Are Pumpkins Bad For Hedgehogs: Everything You Need To Know

Halloween is one of the most fun-filled and thrilling times of the year. You get to wear funny costumes, eat lots of sweets and carve pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns. But, after Halloween has passed, you may be left with more than a few used pumpkins, with no idea what to do with them. 

Did you know that an astonishing 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin gets thrown away every single year after Halloween has passed?! It can seem wasteful to throw them all away in the bin, when wildlife could have a healthy and filling treat to enjoy. 

So, what if you leave them outside for animals to feed off? Are pumpkins safe for hedgehogs to eat? That is what we are here for! This guide will give you everything you need to know about whether hedgehogs are able to eat pumpkins or not. 

Are pumpkins bad for hedgehogs?

If you have a pet hedgehog, or a few that regularly wander in your back garden, then you may be unsure whether you can leave your pumpkin out for them. So, are pumpkins safe for hedgehogs to eat? 

The short answer is yes, pumpkins are bad for hedgehogs. Whilst pumpkins are naturally full of nutrients, along with vitamin C, E iron and folate, which can be very beneficial, they are not suitable for hedgehogs. 

This is largely due to the fact that when a hedgehog eats pumpkin, they can overeat, and become very bloated or even develop gastrointestinal problems. For the most part, hedgehogs who eat pumpkin will become very bloated, or develop diarrhoea. 

Whilst this may seem like small symptoms to us, a hedgehog with these health problems can be in very grave danger. This is because a hedgehog with diarrhea can become extremely dehydrated, which can be life threatening for an animal that needs to build up reserves and food stores ready for hibernation in the winter. 

Can hedgehogs eat pumpkins?

Well, hedgehogs can physically eat pumpkins, but whether they are good for them is a different question. Yes, hedgehogs can eat pumpkin, but they should not and pumpkin should be avoided. 

The problem is that hedgehogs are in decline, and can often struggle to find food supplies in built up, residential areas. This means that they will often try to eat anything that they can find.

This is why many people will leave food out for hedgehogs in their gardens to help them survive cold nights. 

Most of the time, once you start leaving food out, the hedgehogs may keep coming back. This raises the question of what you can and cannot feed hedgehogs. Pumpkin is one of those things that are hotly debated.

Some resources say not to waste your leftover pumpkins, and to leave them outside for wildlife to enjoy, whereas others argue that you should not leave them in case hedgehogs feast upon them.

The problem is that hedgehogs do not know whether something is good or bad for them, and they will eat them regardless. It is down to you to help restrict what they do eat, by not offering it to them. 

Whilst hedgehogs will try to eat pumpkins, that does not mean that they should. Hedgehogs can even be lactose intolerant, and have incredibly sensitive stomachs which can be set off easily. Therefore, pumpkin will not be a good idea. 

The pumpkin can make them very sick and poorly, which can have a catastrophic effect on whether they are able to hibernate, or last through the colder months. 

Why can’t hedgehogs eat pumpkins?

Pumpkins are full of fleshy fruit that may seem like a delicious meal to a hedgehog, seeing as they are omnivores.

However, a lot of the high fiber fruit found in pumpkins can easily cause a stomach upset, gastrointestinal problems or diarrhoea. Whilst a pumpkin is not toxic or poisonous, it can cause dehydration, diarrhoea and therefore weight loss, and an underweight hedgehog will not be able to hibernate or survive.  

Therefore, it is better to hang your leftover pumpkins in trees for birds and squirrels to enjoy. This also makes sure that the pumpkins are safely away from the reach of hedgehogs, and will therefore not pose an issue to their health.