The hedgehog is a spiny mammal native to Europe and Asia. Unfortunately, these impressive creatures are in decline, and we no longer see as many of them as we used to.
This has piqued our curiosity for the humble hedgehog, with more of us than ever setting out to help them when we can.
If you’ve ever stumbled across a hedgehog in your yard or garden, you may be asking yourself, “what can I feed it?”.
We know hedgehogs are primarily omnivorous, so is it safe for them to eat superworms? Or can these make a hedgehog sick? Keep reading to learn more.
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
Hedgehogs are omnivorous, meaning they will eat both plant-based foods and animal-based foods. They have been known to eat insects, spiders, slugs, fruits, nuts, flowers, leaves, roots, fungi, berries, and more.
In fact, their diet consists mostly of plants (which makes sense if you think about it). However, they do consume some animal matter, including eggs, worms, snails, frogs, mice, birds, fish, and even small mammals like shrews and voles.
What Can’t Hedgehogs Eat?
Hedgehogs have a pretty varied diet, but is there anything in particular that can make them sick? Yes! There are certain things that hedgehogs cannot digest. These include:
- Raw meat
- Citrus fruits
- Diseased plants
Can Hedgehogs Eat Superworms?
Superworms are not actually worms at all, but rather earthworms. Earthworms are very beneficial to the soil because they aerate the ground by burrowing through it.
They also break down organic material such as dead vegetation and manure into nutrients that plants need.
Earthworms are a great food source for hedgehogs. The two species of earthworm most commonly eaten by hedgehogs are the common earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) and the red wiggler worm (Pheretima spp.).
Both species of earthworm are found throughout North America and Europe.
The problem is that earthworms are often considered a pest because they damage gardens and lawns. If you want to keep your garden healthy, don’t use any pesticides on your lawn or garden.
Instead, let nature take its course and allow the earthworms to work their magic.
Is It Safe For Hedgehogs To Eat Superworms?
The short answer is yes. Earthworms are generally harmless to humans and other animals. Some people do consider earthworms to be pests, however, and will try to get rid of them using pesticides or other methods.
Earthworms are highly beneficial to your garden ecosystem, so leaving them to do their thing is the right move.
There’s no evidence that eating earthworms cause health problems in hedgehogs. However, there may be some potential risks associated with consuming earthworms.
First off, earthworms can carry diseases. So, it’s important to wash your hands after handling earthworms.
Second, earthworms contain a toxin called tetrodotoxin that can cause illness in humans who handle them. Tetrodotoxin affects the nervous system, causing symptoms similar to those caused by botulism.
Symptoms include muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
However, these issues are rare, and as far as we know, super worms pose minimal risks to your hedgehog.
In fact, super worms can be an incredibly nutritious addition to a hedgehog’s diet. So let’s take a closer look at the nutritional profile of a superworm.
Nutrition Of Superworms
A superworm has approximately 500 calories per 100 grams. A single superworm provides around 2% of a hedgehog’s daily caloric intake.
This means that one superworm would only provide enough energy for a hedgehog to survive for one day.
Superworms are high in protein and low in fat. Protein is essential to a hedgehog’s survival. Proteins help build muscles, repair tissues, and produce enzymes needed for digestion.
Fat helps hedgehogs absorb vitamins and minerals from their diets.
Superworms are also rich in calcium and iron. Calcium is necessary for bone growth and development, and iron is vital for blood formation and oxygen transport.
Why Should You Feed Hedgehog Insects?
Hedgehogs are omnivores. That means they eat both plant-based foods and animal-based foods. Because of this, hedgehogs have unique dietary needs.
Hedgehogs require a variety of different types of food. They need fiber to help maintain digestive tract health, and for hedgehogs, fiber comes from plants like grasses and leaves.
They also need carbohydrates to fuel their lifestyles, and carbohydrates come from fruits and vegetables.
Finally, hedgehogs need proteins to grow healthy and strong. These proteins come from insects and small mammals like mice and voles!
Feeding insects to your hedgehog will give him a boost in nutrition and make sure he gets all the nutrients he needs.
The Bottom Line
As we’ve learned, hedgehogs are omnivores, requiring a varied diet. These loveable creatures like to keep their diets interesting, and superworms are just one way you can keep your hedgehog excited and healthy from its diet!
Superworms have a very healthy nutritional profile, and as far as we know, they pose no risks to your hedgehog’s health.
So, why not get your hands on some superworms today and give your hedgehog a feast to remember!