Of all the mouthwatering tropical fruits that exist, pineapple is perhaps one of the most associated with the pura vida lifestyle: relaxing vacations, sunny beaches, snorkeling, and, of course, the famous piña colada! But as delicious and vitamin-packed as this exotic fruit is, it is only safe for hedgehogs to eat a small amount of pineapple—not too much. The key here is moderation, as fruits of all kinds are relatively high in sugar, and too much sugar can lead to overweight pets, which is especially harmful to hedgehogs.1
But be aware that a small amount of fruit means something different to a creature as tiny as the hedgehog: indeed, experts recommend not to exceed ¼ teaspoon per day! Read on to find out everything you need to know about feeding pineapples to hedgehogs.
Is Eating Pineapple Harmful to Hedgehogs?
Nevertheless, some sources advise against feeding pineapples to hedgehogs due to their high acidity, which can be harmful to the digestive tract of these tiny mammals. But is it really true?
On the one hand, pineapples contain citric acid, but in lesser amounts than citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges. Citric acid is known to cause upset stomachs in dogs, although there is no scientific evidence yet that it can cause the same issue in hedgehogs.
On the other hand, pineapples are, indeed, highly acidic, scoring between 3 and 4 on the pH scale. However, that’s also the case for apples, which fall between 3.3 and 4 on the same scale.
Quick note: The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is. The pH scale is 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH below 7 is acidic, and a pH above 7 is alkaline. The more a food’s pH rises or falls on the scale, the more alkaline or acidic it becomes, respectively.
Thus, if apples are considered safe to feed hedgehogs despite their high acidity, why shouldn’t pineapples be too? Could it be because of their higher sugar content?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the belief that apples contain less sugar than pineapples is false too. Indeed, both fruits contain the same amount of total sugar: 10 g per 100 g portion. In fact, pineapples contain more vitamins, fiber, and minerals than apples, which could make them a healthier option for hedgehogs.
What Treats Can You Give Your Hedgehog Instead of Pineapples?
A small piece of pineapple (less than a ¼ teaspoon) should not harm your hedgehog’s health. However, its high acid and sugar content doesn’t make it the best option for your little quill ball. Instead, opt for small pieces of blueberries, papayas, cooked carrots, corn, or peas.
What Is a Healthy Hedgehog Diet?
Hedgehogs are considered insectivorous, although their diet in their natural habitat is more of the omnivorous type. Indeed, these small mammals are fond of insects and other invertebrates but do not balk at a feast of small vertebrates, bird eggs, small mollusks, vegetation, and sometimes even carrion.
Therefore, the best foods for your pet hedgehog should reproduce this type of diet while paying attention to portions, as the domestic hedgehog does not burn as much energy as its wild counterpart.
PetMD recommends giving pellets formulated especially for hedgehogs and supplementing its diet with some insects (mealworms, crickets, earthworms) and a small portion of vegetables and fruits. Watch out for cat food, which is sometimes too high in fat for this small mammal prone to being overweight.
Also, be aware that a hedgehog should not consume more than 2–3 tablespoons of food per day, depending on its weight and level of activity. So, if you decide to offer him fruit to vary his diet a little, do not exceed the equivalent of ¼ teaspoon per day.
Make sure your hedgehog always has access to a bowl of fresh water and change the container daily. Besides, if you provide your tiny pet with a balanced diet, you should not need to give it other supplements, such as vitamins and minerals.
What’s the Verdict?
There is currently no contraindication to giving pineapples to your hedgehog. This delicious, tropical fruit contains the same amount of sugar as apples, which, according to most vets, is a safe fruit to give to your pet. However, pineapples also contain citric acid, which is known to cause an upset stomach and other digestive issues in dogs. Nevertheless, there is not enough data to conclude that hedgehogs would suffer from the same problems as dogs.
Overall, you should play it safe and opt for more suitable treats to feed your little ones, like blueberries, cooked carrots, or corn.