Can hedgehogs eat hornworms? What does it mean?
Hedgehogs are cute animals that live in Europe and North America. They look similar to rabbits, but they have long spines instead of fur. They also have big ears and bushy tails.
Hedgehogs eat insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, and caterpillars. They also eat worms and other invertebrates. Their stomach acid breaks down the tough exoskeleton of these creatures.
But can they eat hornworms? This article takes a closer look.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Insects And Bugs?
The short answer is yes. A hedgehog eats insects and bugs. It’s not just for fun or entertainment; hedgehogs need to eat bugs to survive.
Insects and bugs provide them with vitamins and nutrients that help keep them healthy. Without food, they would die within days.
Hedgehogs being able to eat insects and bugs are also important for keeping pests under control.
Although they don’t usually eat meat, hedgehogs do eat plenty of these small insects and bugs.
The most common ones include mealworms, cockroaches, beetles, ants, wasps, bees, flies, butterflies, moths, and spiders.
How Do Hedgehogs Eat Worms And Other Vertebrate Animals?
Hedgehog stomach acids break down the hard shells of insects and worms.
This helps them digest the nutritious parts of the insect or worm. Once digested, the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream through the animal’s digestive tract.
What Are Hornworms?
A hornworm is an arthropod (a type of invertebrate) that has a hard shell around its body. These creatures belong to the order Lepidoptera (the order includes butterflies and moths).
They are commonly found in forests across the United States. They feed on plants like tree roots and leaves.
They are often mistaken for slugs because of their slimy appearance. However, they are completely harmless to humans.
Hornworms grow up to three inches long. Their bodies are covered by brownish-gray skin.
Their antennae are very sensitive and can detect movement from far away. When disturbed, they quickly curl themselves into a ball.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Hornworms?
Yes, hedgehogs can eat hornworms. Although they may be confused with slugs at first glance, they are completely different creatures. Slugs are soft-bodied, while hornworms are hard-shelled.
So if you see a hornworm crawling along with your lawn, there’s no reason to worry about it. Just leave it or instead feed it to your hedgehog.
Although hedgehogs can safely eat hornworms, if you feed them to your pet hedgehog, you should try to remove as much of the shell as possible as they can be so hard.
You should also attempt to remove the head as they can bite your hedgie.
Hornworms are low in fat and have a lot of calcium. So feeding them to your pet will benefit him/her greatly.
You can even grow hornworms at home and keep them in a constant supply for your pet, however, they will need a constant food supply otherwise they might die.
Hornworms are herbivores, meaning they only eat plant matter and they pose no health risks to your pet if you decide to feed them to it daily.
What About Earthworms?
Hedgehogs can digest earthworms, but they do not provide as much nutritional value. They also have lots of diseases at times and some hedgehogs do not like the taste.
This makes them controversial to feed your hedgehog in the hedgehog community.
Earthworms are more than twice as large as hornworms and contain a higher amount of protein, however.
Earthworms are not easy to find. Most people who live near forests do not know where to look for them.
If you do want to give your hedgehog earthworms, then you should start looking for them in fall when they come out of hibernation.
What About Mealworms?
Mealworms are another popular option for hedgehogs. They are smaller than earthworms and easier to find.
However, although mealworms are high in protein they lack other essential vitamins and minerals.
The best way to feed your hedgehog mealworms is to buy them already cooked. You can also either boil them or fry them. You can also provide them live or freeze-dried.
Mealworms are popular in the hedgehog community because of their high protein value and they have become a regular part of many hedgehog diets.
They also have plenty of chitin in them which is beneficial to the health of your hedgehog.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand how to properly care for your hedgehog. Hornworms are perfectly safe to feed your hedgehog and can help improve his/her diet.
Just remember to remove the head in case it ends up biting the hedgehog and hurting it.