When it comes to popular food options for pets, fish take a slightly peculiar position in being cold blooded, meaning they aren’t classed as meat but are certainly not insects either.
Nonetheless fish are one of the most popular food options animals have a tasty hunger for with penguins and ducks, all the way to farm animals like pigs and chickens having an appetite for seafood.
This is not just reserved to larger more dominant animals, smaller animals such as raccoons, possums and beavers will use nearby ponds as their main supplement of fish.
Rats, some of the greatest swimmers, have even been known to feed on very small fish if they can grab them.
It seems that fish unfortunately are preyed on by nearly every animal, but does this include hedgehogs?
The small prickly mammals are insectivores and gain their nutrients through insects, ground dwelling creatures and meat based wet foods, so are there any potential benefits of them eating fish, and is it safe at all?
Are Hedgehogs Safe To Eat Fish?
Hedgehogs have not been known to eat fish in the wild so it could quickly be assumed that they may not eat them at all.
It was also once believed that hedgehogs could not digest fish at all because their digestive system was just too quick.
This has since been disproven however, and feeding a hedgehog some fish as a treat and occasional snack has been seen to have many nutritional benefits.
Fish are very rich in protein and while hedgehogs thrive on insect based diets, extra protein is always good to mix into their meals, with fish being a great option alongside chicken breast.
To ensure your prickly friend gets all the nutrients they need, when buying some fish check the calcium to phosphorus ratio and make sure they are balanced either at 1:1 or 2:1.
Alongside making sure to only feed your hedgehog some fish on the rare occasion, the other thing the majority of owners complain most about is the hedgehog’s rude leftovers afterwards.
A fish will travel through a hedgehog’s digestive system in no time meaning it has barely any time to be broken down and will result in some very smelly hedgehog feces, so always keep this in mind if you’re quite picky about the house smelling fresh at all times.
What Kind Of Fish Can Hedgehogs Eat?
While essentially all types of fish can be eaten and enjoyed by hedgehogs, it is worth experimenting and watching your hedgehog’s reactions to see what kinds of fish they love snacking on most.
If you’re buying fish raw, it just makes most sense to cook it before feeding to your mini companion to remove lingering microbes, parasites and any nasty bacteria that could affect a hedgehog’s sensitive stomach.
In terms of what type of fish to choose from, salmon is a great option having a balanced amount of protein and being low in sodium, a healthy snack for any hedgehog if they’re not put off by the strong odor.
Tuna is also a good option meeting many nutritional requirements. It can be a great addition to put in some easy to make homemade biscuits to add some protein to a hedgehog’s meal.
Just be cautious about too much mercury exposure in tuna and avoid adding any spices to the fish as they are almost always unhealthy for hedgehogs and can cause some unpleasant side effects.
When feeding fish to a hedgehog not only should it only be an occasional snack, but you might also have to serve it in bigger chunks than other treats in order to provide enough nutritional benefits.
Additionally avoid serving too many portions otherwise a hedgehog can become very round very quickly.
Alternatives To Eating Fish?
Maybe you want to avoid feeding only fish as a regular treat, or maybe you just want to avoid the smelly leftovers from eating fish altogether.
There are some great seafood alternatives you can feed your hedgehogs to negate these issues entirely, one of which is feeding fish oil treats so the hedgehog can still gain the nutritional benefits while avoiding any digestive problems and the smelly side effects.
Shrimps are another seafood favorite among hedgehogs who will eat as many as you give them, just try to avoid frozen dried shrimp and stick to cooked, and just like fish try to keep them as occasional treats that are awarded in moderation.
While they may be faster and in many cases a lot bigger, fish are still seen by hedgehogs as a great tasty treat which is sure to perk them up for the day ahead.
Just always make sure to thoroughly cook fish and only serve it on the odd occasion and in decent chunks to ensure the hog gains as much nutritional value as possible.