Hedgehog Food – Some Delectable Treats for Your Pet

Treat your pet

Photo by Narisa via Flickr

If you’re wondering what kind of hedgehog food makes great snacks your hedgie, you’ll be happy to know you’ve got a lot to choose from! Hedgehogs are omnivores, so they can successfully eat both meat and plants. Just like with any animal, some foods are better for your hedgehog than others, and some treats will delight him more than others. Here’s what to feed your hedgehog to keep him healthy and happy.

For regular, daily feeding, it’s best to buy some kind of commercial hedgehog food, since that way you’ll be sure your pet is getting the vitamins and minerals he needs. Commercial food is specially formulated to meet the unique dietary requirements of hedgehogs, and is always the best choice, especially for new hedgehog owners. You can get commercial food online through places like eBay and Amazon.com, or from your local pet store.

Once you’ve got the main part of your pet’s diet sorted out, you’ll need to figure out what kinds of treats to offer him. Hedgies love treats, just like humans do, and a healthy treat once or twice a day is sure to keep him happy. Most hedgehogs love mealworms and crickets, which can be purchased at most pet stores and make excellent snacks. Sometimes, you can even find these things freeze-dried, which makes them easier to serve. Just shake some out into your pet’s bowl.

Fruit is also good hedgehog food, and each hedgie seems to have his or her own personal favorite.  Blueberries and strawberries may please your pet, as will bananas and pieces of seedless melons. Avoid apples, though, as these can upset a hedgie’s tummy.

Things your pet hedgehog can’t eat


Grapes are toxic to most small animals including hedgehogs. They cause renal, liver and organ failure.


Raisins are not only toxic but can get caught in the roofs of their mouths.

Tea Tree oil

This includes, tea tree shampoo, tea trea oil, tea tree sprays and anything tea tree. This can be fatal in as little as one dose or application. It causes renal, liver and complete organ failure.


Many people believe avocados are toxic, others feel they are safe.


Injected ivermectin has been the cause of many hedgehog deaths yet it has also been widely used on many hedgehogs with no problem. As a safe alternative is available, Revolution, it is simply not worth the risk to use ivermectin. Topical and oral ivermectin has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancers.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and Seeds can get caught in the roofs of their mouth and there is a risk of them digging an eye out while trying to claw out the nut. Nuts are fattening and provide minimal nutritional benefit.


Milk, dairy products

Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and cannot digest dairy products. Dairy products will cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.

Now that you know the kind of hedgehog food your spikey critter enjoys the most for treats and snacks, you can stock up so you always have something on hand to please his palate. Hedgehogs bond to us through the use of treats, as well as cuddling, so be sure to incorporate treats into your routine for hedgehog care. Just be sure you don’t overfeed him, so he doesn’t get fat!

30 Comments on "Hedgehog Food – Some Delectable Treats for Your Pet"

  1. vivienne | 02/03/2009 at 1:52 pm |

    nice one paul what about chickens as a pet

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. Thanks Ann I’m glad you like the blog.

  4. Being that you obviously own hedgehogs of your own, I have a few questions for you. My vet’s office just closed down due to the “times” I’m assuming, and a week later my hedgehog, shadow, stopped eating. This is very strange, because I have his cage at 73°, always give him about 3 hours of attention a day, and he has tons of toys to play with. I tried to see if maybe he had oral cancer, but his mouth is clean and healthy. He also has perfectly good conditioned skin, no flaking, or red bumps. His feet are healthy, and trimmed, yet he won’t run on his wheel. I have no clue why he is acting so strange, and Im sure you know how difficult it is to try finding a vet. I am not trying to replace a vet either, I’ve been looking for one sense the office I went to closed down, but I have called very vet in the phone book and none of them deal with hedgehogs, which is crazy, and very irritating. I have tried fresh fruit, scrambled egg, chicken, other insects, and new brands of food, but nothing has worked. He won’t even eat his dry fruit treats, which he normally loves. Any other ideas? Because I’d like to get him to eat something so he doesn’t die before I find a vet…. That would kill me. I have a hard time believing that none of the vets I called handle hedgehogs, so I’m going to call around tomorrow, again… But if you have any idea’s I’d really love to hear it. Thanks.

  5. Hi Grace,
    I’m very sorry to hear about your problems.

    Obviously there could be many things that are causing him not to eat. With regards the possibility of hibernation you need to make sure that the ambient air temperature is at least 73° not only the cage. Have you recently changed the “lighting” times in the room? If you’ve cut down on the number of hours of light he’s seeing that could induce hibernation as well.

    What colour is his poop? Are there any signs of blood in his stool?

    You really need to get him to a vet as soon as possible as he may have an infection or there could be other internal problems only a vet can sort out for you.

    While you are looking for a vet, to keep him hydrated and fed you could try syringe feeding him high quality wet cat food. I’ve seen Hills A/D for cats recommended as recovery food. If you can’t get that any quality cat food will do.

    I think you live in the States so I’d suggest going to the Hedgehog Central Forum here: http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=5
    And asking for advice there. There are people that are much more expert on health issues than me and they might be able to help you solve your vet finding problems.

    Good luck with Shadow.

  6. I found a vet this morning! I was very excited. They said I could come in right away after I told them what was happening. She had me give him this high quality dog food, and he seems to be loving it.

    I have studied a lot about hedgehogs, and know what most things mean. The lighting hadn’t changed, but after he was acting as if he was chilled I did put him in a place that gets much more light in the house.

    Being that he wasn’t eating, he wasn’t going to the bath room at all, which really freaked me out. He wouldn’t drink or anything, but he seems to be doing much better. It’s funny how a bit of different food can change everything.

    When the vet looked at him though she said nothing was wrong with him, other than him not eating. She said all in all he seems healthy, and just doesn’t seem to care for his old food anymore. I thought it was strange that she had me feed him dog food rather than cat food though. But heck, he’s eating it and she said it’s good for him. Of course it will take him a few days to regain enough energy to get back on his wheel and such.

    Thanks for replying to my comment, I was very scared for Shadow. I’m very grateful that there’s nothing seriously wrong though. I think he’ll be back in shape to play with his new toys soon!

  7. Great news about the vet Grace. It’s funny how we always assume the worst case scenario when all it was is that he was bored with his food! 🙂

    However taking him to the vet was undoubtedly the right thing to do.

    Good luck with Shadow 🙂

  8. I guess I was over reacting, but when a hedgehog isn’t eating, it’s normally a bad sign. But today he woke me up real early running in his wheel, and playing with his toys, though I was tired I really didn’t care, just happy to see him happy again. Thanks again! I’ll continue reading your blog. 🙂

  9. Hi.
    I’m Natalie ^ and i’m getting an Hedgehog and i really like your site with somemany info !
    I heard on something eles that they can’t have Grapes but here says they can ?
    and tell me all about more info. (;

  10. My hedgehog mostly eats live mealworms. She generally nibbles at her food a little, and drinks her entire bowl of water through the night. However, I have a question about the grapes and things as well. My vet recommended that she eat leafy greens, and orange and green fruits and vegetables, like carrots, squash, papayas, celery, and romaine lettuce. Can you give me some more insight?

  11. My hedgehog is soon to be seven weeks old and had red bumps/lumps that looks similar to acne around his genital area. What could this be?

  12. i fed my hedgie half a grade..what will happen? should i call a vet?

  13. ^ i meante grape

  14. what about pinapples or peaches? are they good treats?

  15. Do not continue feeding your hedgehog grapes, Kirsten.
    Many of the treats mentioned in this article are completely safe and appropriate, but grapes are certainly not. They are toxic to hedgehogs and have been known to cause kidney failure and death even in animals as large as dogs. The same goes for raisins.

    Here is a good reference to have handy when looking for what not to allow your hedgie to eat: http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-index.php?page=Toxic

    and here is a page citing the best treats to give them:

  16. I’ve been thinking about getting a hedgie but I am very nervous about it. I’ve checked other websites and they mention that hedgies froth and clean themselves with their salivia is this true? It also mentioned that they are not cuddly like a cat is this true too? Do they get sick easily? How many times a day should they be fed? How often do you clean the cage and do they sink like hamsters? I don’t mind looking after a hedgie I just want to make sure I know excatly what I’m getting into before I get one of these little cuties!

  17. Grapes are highly toxic to hedgehogs and my hedgehog actually died from organ failure because of them. DO NOT FEED A HEDGEHOG GRAPES!!!

  18. Felisha | 08/05/2011 at 2:10 am |

    Hi i just got a hedgie and im scared of it cause when i try to hold it, it makes a mean noise and starts to ball up can someone tell me how it will trust you and not be scared. i cant hold it becasue its pricks its back up. PLEASE HELP!!!! and do they bite usually when they make that noise

  19. Felisha | 08/05/2011 at 2:11 am |

    Hi i just got a hedgie and im scared of it cause when i try to hold it, it makes a mean noise and starts to ball up can someone tell me how it will trust you and not be scared. i cant hold it becasue its pricks its back up. PLEASE HELP!!!! and do they bite usually when they make that noise. please email me if you know anything. [email protected]. thanksss

  20. Nichole | 11/08/2011 at 3:55 am |

    i used to own a hamster but he died a year ago. since then i have been thinking about getting a hedgehog. and i have a few questions. do they HAVE to have meat(im going to feed him/her meat anyways)? Which is better for first time owners Male or Female? Once they know you, will they snuggle? What should i not feed them? What make good treats? And please tell me other things i should know.
    Please help! THANKS 🙂

  21. Thanks for making the effort to describe the terminlogy for the rookies!

  22. Visited your site through Bing. You know I will be signing up to your rss feed.

  23. what about cat food????

  24. How come hedgehogs are lactose intolerant? Are there any other animals that are lactose and tolerant?

  25. Hi! I’ve been thinking about getting a cute little hedgehog and have read alot of stuff about them online and it said don’t ever buy one in a pet shop or online.. if this is true where would I buy one and should I get a male or female?

  26. hi, i work at a pet store and there they tell me its okay to use a waterbottle, but another store i have been to had toldme that waterbottles are unsafe because they can break the hedgehogs teeth, is this ture?

  27. I like this site it’s a masterpiece! Happy to uncover this on the internet.

  28. Hello there!

    I’m getting a hedge soon, and I was just wondering about the best methods for it’s water. Should I use a water bowl or a water bottle?

    Thank you!

  29. Hello !
    My name si Anca, I’m from Romania and for almost a year I have a pygmy hedgehog, Felix.
    I use a water bottle for him.
    If you want to see him try facebook ANCA LCANCA profile
    Have a great day!

  30. Eiyu yaohan | 13/09/2013 at 10:45 am |

    I have a female hedgehog named Spikey .
    i also use a water bottle for my hedgie,
    Adriana, i observed that my hedgehog’s drinking way is placing its mouth and pushes the small “ball” at the tip of the bottle(place to drink)quickly,and Spikey doesen’t bite the metal tip because it was too slippery.
    As we know,all types of teeth has a layer named email,it protects the inner teeth and i dont think the tip could crack the Hedgehog’s teeth.
    if you know,i cracked my right upper grinding teeth while unaccidentally bite an “unsoften” chicken bone.so,i think only bone can break bone

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