Crickets can be a great and popular food source for many pets with them being a popular product in most pet stores.
They can provide a wealth of nutrients and benefits to keep a pet healthy and fed, however some animals avoid them and can experience indigestion or tummy aches just from eating one, so they are more of a favorite dish of insectivores and animals that base their diet on eating insects rather than meat.
This includes hedgehogs who love snacking on small insects and other critters, however in the wild and with no owner to watch over them, many hedgehogs can receive nasty effects from the natural parasites and toxins insects like crickets are often carrying.
It is therefore important when it comes to domesticated hedgehogs to know the dos and don’ts with feeding them crickets since while they can be a great source of nutrients for your prickly friend, there are some points to consider to make sure your hedgehog stays as healthy and happy as possible after his personal snacking time.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Crickets?
Crickets are a favorite source of food among wild hedgehogs, unlike other animals who struggle to digest crickets, hedgehogs are able to consume them safely because of their symbiotic bacteria and protozoa that helps break down the crickets’ fibrous chitin.
Wild crickets however can be known to carry pesticides and herbicides that can have toxic effects on hogs.
Live crickets are a much safer and healthier option for hedgehogs to feed on, being great sources of protein, fiber, thiamine and calcium, one cricket to a hedgehog is essentially a small meal for us humans.
They are sold in the majority of pet stores so are easy to buy and a great way to fill up your small companion if they have been growling or snorting for some food recently.
Just make sure not to overfeed a hedgehog or try and force them to eat when they may not want to, this can cause them to become overweight or even lose interest in the taste entirely meaning you will have to look for another snack for them to enjoy
Best Ways To Feed Crickets To Hedgehogs
You can feed a hedgehog live crickets from your closest pet store with no problems and it will ensure they stay happy and fed, but another method worth considering that can make the snack seem that bit more worthwhile to a hedgehog is if they have to chase it.
Try putting the hog and cricket in a small cage or container, about the size of a bathtub or medium sized bin, to let your hog catch the cricket and feel that extra bit of accomplishment.
If you find that your spiky companion is struggling to catch a cricket, it can be worth placing them in the freezer for a minimum of 5 minutes to kill or stun them, and make life easier for you and the hedgehog.
Freeze dried crickets sold in most stores are also great options, often being the cheapest option per bug. They are great suppliers of consistent levels of nutrition and easy for even the laziest hedgehogs to catch.
It is also always advised where possible to feed a hedgehog smaller crickets rather than the biggest ones, bigger ones will not necessarily fill them up more as they will be more than satisfied with even just one.
How To Store Crickets
Crickets are usually more than comfortable in the plastic packaging they often come in with holes and slits dotted around to provide ventilation.
If you plan to order them in bulk however then it might be worth looking into a tiny glass aquarium which can provide a manageable housing for them and only needs to be cleaned out using vinegar regularly.
Just make sure to feed the crickets little bits of apples, peaches or even a small bowl of oatmeal and always remove any feces or deceased crickets from the cage once you spot them
Other Insects To Consider
Aside from crickets, there are some other reliable insect options to consider for your small hungry friend.
Waxworms are great sources of protein and fat which can be kept in containers for lengthy periods, just try not to feed too many of them unless you want your round pet to become even rounder and heavier.
Mealworms and grasshoppers are also high in protein, but be sure to avoid feeding any insects that can be potentially dangerous or toxic like spiders, ants and mosquitoes.
Crickets are always a good and nutritious option for feeding a hedgehog and keeping them fit and healthy, just always try to keep them in moderation and experiment with other similar insect foods recommended by veterinarians to find the dish that makes your hedgehog smile the most at dinner time.