Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

Feeding Hedgehogs: How Much and How Often? [Feeding Chart & Guide]

Quincy Miller

Introduction

There’s no denying that hedgehogs make sweet, adorable little pets, but caring for them isn’t always intuitive, especially if you’ve never owned one before.

This is especially true when trying to decide what to feed them. If you’re like most people, then you’ll sometimes be stuck at feeding times, not knowing whether you’re giving them too much or not enough, whether their meals are healthy, and so on.

In this guide, we’ll explain exactly what your hedgehog should be eating — including amounts and times — and reveal the foods that you should never give your little buddy.

divider-hedgehog

What to Feed Hedgehogs

The most important question that you’ll deal with at dinnertime is what, exactly, to give your hedgehog. Here’s a list of foods that are both nutritious and delicious for your little buddy.

Daily Foods

These should make up the bulk of your hedgehog’s diet and should be served at every meal.

  • Hedgehog food
  • Low-fat, high-protein cat food

Meats

Try to get lean cuts of the following meats, and only give them to your hedgehog as a snack a few times a week. It’s best if you buy the meats raw and cook them yourself, as precooked meats are often full of salt and other ingredients that are bad for your pet’s health.

  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay
Image Credit:
Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Veggies

Most of these veggies should be cooked before serving, and they should definitely be washed thoroughly to remove traces of pesticides and other chemicals. You may want to buy pesticide-free veggies, just in case.

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Arugula
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Dandelion greens
  • Spinach
  • Green peppers
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Carrots

Fruits

While most hedgehogs love fruit, they can be high in sugar, which can lead to obesity and other health problems. Only serve them a small amount of fruit a couple of times a week.

  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Mangos
  • Pears
  • Honeydew
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Berries
hedgehog eating
Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay

Occasional Snacks

The following treats are fine for hedgehogs to eat in extreme moderation. Don’t serve them every week, but a small portion once or twice a month should be fine. Save them for special occasions!

  • Waxworms
  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Steak
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese

Foods to NEVER Feed Your Hedgehog

What’s just as important as knowing what you should feed your hedgehog is knowing what you should never serve them. Not all these foods are necessarily toxic, but there’s no reason to ever share them with your pet.

  • Milk
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Pineapple
  • Citrus
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Processed meat
  • Raw meat
  • Heavily seasoned or fried meat
  • Bait insects
  • Wild-caught insects
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Chocolate
somalia hedgehog
Image Credit: Anastasiia Gru, Shutterstock

divider-food2

Hedgehogs Feeding Chart

All Times Morning Early Evening Late Evening
Sunday Fresh Clean Water Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food Handful of gut-loaded crickets or worms Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food
Monday Fresh Clean Water Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food 1 tsp. veggies of your choice

 

Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food
Tuesday Fresh Clean Water Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food 1 tsp. veggies of your choice

1 tsp. lean meat

Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food
Wednesday Fresh Clean Water Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food 1 tsp. fruit of your choice Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food
Thursday Fresh Clean Water Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food 1 tsp. veggies of your choice

1 tsp. lean meat

Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food

 

Friday Fresh Clean Water Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food 1 tsp. veggies of your choice

 

Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food
Saturday Fresh Clean Water Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food

 

1 tsp. fruit of your choice

1 tsp. lean meat

Approx.  ½ – 1 tbsp. of appropriate dry cat kibble or hedgehog food

 

Source: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/hedgehogs—feeding

hedgehog eating worm
Image Credit: Claustrophobia, Pixabay

divider-rodent

How Often to Feed Hedgehogs

In the wild, hedgehogs primarily hunt and feed at night, so ideally, you’d be serving them their meals while it’s still dark outside. However, that’s often not feasible, and we don’t recommend quitting your job in order to stay on your hedgehog’s schedule.

As a result, many people choose to feed their pet first thing in the morning and once at night. Others put their hedgehog’s daily allotment of food inside the tank all at once and allow them to free-feed at their own leisure.

It’s less important to feed them on a set schedule than it is to maintain strict portion control and ensure that their food is fresh and healthy. If you decide to allow them to free-feed, make sure to remove any uneaten food at the end of the day to ensure that it doesn’t start to rot.

Is Cooked Meat Good for Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are omnivores, and as such, they can eat small amounts of lean, cooked meat, like chicken, salmon, tuna, or the occasional bite of steak.

However, meat should only be served cooked, as raw meat could make them very sick. You should cook the meat yourself, as pre-cooked meat is usually loaded with sodium and other additives that aren’t good for your pet.

Steaming or grilling the meat is fine. Just cook it thoroughly and avoid adding any spices, and be sure to cut it into appropriate-sized pieces for your hedgehog.

Healthy Treats for Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs have a broad palate, so there’s a wide variety of foods that can be served as a treat. Many veggies or fruits make excellent treats, as they’re loaded with nutrition and delicious. Be careful not to overdo it with the fruits, though, as all that extra sugar could lead to unhealthy weight gain.

hedgehog
Image Credit: ntrief, Pixabay

You can also feed them gut-loaded insects like crickets, mealworms, or waxworms. You should only buy these insects from a pet food store rather than someplace like a bait shop, as the pet food store will take more care to ensure that they’re healthy before selling them.

Don’t give your hedgehog any insects that you’ve caught yourself. These bugs might have come in contact with pesticides or other chemicals that could harm your pet, and the bugs themselves may be dangerous to hedgehogs. Stick to the store-bought ones.

While you’re at the pet store, you can check to see if they have pre-packaged hedgehog treats. These are safe in terms of being non-toxic, but you should still read the labels to make sure they’re not loaded with unhealthy ingredients.

Related Read: Do Hedgehogs Eat Poop? What You Need to Know!

divider-hedgehog

How Often Do Hedgehogs Drink Water?

Hedgehogs drink as soon as they feel thirsty, so there’s no set schedule behind their drinking habits or anything like that. A healthy hedgehog should drink somewhere in the vicinity of 1 ½ to 2 ½ tablespoons of water every day.

As a result, your hedgehog must have access to plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. We recommend replacing the water in their dish at least once a day.

How often they’ll drink will depend on a variety of factors. Younger hedgehogs drink considerably more than older animals do, and it’s not unusual for a juvenile hedgehog to down 4 tablespoons or more of water in a 24-hour period.

Animals can get a large amount of moisture from the food that they eat as well, so if you’ve recently given your hedgehog water-filled fruits or vegetables, they may drink less that day. Conversely, a pet who’s been given nothing but dry kibble will likely want to drink more than normal.

The amount that a hedgehog will drink on a daily basis will vary from animal to animal, but you should try to get a rough idea of how much your pet drinks every day. This will allow you to know if your hedgehog is drinking more or less than normal. Either situation could be a sign that something is wrong with your pet, and you should discuss the problem with your vet.

What to Do If Your Hedgehog Isn’t Eating

African Pygmy Hedgehog
Featured Image Credit: szabfer, Pixabay

There are many reasons that a hedgehog might stop eating. Many of them have to do with stress, but others could be signs of disease or illness.

Don’t be alarmed if your hedgehog doesn’t eat when you first bring them home or if you move to a new place. Hedgehogs are sensitive to changes in environment, and they may be too busy making sure their new home is safe (or simply exploring it) to have much of an appetite. Wait a day or two, and if the situation doesn’t resolve itself, take your pet to your veterinarian.

Hedgehogs may stop eating if they’re not getting enough water or if their diet has recently changed. Check to make sure that their water bottle is clean and functioning properly, and if you have to switch up your pet’s diet, do it gradually to reduce the risk of an upset stomach.

Other things that could be affecting your pet’s appetite include loneliness or discomfort due to temperature. You should do everything in your power to make sure your hedgehog is comfortable, and that may include changing the ambient temperature in their tank or getting them a friend.

If you suspect that your hedgehog’s refusal to eat is due to environmental factors rather than health problems, you can try to remedy the problem yourself. You can also try to tempt your hedgehog to eat by offering them high-value foods, like baby food or other beloved treats.

Of course, health issues can often cause changes in an animal’s appetite as well. They may have an intestinal blockage, an upset stomach, problems with their teeth and gums, or a more serious disease, like cancer. If you’ve tried to solve the problem yourself to no avail, take your hedgehog to the vet as soon as possible.

divider-hedgehog

Conclusion

Hedgehogs make wonderful pets, but unless you have a great deal of experience taking care of them, figuring out what (and how much) to feed them can be stressful.

Fortunately, these animals are simple creatures, and as long as you follow these guidelines, you should have no issue getting your hedgehog to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Additional hedgehog reads:


Featured Image: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

Quincy Miller

Quincy has been around mutts his entire life and has been writing about them for the past nine years and now consists of sharing a house with three spoiled pups who couldn’t hold down a job to save their lives. Quincy never intended to be a cat person. When his wife brought home a kitten one day, he told her she had one week to find it a new home. That week turned into 10 years (his wife moves very slowly), and that kitten turned into three (they got two more, the kitten didn't self-replicate). After a decade of sharing his home with the dogs and three cats, one horrifying realization finally set in: oh God, he's a cat person now too, isn't he???