Help! My Hedgehog Is Not Eating: Tempting Taste Buds...

Sep 2, 2013 by

Symptom The loss, or lack of appetitive, is medically referred to as Anorexia. The first sign of illness is often loss of appetite. It is important to get your hedgehog checked out right away by a veterinarian, if you cannot easily determine the reason for the change in eating pattern. Cause – Change in Environment or Routine It is not uncommon for hedgies to skip their first meal or two, in their new home. Sometimes hedgehogs are just too busy sleeping, exploring, or running on the wheel, to take the time to eat. Waiting to introduce the wheel, after the hedgehog has acclimated to eating and drinking in its new home, will help prevent eating distractions. Make sure your hedgehog is warm and comfortable and that they have easy access to their water bottle or dish and that your hedgehog in fact is drinking. Our small bag of “baby” food is the “trick up our sleeve” to tempt babies into eating when they go to new homes.  It tastes really good to them and they will typically eat it without a problem.  It is very rich so even a little food will sustain them through their adjustment period. Refer to our Environmental Stress and Not Eating article for more information on this topic. Cause – Change in Food It is a good idea to keep your hedgehog on the same diet for at least a month,...

Ideal Diet

Sep 2, 2013 by

Food Many hedgehogs have developed fatal liver problems due to diet of too much fat. For many years, cat food has been the default food for domestic hedgehogs but many cat foods are too high in fat and low in protein to be healthy food for hedgehogs. Over time, hedgehog-specific food has been developed but don’t blindly accept it based on the label. The only way you can guarantee the healthiness of your hedgehog’s food is to analyze its fat, protein and carbohydrate content. Choose food (whether in the form of cat or hedgehog food) that guarantees a composition of at least 30% protein. Don’t feed your hedgehog any food with a fat content of over 12%. Make sure your hedgehog gets a good amount of fiber (food with 10% fiber analysis will work well), because fibers can partially substitute for some of the substances that a hedgehog would normally consume in its primarily insect diet. In the Wild Although traditionally classified in the now abandoned order Insectivora, hedgehogs are not exclusively insectivores but are almost omnivorous. Hedgehogs feed on insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, melons, and watermelons. In fact, berries constitute a major part of an Afghan Hedgehog’s diet in early spring after hibernation. The hedgehog is occasionally spotted after a rainstorm foraging for earthworms. Although forest hedgehogs, most well-known to Europeans, are indeed mainly...

Hedgehog Treats

May 27, 2013 by

Treats that provide nutrition are always more beneficial than food items that seem to be nothing more than empty calories. Establishing a regular routine when offering treats my help your hedgehog try new treats since they know treats are expected at that time. Perishable treats should be removed after one hour. Insects Insectivores by nature, hedgehogs typically love insects. It is a good idea to include insects as part of your hedgehog’s balanced diet. The most popular insects of hedgehogs and their owners are live mealworms, wax worms, silk worms and crickets. Canned crickets, mealworms (only one or two per day), wax worms or other insects can be used but they tend to smell bad and should ideally be used within a week of opening. Rancid canned insects can cause stomach upset to hedgehogs. Amy Hood of Hood Petz had a necropsy report that showed that one of her hedgehogs died from a freeze-dried mealworm impaction in the intestinal tract. This was due to the hedgehog’s inability to digest the freeze-dried mealworms. For this reason, many hedgehog breeders and enthusiasts do not recommend freeze-dried insects. We prefer to use pet-quality, farm raised insects to wild caught insects because of the risk of parasite infection, insecticide exposure, or other toxins in bugs caught in the wild. Even though hedgehogs are insectivores, a captive hedgehog diet of only insects would not be nutritionally balanced. When purchasing...

Treats Purpose & Guidelines

May 24, 2013 by

Purpose of Treats Providing treats to your pet hedgehog is both beneficial to you and your pet. We enjoy offering the treats and watching our pets benefit from our efforts. Variety One of the primary reasons for feeding treats to your pet is to provide a variety in their diet. The Hedgehog Diet Overview describes why variety is beneficial to your hedgehog. Different tastes and textures of foods provide enrichment as well as a source of nutrients that may be missing from its staple diet. Environmental Enrichment “Hiding” or scattering dry food treats encourages the hedgehog to forage as it would in its natural environment. Dry treats are preferred over moist treats, which will spoil if undiscovered, when hiding or scattering food. Stimulating hedgehog activity encourages exercise, which is beneficial to your hedgehog’s overall health. Bonding The giver of treats is always more welcome than empty hand. A happy hedgehog is more social and will look forward to handling and interaction. Tempting Taste Buds Hedgehogs can suddenly stop eating due to illness, depression, or stress. By knowing their favorite treats or foods, you can often tempt a hedgehog into eating when they aren’t inclined to eat their regular food. Having a list of foods they like and don’t like will not only help you, but also your hedgehog sitter if you should happen to leave your hedgehog in another person’s care. Knowing your hedgehogs...