m also cautious. I do not want my hedgehogs to suffer or be my lab rats in my quest for the perfect food. Hopefully more healthy options will be available soon that are specifically created for hedgehogs.

It is really important to start your hedgehog out on the food it is used to eating. I always provide a couple weeks worth of transitional food. I highly recommend that you continue to use it or mix it with another cat food from the list above or Spike’s Delight Ultra. I do not recommend mixing anything else in with the staple diet, because your hedgehog might just pick out the less healthy food from the mix. For that reason, treats should always be given in a separate bowl.

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Response to “Feeding Your Hedgehog”

Aaron Riddle

This is a very informative post about feeding hedgies!

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