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Can Hedgehogs Eat Bread?

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Who does not love hedgehogs? These cute little rodents can either be in your backyard or you might have them as pets.

Many people love feeding their hedgehogs with different food sources. For example, bread.

Read on to find out if bread is safe for your hedgehog to eat.

Can hedgehogs eat bread?

Hedgehogs cannot eat bread because their digestive systems are not prepared to digest it.

slices of bread on a wooden chopping board

What can you feed your hedgehogs with? Should you give a little quantity of bread to hedgehogs? Continue reading.

Can Hedgehogs Eat Bread?

Hedgehogs cannot digest bread. Even though they will eat bread when given, you should not give bread to hedgehogs because it can harm them.

Here are two reasons why you should not give bread to hedgehogs:

Hedgehogs Cannot Digest Bread

This means that eating bread can lead to bloating or upset their stomach.

Instead of digesting bread, it will remain in the stomach of your hedgehog for a while, taking up space that could be used to digest beneficial foods.

Giving bread to your hedgehog can lead to nutrient deficiency and other health challenges in your hedgehog.

Bread Does Not Provide Sufficient Nutrient to Hedgehogs

Bread does not offer hedgehogs sufficient nutrients to survive on. This means that even IF hedgehogs could digest bread, it still would not be a great food for them.

If hedgehogs cannot eat bread, what can they eat? Continue reading.

What Can Hedgehogs Eat?

Here are some examples of foods that are safe for hedgehogs to eat:

butterfly on a sunflower

1. Live Insects

In the wild, hedgehogs search for and eat a lot of insects. A major part of the hedgehog’s natural diet consists of insects.

Insects are rich in protein and provide hedgehogs with sufficient nutrients to grow. Examples of insects that hedgehogs eat are:

  • Praying mantids
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets
  • Roaches
  • Moths and butterflies

If you can find such insects, you should give them as treats to your hedgehogs.

2. Pet Food

Cat food contains the right nutrients and is suitable for hedgehogs. Cat food is rich in proteins and has sufficient fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for hedgehog growth and development.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are healthy choices for hedgehogs.

You should note, however, that even though hedgehogs are omnivores (i.e. they eat both plants and animal products), they are mostly insectivores (i.e. they love eating insects).

You should give fruits and vegetables to hedgehogs occasionally, not regularly to prevent waste.

4. Insect Larvae

Hedgehogs love eating protein-rich insect larvae. Insect larvae or maggots are the immature stage of various insects.

Some edible insect larvae for hedgehogs are:

  • Mealworms
  • Black soldier fly larvae
  • Grub worms
  • Housefly maggots
  • Moth and butterfly larvae (caterpillars)

You should note that some insect larvae (especially those found in dirty places) can carry some pathogens, so it is a good practice to cultivate your own or buy from feed mills and stores instead of collecting them from the wild.

It is very easy to cultivate mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, and other insect larvae.

5. Grains and Seeds

Grains and seeds are plant-based protein sources for your hedgehogs.

oats on hand

Examples of hedgehog-friendly grains are:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Maize
  • Millet

You should give grains and seeds to your hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs may not accept the grains the first time, but as time goes by, they will learn to accept and love grains and seeds.

What should you not give to hedgehogs? Let’s explore this question.

What Can Hedgehogs Not Eat?

Here are some food items that you should NOT give to your hedgehogs:

1. Raw Meat

Hedgehogs are not carnivores (animals that eat meat), neither are they detrivores (animals that eat decaying meat, such as vultures).

You should not give raw meat to your hedgehogs.

If you must give them meat, it must be cooked and chopped into tiny pieces. Do not give them meat in large quantities.

2. Raisins and Other Dry Fruits

These dry fruits are sugar-filled. They can upset the stomach of your hedgehogs.

You should not give your hedgehogs foods that are rich in sugars.

If you must give them raisins, give them in very little quantities and occasionally.

dried fruits in the market

3. Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic and have been researched to be toxic for a lot of pets.

They can cause bloating and upset the stomach of your hedgehogs.

Onions and garlic actually repel the insects which hedgehogs love to eat.

Do not give onions and garlic to your hedgehogs.

4. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits can increase the acidity of your hedgehog’s stomach.

Giving too many citrus fruits to hedgehogs can harm them.

You can, however, give a very small amount of citrus fruit to hedgehogs because citrus fruits have a lot of vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals.

5. Contaminated Food

Do not give hedgehogs foods that are moldy or are in trash cans.

You should give only healthy foods to your hedgehogs so that they do not get sick.

Do not feed hedgehogs near their own or other animals’ fecal matter as well, because fecal material can contaminate food.

Related Questions and Answers

Here are the answers to a few questions that you might ask:

1. Can Hedgehogs Drink Milk?

Milk and milk products are bad for hedgehogs because they are full of lactose. Hedgehogs are lactose-intolerant, so you should not give them milk and products or derivatives of milk.

2. Why Do Hedgehogs Need a Lot of Proteins?

Hedgehogs need a lot of proteins because of their quills.

The quill of hedgehogs is made of keratin, a hard protein that is used for defense in various animals. Your fingernails are made of keratin.

To produce a lot of quills, hedgehogs need to consume a lot of protein-rich foods.

Aside from the production of keratin, hedgehogs use proteins to grow and repair tissues, reproduce, and grow strong and healthy.

3. What Are Great Treats for Hedgehogs?

The best treats you can give to your hedgehogs are insects and insect larvae. Hedgehogs love insects a lot.

You can also give hedgehogs cat food. If you like, you can buy hedgehog treats.

4. What Pets Can Eat Bread?

If hedgehogs cannot eat bread, does it mean that other pets cannot eat bread? No, not necessarily.

Here are some pets that can eat bread:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Guinea pigs
  • Mice
  • Chickens and other birds

As you can see, many other animals can eat bread. This means that you still can feed your pets with breadcrumbs instead of throwing them away.

5. Can Bread Kill Hedgehogs?

Hedgehog at night

Bread is not very poisonous to hedgehogs.

When taken in small quantities, your hedgehogs may experience stomach upset or bloating.

When you give your hedgehogs too much bread, they may develop a deficiency of one or more nutrients, look unhealthy, and appear weak.

Do not give bread to your hedgehogs.

Have you found the answer to your question?

Final Thoughts

Hedgehogs cannot eat bread because they cannot digest it.

Instead of giving bread to your hedgehogs, give them healthier choices such as insects, maggots, cat food, vegetables, etc.

You can also look for other treats for your hedgehogs, but make sure that they are safe.