A lot of people have a love/hate relationship with carrots. Some people just hate them, while others find them tasty. Whether or not you like carrots, one thing is for certain – they are healthy! Sure, they’re good for your eyes, brain and help keep your heart healthy…but have you ever thought about whether hedgehogs can eat carrots? Let’s find out.
So, can hedgehogs eat carrots? Yes, hedgehogs can eat carrots, but in strict moderation. While carrots have a number of nutrients that can benefit them, these nutrients can be a little too much when consumed too often. Therefore, you should only feed them carrots occasionally as a treat. Moreover, cooked carrots are better for them than raw ones.
Below, we are going to discuss different aspects of feeding carrots to hedgehogs: their nutritional value, health benefits and risks, moderation, and prepping ideas.
The nutritional value of carrots
The first and foremost thing you need to learn before you introduce something new to your pet’s diet is its nutritional value. And in order to make the task easy for you, we have curated a table below that contains information about the nutritional composition of carrots.
Take a look:
|Vitamin A||835 IU|
|Thiamine (Vitamin B1)||0.065 mg|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||0.059 mg|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||0.984 mg|
|Choline (Vitamin B4)||8.8 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)||0.272 mg|
|Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)||0.137 mg|
|Vitamin C||5.9 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.67 mg|
|Potassium, K||321 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||33 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||12 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.142 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.24 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.3 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.8 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
If you go through the table carefully, you will notice that there are a number of vitamins and minerals in carrots, making them a nutrient-dense vegetable. Now, let us learn whether your pet hedgehogs will eat these veggies or not.
Will hedgehogs eat carrots?
Because hedgehogs have a mostly animal-based diet in the wild, it is only natural to wonder whether or not will these little mammals take to eating veggies like carrots. However, we are here to put all your fears to rest.
While they do prefer eating insects to plant materials, they are still omnivores and can eat both plant and animal matter safely. Moreover, these little guys tend to be opportunistic feeders and hardly ever say “no” when something edible is offered to them.
However, on the off chance that your pet hedgehog refuses to eat carrots, you should not try to force-feed them these. The whole purpose of adding carrots into their diet is as a treat, and if they’re not liking it, it all becomes pointless.
Are carrots safe for hedgehogs?
As a concerned pet parent, it is obvious to be worried about the safety of your pet before adding certain fruits or veggies into their diet. And if you have a pet as small and fragile as the hedgehogs, you should be doubly careful, for if you feed them even one wrong thing, they could suffer terribly for it.
So, are carrots safe for hedgehogs? Yes, they are. After thorough research, we have found that most veterinary experts encourage hedgehog owners to feed their hedgehogs carrots as an occasional treat. So, if you are planning to give your pets these bright treats, go ahead by all means.
Are carrots healthy for hedgehogs?
In the last section, we saw that carrots are safe for hedgehogs when they eat these veggies in moderation. However, do they add anything to your pet’s health? You must understand the fact that hedgehogs have a small appetite. Therefore, in order for them to be healthy, you must fill their diet with all the important nutrients. But which nutrients do hedgehogs need?
Just like us, hedgehogs also need a balanced diet containing a mix of carbohydrates, fats, fibers, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Let’s see how the nutrients present in carrots can benefit your little pets.
Carrots are rich in fibers, a nutrient that hedgehogs cannot obtain from their insectivore diet. These veggies also contain protein, another macronutrient that can help your hedgehogs in maintaining their muscle and hair growth.
The healthy fats in carrots are also beneficial for your pet’s health. And in case you have a baby or nursing hedgehog as your pet, they would need an even higher amount of fat and protein than usual.
Carrots are also rich in Vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K, all of which are needed by the hedgehogs to promote their eyesight as well as their digestive, respiratory, and reproductive health. Vitamin C is the most essential of them all, for it plays a vital role in improving their immune system.
These veggies are also rich in minerals like Magnesium, Calcium, and Phosphorus, which contribute to the healthy teeth and bones of your little friends.
Keeping in mind all these health benefits carrots have for your hedgehogs, it would be safe to that they are indeed healthy for them.
Risks involved with feeding carrots to hedgehogs
While carrots are healthy for your hedgehog’s eyesight, immune system, and overall health, they can also be the reason for several health problems in them. How? Let’s tell you.
Hedgehogs are small animals, which means that while they need nutrients, their required quantity is far less than our own. Therefore, while carrots can benefit them in moderation when you begin to feed them too many of these, it can be lethal for them.
Too much vitamin A
One such health issue that too many carrots can lead to in your pets is Hypervitaminosis A, a disease in which a large amount of Vitamin A in their body results in its toxicity.
Some of its common symptoms are nausea, a sudden drop in appetite, and weakness. If you are noticing these signs in your pet lately without any apparent reason, it is time to reduce their consumption of all things rich in Vitamin A, including carrots.
High sugar content
If you look at the table given above, you will see that 100 grams of carrots contain about 5 grams of sugar, which means that sugar makes 5% of carrots. While this doesn’t sound like much for us, for your little pet friends, it is a little too much.
And since hedgehogs’ digestive system is not built to digest the sugar in large amounts, eating too many carrots or too often can prove to be lethal for them, eventually leading to Diabetes.
What is starch? Starch is a complex carbohydrate that is present in vegetables like carrots in moderate amounts. These complex carbohydrates, when consumed in excess, can become difficult for hedgehogs to digest, often leading to digestive issues such as diarrhea, upset stomach, and so on.
We understand that these risks might sound terrifying, making you want to remove carrots from your pet’s diet altogether. But trust us, that is not the solution.
If you have a pet as small as hedgehogs, you will need to learn to follow moderation in everything you feed them; it’s not merely about carrots. The sooner you understand that, the better for you.
How often should you feed carrots to hedgehogs?
Just like we said in the last section, you must follow moderation while feeding carrots to your pets. However, this moderation is completely dependent on the diet of your individual hedgehog.
If they don’t have enough Vitamin A in their diet, feeding them carrots 2-3 times a week would be okay. However, if their main diet fulfills the amount of Vitamin A they need, then it would be best to feed them carrots only once a week.
Carrots for hedgehogs: raw or cooked?
Whenever you read an article about feeding your pet a vegetable, most of them advise you to feed them these in their raw form, for that’s when they are most nutritious. So, is the same true for carrots and hedgehogs? Not really.
Unlike what most people believe, carrots do not lose any important nutrients in the process of cooking.
Most of the vitamins in carrots (Vitamins A, E, and K) are fat-soluble and, thus, heat-stable. Boiling or roasting, therefore, has no impact on them. Moreover, cooking these veggies is said to increase their calcium levels and break down their cell walls to free more nutrients than before.
Also, raw carrots also tend to get stuck on the roof of hedgehogs’ mouths. Therefore, it is always better to feed them cooked ones.
Preparing carrots for hedgehogs
When you’re prepping carrots for your little friends, the first thing you need to do is to wash them properly to get rid of any dirt or debris on their surface.
To wash them more effectively, you can soak them in lukewarm water for a couple of minutes and rinse them off with fresh water. We would also recommend you to buy organic carrots for them as they are both safer and healthier.
Now, we have already established that raw carrots should not be fed to hedgehogs. So, boiling them is your best choice. But since hedgehogs would need only about a tablespoon of carrots, boiling them entirely for their sake can be a hassle. Thus, when you boil carrots for yourself, you can simply put aside a tablespoon for them.
Let the carrot cool down properly before feeding it to them, or it can burn the insides of their mouths. Also, don’t add salt or any other spice or flavor to it; the plain carrots are ideal for them.
Conclusion: Can hedgehogs eat carrots?
Carrots are just the kind of vegetables that are loved by people of all ages. While the children love eating them for their sweetness and crunchiness, the adults are drawn to their health benefits. Many pet owners wonder if their pets can have carrots; and if yours happens to be a hedgehog, they certainly can.
However, since hedgehogs are tiny animals, their diet is quite different from our own, and if you’re not careful about it, they could end up losing their lives. As far as carrots are concerned, if you feed them a tablespoon of boiled carrots once or twice a week, your pets will be safe and healthy; any more than that could be lethal to them.