Did your hedgehog eat grass during your evening walk in the park? Now, you’re wondering whether your pet will be okay or not. Worry not; we have the answer to all your concerns.
Being insectivores, hedgehogs are not naturally prone to eat grass. So, you should prevent your pet hedgehog from chewing on grass from your garden. Apart from the dietary element, grass may also contain pesticides and chemical fertilizers that can harm them.
Hedgehogs tend to taste things to figure out whether they are edible or poisonous. So, it might not always be possible for you to stop your hedgie from trying on grass. If you notice her mouth foaming, it just means that she found it inedible and is anointing.
The trouble begins when your hedgehog goes on nibbling on grass. Let’s figure out what all your hedgehog can eat and what you should avoid.
Why Can Hedgehogs Not Eat Grass?
Hedgehogs are insectivores and require nutrients that may otherwise not be found in pet food items. People often feed cat food to hedgehogs, but there are several other things you can give to your pet.
They are also often referred to as omnivores since wild hedgehogs consume a wide variety of foods, including tiny animals and certain plants. However, African Pygmy hedgehogs are most commonly kept as pets. Being hybrid, their diet differs from that of a wild hedgehog.
Regardless of the species, hedgehogs must not be fed grass. This is because their natural diet doesn’t consist of grass, and consequently, they have not evolved teeth and body systems to digest grass.
Consuming grass can cause severe problems for hedgehogs since their digestive systems lack the appropriate enzymes needed to break grass down into useful nutrients.
What Can Your Hedgehog Eat?
Hedgehogs are known to feed on insects. This is possible because they possess the unique capability of digesting chitin that comes is found in the exoskeleton of insects. This Chitin helps provide protein and some fiber to hedgehogs. However, chitins themselves do not make for a complete diet for hedgehogs.
You must feed your hedgehog pet other food items as well. These include–
Crickets: These are a good source of both chitin and mental stimulation for your hedgehog. You can give it to your pet in either live or freeze-dried form.Just like when feeding other insects to your hedgehog, you must do gut-loading before giving crickets to your hedgehog. This will help you ensure sufficient nutrition for your pet.
Mealworms: Another great source of chitins are live or freeze-dried mealworms. As with live crickets, live mealworms provide mental stimulation for your hedgehogs. This is because they have to focus and make a mental effort to get hold of the moving worms.
Waxworms: You can occasionally treat your pet hedgehog with fatty waxworms.
Vegetables: These animals can happily eat certain vegetables such as raw green beans, tomatoes, and cooked squash. However, take care not to feed them dried vegetables or starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and carrots.
Baby mice: If you don’t mind dealing with the mess, you can offer a pre-killed pinky mouse to your hedgehog as an occasional treat.
Cooked eggs and meat: Fancy some good protein source for your pet? Feed them cooked eggs and low-fat meat in small quantities.
Cat or Hedgehog kibble: This should be your prime source of food to give to your hedgehog. Ideally, a good kibble must contain at least 30% protein with less than 20% fat content.
Hedgehogs are small animals that make for cute pets. They feed majorly on insects but can also consume plant-based food in small quantities. Among vegetables, you can feed them carrots, broccoli, cucumber, and even peas, and leafy greens.
However, you cannot give them grass to eat. While consuming a tiny amount of grass itself may not do much harm to them, they will find it difficult to digest. Moreover, the pesticides and toxic fertilizers often sprayed on grass can prove to be fatal for their health.