When it comes to adorable animals, is there anything cuter than the humble hedgehog? These amazing creatures have become a staple of urban wildlife and are commonly found nesting in gardens across the world.
These sneaky animals are known for their pointed snouts, bristly backs and all-around cuteness. But did you know that some people keep these wonderful animals as pets?
In recent years, hedgehogs have become a popular choice of pet among various animal lovers – with the cute critters being favoured for their low maintenance care and lack of smell aroma.
Some breeders have even commented on the sudden hedgehog craze, with many recognising the solitary animal as being the perfect companion for people who love animals but who also have a busy lifestyle.
So if you think a hedgehog is the best pet for you, then there are some things you have to consider – such as its enclosure, its health and, of course, its diet.
Hedgehogs thrive on a balanced diet, but there are also some foods that you should never give to these adorable animals. Down below we have outlined some of the hedgehog’s dietary requirements so that you can see what caring for a hedgehog is all about.
What Can Hedgehogs Eat?
Realistically, hedgehogs can eat a variety of different foods and these can differ depending on whether the hedgehog is wild or domesticated.
Hedgehogs are insectivores, which means their diet will usually consist of insects, regardless of the environment they are being raised in.
If you wish to keep a hedgehog as a pet, then you will have to invest in insects so that you can feel your little spiky ball of joy.
For a domesticated hedgehog, a balanced diet will consist of high-quality hedgehog food and small amounts of gut-loaded insects. These are a variety of insects that are fed nutritious foods so that they will benefit your hedgehog’s health when consumed.
You can purchase gut-loaded insects from pet stores and they will often come in the form of worms and crickets.
However, this does not mean that your hedgehog is capable of digesting any type of food and there are certain foodstuffs you will want to avoid.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Sunflower Hearts?
There is a variety of foods that hedgehogs are unable to digest, and you should avoid giving these to your pet if you want to ensure their good health. For example, certain fruits and vegetables (such as grapes and avocado) are toxic to hedgehogs and could poison them if consumed.
Hedgehogs are also lactose intolerant, something that is widely known among people who enjoy feeding wild hedgehogs in their gardens. You should refrain from introducing dairy products or bread to your hedgehog’s diet, as this could be dangerous for their health.
However, some foods have found a negative reputation among the hedgehog keeping community – even though these foods are not dangerous for your hedgehog to consume.
Seeds and nuts are often given the side-eye by experienced hedgehog keepers, with many believing that seeds and nuts should never be eaten by your hedgehog.
But this doesn’t mean they are poisonous or even that they should be removed from your hedgehog’s diet. You may even discover that your beloved hedgehog enjoys eating sunflower hearts and peanuts from time to time.
So if you are curious about whether your hedgehog can eat sunflower hearts, then the answer is yes. However, this does not mean that sunflower hearts are completely free of negative side effects.
Why Are Sunflower Hearts Bad For Hedgehogs?
Although sunflower hearts are not toxic, they do come with some side effects that you should consider before letting your hedgehog consume them.
Sunflower hearts are very high in fat and this means they can be very bad for your hedgehog’s health when eaten in large numbers.
Essentially, sunflower hearts are the fast food of the hedgehog world – in that they can be delicious but also give your hedgehog unnecessary fats in their diet.
If you wish to feed your hedgehog sunflower hearts, then we recommend only serving them as a snack from time to time. This will allow your hedgehog to enjoy the sunflower hearts as a treat, but without the negative side effect of making them unhealthy.
Sunflower hearts can also be introduced into a hedgehog’s balanced diet as a source of fat.
For this, we recommend adding a small amount to their usual food mix, as this will provide your hedgehog with the fats they need for energy and nourishment.
Using small amounts is advised because too much could again unbalance your hedgehog’s diet, which could make them unwell or obese.