Are Hedgehogs Lactose Intolerant?

Unlike other mammals hedgehogs are unable to drink milk because they are lactose intolerant. They are incapable of digesting lactose. Usually, dairy products contain lactose. Therefore if you have to feed hedgehogs don’t feed them any dairy products.

Just like pet kittens, a hedgehog’s digestive system is intolerant to lactose. Food containing lactose includes cow milk and thus it is not recommended for hedgehogs. Other dairy products like cheese, yogurt, or butter must also not be given to the hedgehogs.

What should we feed hedgehogs?

Milk is an important source of energy and protein. Thus an alternative for hedgehogs is a diet rich in protein. Hedgehogs are small and not such active animals. So a diet rich in fats should be avoided.

Suitable food items for hedgehogs are tinned cat or dog food. It is rich in protein and provides sufficient energy to them. You can also feed them cat biscuits. Or even dried mealworms are a diet full of protein. Either live or freeze-dried mealworms can be given to hedgehogs.

Insects and worms

If you come across any hedgehog you should know that a hedgehog is a wild animal and it eats various food items. The only thing to avoid is milk. Wild hedgehogs eat insects and green vegetables. Hedgehogs love to eat insects. That’s the major part of their diet. They love insects and worms as their all-time favorite meal.


Hedgehogs love to eat meat, vegetables, and fruits. You can categorize them as omnivores. You can even see wild hedgehogs nibbling fallen fruits.

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That’s all the solid food for their diet. For liquid all they intake is water. Water itself is full of nutrients which are sufficient for them.

Formula milk

Hedgehogs go through different phases of life while they become an adult. But all of them are lactose intolerant. For young ones just like other mammals milk is important for growth. So if you want to add milk to their diet just make sure it’s formula milk for hedgehogs. Cow milk should be strictly avoided from the diet.

Healthy diet

So to feed a pet hedgehog is not expensive nor does it require any extra effort. A hedgehog can usually survive on its own. But with little help you can give them a healthy diet. Make sure to keep it close to their natural environment so that they stay comfortable.


The right choice of cat and dog food will work for them. But it should be rich in protein. Cooked meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables can all be included in their diet. While picking cooked or baked food items make sure they are not cooked in milk as milk is a source of lactose.

Hedgehogs lack the enzymes which help in digesting lactose. So if hedgehogs take lactose in their diet then it will result in a painful upset stomach for them. Not only can this result in extremely excruciating pain but it can also prove fatal for this little creature.