Hedgehogs live in many places throughout the world in the wild, including Europe and Asia. One place that they are not indigenous to is the United States. However, they are imported and kept as pets in the country. Pet hedgehogs rely on their human companions to provide them with the nutrition that they need to stay happy and healthy throughout their lives.
Fortunately, it is not hard or expensive to feed a pet hedgehog. Commercial hedgehog food is widely available and meets the basic nutritional needs of this animal. There is also probably stuff in your kitchen that can be fed to hedgehogs. So, can hedgehogs eat lettuce? The short answer is yes! Here is everything that you need to know about feeding lettuce to your pet hedgehog.
Feeding Lettuce to Hedgehogs
Lettuce can be a healthy part of a hedgehog’s diet because it is filled with nutrients like calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin B that can help round out a hedgehog’s diet and ensure that they do not develop any deficiencies as time goes on. However, it is important to note that hedgehogs are considered insectivores and mainly eat insects to cover their nutritional needs.
So, while they can eat a little lettuce, it should be nothing more than an occasional treat. A small leaf or a tablespoon of shredded lettuce offered once a week or so is plenty.
Iceberg lettuce is not advised because it has more water than other leafy greens. Not only will it not contribute any nutritional benefits to your pet hedgehog, but it can also give the animal diarrhea. If diarrhea develops, it could lead to dehydration and illness. Stick with the dark leafy greens to avoid the risk of your hedgehog developing diarrhea.
Other Things in Your Kitchen That Hedgehogs Can Eat
There are other items besides lettuce in your kitchen that can be fed to your pet hedgehog as treats and occasional snacks. The first is fruit. Fresh pieces of apple, banana, melon and orange are great snack options, especially during the hot summer months, when extra water intake is necessary. A berry here and there won’t hurt either. It is important to avoid giving your pet hedgehog dried fruit, though, because it contains high concentrations of sugar.
Cooked meat that you plan to have for dinner can also be offered to your pet in small quantities. Your hedgehog would love getting a teaspoon’s worth of cooked chicken, beef, or pork on occasion. Canned dog and cat food seem to be enjoyed by hedgehogs too.
Try experimenting with different items to see which your hedgehog likes the most. Then, rotate their favorites at snack time to vary their diet and ensure that they do not get too bored with their commercial food at mealtime.
Things Not in Your Kitchen That Hedgehogs Can Eat
There are a few other things that your hedgehog can eat, although you likely will not find them in your kitchen at home. For example, hedgehogs love eating crickets and mealworms. You might be able to collect a few in your yard for snack time, but it would be easier to head to the local pet shop and buy a bag from them. Frozen mealworms and crickets are easy to store and make for awesome protein-rich snacks for your hedgehog.
Things That Your Pet Hedgehog Should Never Eat
Hedgehogs can eat a wide variety of things, but there are a few things that they should always avoid eating for health reasons. Processed foods are not good for hedgehogs. Chips, pretzels, salted nuts, bread, and anything else that has added sugar, salt, and flavors and anything fried should be avoided because it can cause health problems for your hedgehog. Avoid sharing fast food items and meals that you prepare yourself in the kitchen with your hedgehog, as such foods are typically much fattier and saltier than is good for your pet.
Lettuce can be a healthy part of your pet hedgehog’s overall diet. There are multiple types to choose from, so your pet does not have to eat the same thing at every snack or treat time. Mixing lettuce with other veggies, fruit, or meat is sure to keep your pet happy for many years to come. What kind of lettuce or greens do you plan to feed your pet hedgehog first?
Featured Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay