Unlike a dog or a cat, having a hedgehog as a pet can be a challenging experience, especially in the beginning. Unlike other pets, Hedgehogs are neither herbivores, omnivores, nor carnivores; these prickly little creatures are mostly insectivores. Thus, you might have to struggle with feeding them, among other things.
Earlier, most hedgehog-owners used to feed their pets cat food, which was not right for their health. However, nowadays can easily find hedgehog foods available in your local pet stores as well as online. But can your hedgehog eat fruits and vegetables? What about apples?
Can hedgehogs eat apples? Hedgehogs can certainly eat apples since they’re not toxic or harmful to them in any way. However, apples don’t contribute to their dietary needs much either. Therefore, they’re not exactly beneficial for them. You can use apples as treats for your pet hedgehog but remove the seeds carefully before doing so.
Do hedgehogs like eating apples?
Hedgehogs do not necessarily like eating apples. Unlike most of the other pet animals, hedgehogs don’t have a sweet tooth and are, therefore, not always drawn to sweet treats.
Therefore, whether or not your hedgehog likes eating apples entirely depends on its taste. Some hedgehogs like eating apples, while others would leave it untouched.
You can find out about your pet’s choice about apples by trying to place some pieces in front of them. If they gobble them all up, they certainly like it. However, if they stopped eating after the first cube, you might have to find another fruit to use for their treat.
Are apples healthy or harmful for hedgehogs?
To determine whether apples are healthy or harmful for hedgehogs, let’s first look at an apple’s nutritional composition:
Serving size: approx. 100 grams
|Vitamin A||54 IU|
|Vitamin C||4.6 g|
|Vitamin E||0.18 g|
|Dietary fibers||2.41 g|
While Apple is wealthy when it comes to nutrients, it lacks the one nutrient essential for hedgehogs in abundance: protein. Hedgehogs depend on protein for most of their nutrition, since their ideal diet consists of food rich in protein, containing low fat.
However, a whole apple contains about 0.5% of protein, which is too low in quantity to meet the dietary needs of a hedgehog. With that being said, apples are not bad for a hedgehog’s health either.
Therefore, apples are neither healthy nor harmful to hedgehogs.
How many apples should you feed your hedgehog?
Since apples do not benefit your hedgehog in any way, there’s no point in feeding them a lot of it. If your hedgehog likes apples, you can feed them a few cubes of it once in a while, as a treat for them.
Do you feed your hedgehog tablets? Hedgehogs, like most of the other animals, are not keen on medicines and avoid eating them as much as they can. In this case, you can hide their medicines into apples to trick them into eating it.
Tips on feeding your hedgehogs apples
The first step of feeding your pet any fruit is to wash them thoroughly to get rid of any chemicals added on the surface. Animals are often more sensitive to these chemicals than us and might suffer severe consequences if they consume them.
To wash the apple properly, you should let it soak in a water bowl for a few minutes. Then, throw away the water, wash the fruit with clean water, and it’s ready to cut.
While cutting apples for your hedgehog, you must take into consideration its small size. To make eating apples easier for the hedgehog, and avoid choking, cut them into little cubes so that they can gobble up easily.
Also, remove all the seeds from the apple before feeding it to your pet.
Can hedgehogs eat apple skin?
Yes, hedgehogs can eat apple skin. If you find pet owners peeling the skin off of apples before feeding them to their pets, it’s more often a wasted effort than a preventive measure.
Like the fruit itself, the skin is completely harmless for your hedgehog. Therefore, you do not need to peel the apple’s skin off before feeding it to your hedgehog.
Can hedgehog drink apple juice?
While the fruit of apple itself contains juice, squeezing the juice out, especially to feed your hedgehog might not be a good idea. As a general rule, sugar is not a part of a hedgehog’s usual diet.
Since apple juice contains concentrated sugar, feeding them to these small creatures can create trouble in their stomach. Therefore, you should not feed your hedgehog apple juice.
Are apple seeds safe for hedgehogs?
While the apple seeds are toxic to most animals, hedgehogs, being an insectivore, have a high tolerance for most toxic things. So, does that mean apple seeds are safe for them? Unfortunately, we don’t have an absolute answer to that yet.
However, most hedgehog-owners have agreed that it’s not worth the risk whether or not they’re toxic. Thus, they avoid feeding them to their pet hedgehogs, if not for the toxicity, then to avoid a choking hazard. You should remember the same while feeding your hedgehog apples.
An ideal diet for hedgehog
Here are a few things you should include in the regular diet of your hedgehog:
Hedgehog kibble is a store-bought pet food produced specifically to fulfill the nutrition needs of your pet hedgehog. The kibble should make up about 80% of your hedgehog’s daily diet. It contains more than 40% of protein, and less than 20% of fat, making it ideal for hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs need food rich in protein, and chicken offers precisely that. You can throw your hedgehog a small piece of it occasionally when you’re cooking chicken.
Crickets and mealworms
Crickets and mealworms provide hedgehogs with their much-desired chitin. They’re also good for their mental stimulation, and make them active. If you’re not too grossed out by the idea of catching worms, you can feed them to your hedgehog.
These insects are rich in fat and low in protein, which is quite the opposite of their ideal diet. However, hedgehogs find them delicious. Thus, you can occasionally feed them some as a treat.
If you’re making yourself scrambled eggs, sharing a little portion of it with your pet hedgehog might not be a bad idea.
What should you avoid feeding your hedgehog?
Although resilient, hedgehogs are small animals and have a slightly fragile internal system. Thus, you should stick to their mainstream diet instead of experimenting too much.
Given below are things you should never feed your hedgehog:
- Egg yolk
- Processed food
- Raw meat
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dog foods safe for hedgehogs to eat? No. Dog foods are developed, keeping in mind the dietary needs of dogs, which is bound to be different than that of a hedgehog. If you want to go with store-bought food, buy hedgehog food that adequately fulfills your hedgehogs’ nutrition needs.
Can I feed my hedgehog onions? No, onions can prove to be toxic to hedgehogs, and should never be fed to them.
Can’t my hedgehog eat meat? Hedgehogs can eat meat, as long as it is well-cooked. Avoid feeding them raw meat at all costs.
Let’s go back to our initial question: Can hedgehogs eat apples? Yes, hedgehogs can eat apples. However, containing protein in a moderate quantity, apples don’t do hedgehogs much good. Thus, you should only feed your hedgehog apples occasionally as a treat. Also, when you feed them apples, properly remove all the seeds first.