Having hedgehogs as your pet is incredible. These little guys can brighten up your lives with their adorable presence in it. Once you have gotten used to them, you will feel like treating them at every opportunity possible. But can you treat them with fruits? What about strawberries?
Can hedgehogs eat strawberries? Yes, strawberries are one of the hedgehog’s favorite fruits. Strawberries are nutritious and have a lower sugar content than most fruits, which makes them a safe treat for your hedgehogs. You should always opt for organic strawberries for feeding your pets; if you’re buying commercially-grown ones, make sure to remove their calyx carefully before feeding it to them.
In this article, we will discuss everything you must know about feeding strawberries to hedgehogs: their nutritional value, health benefits, moderation, and more.
Are Strawberries Healthy For Hedgehogs?
Now that we have learned that hedgehogs are fond of eating strawberries, we must find out whether or not they are healthy for your pets. And the best place to begin would be by taking a look at the nutritional composition of these fruits.
Take a look at the table below:
|Vitamin A||17.27 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.025 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.023 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.385 mg|
|Vitamin B4 (Choline)||5.7 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.124 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.048 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||24 mcg|
|Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)||58.7 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.28 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.2 mcg|
|Potassium, K||154 mg|
|Phosphorous, P||24 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||16 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||13 mg|
|Sodium, Na||1 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.42 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.385 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.14 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.1 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
As the table indicates, strawberries are quite nutritious. But how do they add to your pet’s health? Let’s find out:
- While strawberries might not have protein and fats in abundance, they have just enough to meet your pet’s needs. Proteins enhance their muscle and promote hair growth, and fats allow them to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins.
- Strawberries are rich in dietary fibers, which your pets cannot obtain from their primarily animal-based diet. Fibers maintain the smooth functioning of their digestive tracts.
- Strawberries contain several vitamins (Vitamins A, B-complex, C, and K) that can enhance your pet’s eyesight and boost their reproductive and immune health.
- Minerals like Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium are also present in strawberries. These can keep their bones strong and healthy.
The Problems With Feeding Hedgehogs Too Many Strawberries
While strawberries have several health benefits for hedgehogs, the only problem with overfeeding them is sugar. Although strawberries have a pretty low sugar content as far as fruits are concerned, it could still be problematic if your pets are eating too many of these fruits.
Hedgehogs have a digestive system that is not used to digesting too much sugar, which could lead to a number of digestive issues in them, beginning from Diarrhea.
Moreover, in case you didn’t know, your hedgehogs can also have Diabetes if they continue to eat sugary foods.
How Many Strawberries Should You Feed Your Hedgehogs? And How Often?
In the last section, we learned how too many strawberries could be detrimental to your hedgehog’s health and to practice feeding them these fruits in moderation. But how would you know what moderation entails?
Unless you’re an expert at these things, we wouldn’t expect you to figure it all out on your own, which is why we’re going to help you do it.
First, let’s talk about the quantity. If strawberries are the only fruit you’re currently feeding your hedgehog, then you can feed them about 2/3rd of a whole at once. But if other fruits (with even moderate sugar content) are also a part of their diet, feeding them only one tablespoon of strawberries would be wise.
Moving on to the frequency, the same rule applies. If they’re only eating strawberries, eating them once a week is perfectly safe. However, if there are other fruits involved, you should make it once every two weeks.
Is It Okay For Hedgehogs To Eat Strawberries Along With Their Seeds?
As a pet owner, you might have heard how the seeds of apples and peaches contain amygdalin that is lethal for your pets and could potentially even kill them. What about strawberry seeds? Are they dangerous or harmless to your hedgehogs?
Well, a more important question that you should be asking is: do strawberries even have seeds? Because they don’t really do. Although strawberries have traditionally been placed in the category of fruits, they’re not really true fruits. In fact, botanically, they are more closely related to flowers than any fruit.
The small, seed-like pores that you see on the surface of strawberries are not its seeds but tiny fruits, all of them having their own seeds.
And as far as the safety of those seeds is concerned, you needn’t worry; they’re too small to matter, even for your hedgehogs. So, yes, you can safely feed strawberries to your pets without having to worry about the seeds.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Strawberry Tops?
Have you ever thought of eating sweet strawberries with their tops attached? We’re guessing most of you haven’t. But then, most of you are also unaware of the nutritional richness of these tops.
It has been found in a study that the strawberry tops (calyx) contain Vitamin C and dietary fibers. Moreover, these also have lower sugar content. Do you know what this means for your hedgehogs? That the calyx of strawberries is probably healthier and safer for them than the fruits themselves. But are they, really?
They should have been, had the strawberries grown in your own garden. Unfortunately, the strawberries you buy from the market are grown commercially, with their tops sprayed with pesticides to prevent insects from feasting on them.
And if any of these toxic chemicals find their way inside your pet’s body, they would cause all sorts of troubles for them, and could even end up killing them.
So, you have two choices: either not feeding them the tops, or purchasing organic strawberries that have been grown in a safe environment (without the use of pesticides) and are both safer and healthier for your pets.
What About The Leaves Of Strawberry Plants? Can Hedgehogs Eat Those?
The leaves of the strawberry plants are fibrous, which is why it would be healthy to feed them to your pets.
But can hedgehogs eat them? Unlikely. First, hedgehogs are not much of a leaf-eaters, even in the wild. So, if you put these leaves in front of them, chances are that they will overlook them.
If you want to feed them something fibrous and healthy, instead of going for the strawberry leaves, you should feed them leafy greens like dandelion greens and kale. They will add not only fiber but also other nutrients to their diet.
Is It Safe For Hedgehogs To Eat Freeze-Dried Strawberries?
Since it’s evident that hedgehogs can eat fresh strawberries safely, it is natural to wonder whether they can eat the freeze-dried ones as well. However, this is an extremely bad idea. Why? We’ll tell you.
In the process of dry-freezing strawberries, their sugar content increases considerably. For instance, if 100 grams of fresh strawberries contain about 4 grams of sugar, the freeze-dried ones would contain about 70 grams of it.
And if the sugar content of fresh strawberries can harm your hedgehogs when fed in excess, what do you think the freeze-dried strawberries will do to them? Well, we hope you are not too eager to find out.
In other words, you should never try to feed your hedgehog strawberries, not even as a snack.
What About Strawberry Jams And Juices? Can Hedgehogs Eat Them?
The answer to the question above depends on how you consume strawberry jams and juices. Do you make them at home by yourself? Or do you purchase them from a store? Because the jams and juices you buy from the stores have been manufactured solely for human consumption and have no obligation to be safe for small animals like hedgehogs.
In order to give products like these a unique taste and longer shelf life, the manufacturers always add various chemical preservatives, additives, artificial flavoring and coloring, and so on.
While all these chemicals are present in quantity far too little to do us any major harm, there’s no telling what they could do to your little pet hedgehogs. Not to forget the extra refined sugar (or other artificial sweetening agents) that these might contain.
In light of these facts, it will be extremely irresponsible of you to share these with your hedgehogs.
If you really wish to be able to share with your little friends the strawberry jams and juices, there is one safe way to do that: you can make them by yourself, keeping their health in mind. Making strawberry juice is incredibly easy; all you need is a blender or juicer.
As far as the jam is concerned, its recipe is available on various websites online. Another thing you should keep in mind: just like strawberries themselves, their juices and jams are also to be fed to hedgehogs in moderation.
Conclusion: Can hedgehogs eat strawberries?
To wrap it up, let’s do a quick revise of everything we have learned above: strawberries are safer than most fruits to be used as a treat for the hedgehogs, because of their lower sugar content. However, you must not forget that when fed too often, the sugar from these fruits can also begin to harm their health and lead to diseases like Diabetes eventually.