Hedgehogs/diet

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Question
Hi
I want to know how much protein and fat my hedgehogs food should have?
Thanks

Answer
Hi, Irene:

To the best of my knowledge, no definitive study has been done to determine the nutritional requirements and optimal diet for the African hedgehog.

That said, we do know that hedgehogs are insectivores, and that their diet in the wild (in Africa, I mean; or in Europe, if we're speaking of European hedgehogs) is heavily weighted toward insects: mealworms, waxworms, grubs, caterpillars, beetles, crickets, etc.  They have also been known to eat bird eggs; small birds, rodents, and snakes, and also fruits and vegetables.  In Africa, many lived in or near human garbage dumps -- for the garbage itself, and also for other creatures that came to eat it.  They are not "prey" animals and few other mammals are keen to take them on.  In Europe, far more hedgehogs are killed by traffic than by badgers, etc.

For domestic hedgehogs, there are quite a few foods that claim to be hedgehog specific, but only a few that actually are. Stay well away from some stuff called “Vita-Kraft,” known to serious HH fanciers as “Vita-Krap,” because it has almost nothing good in it for hedgehogs and some things that can actually be bad (like whole peanuts, which can cause choking). Most “hedgehog” foods available in pet stores are not very good.  

If your hedgehog(s) will eat it, one good food that really does contain what hedgehogs eat in the wild is Insectivore Fare (Google “exoticnutrition”).  Many breeders and fanciers will feed that with a mixture of low-fat high-end cat kibble (e.g., Innova, California Natural, Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, Fromm’s, etc.).  I found out by accident (sample packet of food given away at a HH show) that my quill-kids adored Fromm’s Salmon A La Veg (which I don't feed exclusively because it contains quite a bit of fat).

I would suspect that there is quite a lot more information about your topic online.  I know that either the newsletter of the International Hedgehog Association or that of the Hedgehog Welfare Society (or both) has/have previously featured articles on hedgehog nutrition.

Good luck on your further quest for information.

Hedgie Blessings,

Laurel

Hedgehogs

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Laurel Sedgwick

Expertise

Can answer care, health, & behavioral questions, as well as basic breeding questions. Can help questioner figure out if a hedgehog is the right pet for them.

Experience

Have had hedgehogs since 2001 - 16 so far. I have no experience with non-weaned babies, and limited experience with breeding and with pregnant hedgehogs. I have had too much experience with WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome). I would rate myself "expert" at syringe-feeding, and as "advanced" at performing SubQs. Two of my hedgehogs have injured an eye to the point that it had to be surgically removed. I have had a lot of hedgehogs who suffered from cancer, some who had surgery and some who didn't. Some of my quilly kids have had abcessed teeth; one guy lost all of his teeth but one! I have had multiple female hedgehogs who suffered from bleeding, who had to have surgery for uterine cancer, which was in most cases successful. Temperamentally, I have had very timid hedgehogs, persistently grumpy hedgehogs, biting hedgehogs, and very friendly hedgehogs whom I took with me as "ambassadors" for educational presentations.

Organizations
I am a Certified Judge for the IHA, and run a rescue station for the HWS. My application to be a rescue station for the IHA is pending.

Education/Credentials
I read everything I can get my hands on. Have read the best of the books, Dawn Wrobel's THE HEDGEHOG and Tig M-Burleson's THE HEDGEHOG PRIMER. I am a member of the International Hedgehog Association (IHA) and Hedgehog Welfare Society (HWS), and have been a member of various online bulletin board groups since 2002.
I have attended many hedgehog shows and have served as a judge in IHA conformation shows.

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