If you live in the countryside, you’ve most probably seen a hedgehog or two walking around your garden or somewhere near your house.
You might even have a pet hedgehog, or simply find them so adorable that you want to take care of them when you go for a walk in the woods.
As with all animals, the first question that will pop into your head is “what do hedgehogs eat?” or “can they eat some of my sandwich?”.
Seeing how little they are, the next thought that will probably come up to you is to feed them with something as small as rice. But is rice good for them? Can they eat it? And should it be part of the list of foods they should eat to stay healthy?
Read on to find out what hedgehogs can and can not eat.
What Do Hedgehogs Generally Eat?
Although it belongs to the family of insectivores, the hedgehog is almost omnivorous. It eats insects, snails, frogs, eggs, snakes, trunks, mushrooms, grasses, roots, berries, melons, and watermelons.
However, the Afghan hedgehog, when it wakes up from hibernation, feeds mainly on berries.
Occasionally, hedgehogs have been spotted looking for worms after the rain. Although forest hedgehogs, best known to Europeans, are mainly insectivores, this is not necessarily the case for other species.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Rice?
Rice is not harmful to hedgehogs, so the answer would be yes. You can definitely boil some rice to feed your hedgehog.
However, since their diet should be high in protein and rice is a source of carbs, you should not rely only on rice if you want to take proper care of your little friend.
If you’re wondering what kind of rice is best for hedgehogs and how you should cook it, we’ve got an answer for that too.
Seeing how delicate they are and how little they eat, it is important to provide them with the best quality of food, even when we are talking about something quite simple as rice.
These are some guidelines that you should follow when cooking rice for your hedgehog.
To begin with, you need to make sure the rice is cooked well so that it can be easily consumed and digested.
While that applies to people too, given the small mouth hedgehogs have, it is of vital importance for them to be able to chew and swallow each grain of rice without difficulty.
Then we should point out the methods of cooking rice, which is probably a bit different to those we follow when cooking for ourselves.
While most of us add a spoon of oil to our boiling rice, when it comes to hedgehogs, you should avoid adding that to their portion. Don’t worry, they won’t mind missing out on the taste.
Truth is, a hedgehogs’ diet should be low in fat so as not to upset their stomach, so bland rice it is for them. And the same goes for sodium and any kind of seasoning.
We people are used to salted food, but hedgehogs are not. So even if you’re cooking some rice for both you and your hedgehog, you can add the oil, salt, and spices to the pot after you’ve taken out the little fellow’s portion.
Finally, make sure that the rice itself is not spiced or has any added flavors, as they can all harm the hedgehog’s stomach and general health.
Recommendations For The Diet Of Hedgehogs
Like we said earlier, rice does not offer the required amount of protein a hedgehog needs, which is why rice should only be a ‘snack’ when it comes to their diet.
What you need to offer them are high-quality protein sources. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for that.
Protein sources of high nutritional value are, for example, cooked meats (again, try to opt for lean cuts with less fat) and many types of cat, dog and hedgehog food.
Even some types of fruits and vegetables can be great supplements for those extra grams of protein, but, as with rice, they won’t do the work on their own.
Hedgehogs are creatures that do not eat huge amounts of food. In fact, they eat close to nothing, as they can even go a month without eating more than 1 kg of food.
Therefore, you must choose wisely what to give them and, in all cases, choose the best possible quality of food.
Foods Hedgehogs Should Not Eat
Not all foods are good for hedgehogs, and it is important to avoid some types of food, especially those that contain acids or excess sugar.
The main reason why you need to avoid them is that they can spoil the well-being of hedgehogs, like they will do for most small-size creatures.
Another thing you should know is that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. So it goes without saying that any kind of dairy product will not do them any good. Apart from that, other types of food you should avoid feeding your hedgehog are:
- Citrus fruits
- Hot peppers
- Fast food
- Dried fruit
Now you know the answer: hedgehogs can eat rice. However, what they really need to consume is a high amount of protein, so you shouldn’t rely on feeding them rice to keep them healthy.
A few grains of basmati with a sufficient amount of cooked meat will do wonders!