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Can Hedgehogs Eat Lettuce?

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Hedgehogs are cute and fun pets. Everyone loves hedgehogs. Just like raising other pets, you have to think of the best kinds of food and treats for your hedgehog. What do hedgehogs eat? Can hedgehogs eat lettuce? Read this article.

As omnivores, hedgehogs can eat both plant and animal products. This means that hedgehogs can eat lettuce.

fresh lettuce on wooden round chopping board

Hedgehogs love to eat lettuce and other leafy greens. These should not, however, be the staple of their diet as they lack adequate protein for proper nutrition.

Should you feed your hedgehog with only lettuce and other plant products? When should you feed your hedgehogs? Continue reading.

Hedgehogs Eating Lettuce

Lettuce is great for hedgehogs, but how great? Let us consider the nutrient composition of lettuce.

Nutrient Composition of Lettuce

The table below shows the nutrient composition in 100 grams of lettuce leaves:

Protein1.35 g
Carbohydrates2.23 g
Vitamins<1 g
Minerals<300 mg
Dietary fiber1.1 g


From the table above, you can see that lettuce leaves do not contain enough proteins to sustain the growth of hedgehogs. Carefully examine the table to understand further parts of this article.            

European hedgehog with forest background

Can Hedgehogs Rely on Lettuce?

Hedgehogs are omnivores. This means that they can eat plant and animal products. It also means that they need nutrients from plants, insects, worms, etc.

If you feed your hedgehogs with only lettuce, it means that you are giving them just plant products.

Hedgehogs cannot survive on lettuce. Aside from the need for animal-product nutrition, lettuce does not have sufficient protein for hedgehogs, so your hedgehogs can have stunted growth and may not reproduce if you give them an all-lettuce diet every time.

When to Give Lettuce to Your Hedgehogs

If you should not give lettuce to hedgehogs as their regular diet, when should you feed your hedgehogs with lettuce?

1. As Supplements

Remember that hedgehogs are omnivores, so they need to eat products of plants and animals (which are mostly insects). While you give it feeds to your hedgehogs, you should give them lettuce as well.

If your pet feed is depleted, you can give lettuce to your hedgehogs until you get the new feed.

2. To Keep Your Hedgehogs Busy and Fun

Just like birds in their coop, you can give lettuce to hedgehogs to keep them busy. Lettuce as well as other vegetables is a healthy treat for your hedgehogs.

3. By Recommendation

Your vet and other pet experts might recommend lettuce and other kinds of food for your hedgehog. They can teach you how to train your hedgehogs using treats (which can include lettuce).

If you are advised to feed your pet hedgehogs with lettuce by trained pet experts, do so.

Now you know that even though you should not give only lettuce to hedgehogs, you can give lettuce to your hedgehogs sometimes.

Other Foods You Can Give to Your Hedgehogs

Asides from lettuce, here are great examples of foods you can give to your hedgehogs:

1. Pet Feeds

You can buy hedgehog feeds in local pet shops or feed mills. Hedgehog feeds are usually high in protein (30-50%), but low on fat (<15%). Hedgehog feed can be the major feed of hedgehogs as it contains all the needed nutrients.

Even though you can feed hedgehogs on a 100% processed feed diet, you should give your hedgehogs treats as well.

2. Fruits and Vegetables

bananas and apples on dark gray background

Hedgehogs love fruits and vegetables. They are omnivores, so you can give them enough fruits and veggies. Some examples of fruits and vegetables that you can give to hedgehogs are:

  • Banana
  • Watermelons
  • Leafy greens
  • Apples
  • Tomatoes
  • Microgreens

Remember that your hedgehogs cannot rely solely on plant diets, so remember to give them other kinds of feeds.

Do not give dry fruits to hedgehogs because it has a high concentration of sugar. Also, they do not need starchy foods such as potatoes.

3. Insects and other Invertebrates

In nature, free-ranging hedgehogs are usually insectivores. This means that they search for and eat insects a lot. Examples of insects that hedgehogs eat are:

  • Mealworms
  • Beetles
  • Crickets
  • Butterflies
  • Grasshoppers

Hedgehogs also eat other invertebrates. Examples are:

  • Snails
  • Earthworms
  • Reptiles

While you can easily find some of these organisms in various shops around you, you may need to check your lawn and shrubs around for the less-common organisms to feed your hedgehogs.

There are a lot more kinds of food items for hedgehogs.

Related Questions and Answers

Got any questions? Here are the answers:

1. What Should You Never Feed Hedgehogs

There are some examples of items that you should not give to hedgehogs. Here are some examples:

  • Grapes: Grapes have too many sugars for hedgehogs. Grapes and raisins are also toxic to hedgehogs, so you should not give them to your pet hedgehogs.
  • Milk: Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so they can get diarrhea when they consume milk. Give your hedgehogs plain water instead of milk.
  • Dry fruits: The concentration of sugars in dry fruits is too much for hedgehogs. When moisture leaves a fruit, the remaining constituent of the fruit is mostly sugar. Do not give dry fruits to hedgehogs.
  • Tomato leaves:  Leaves of plants in the nightshade family such as tomatoes and potatoes contain solanine which is toxic to animals. You should not give such leaves to your hedgehogs.
  • Starchy vegetables: Do not give potatoes, carrots, corn, etc. to hedgehogs because they contain too much starch. Hedgehogs do not need much starch and sugars.

Always make sure that what you are giving to your hedgehog is safe.

2. When Should You Feed Hedgehogs

Did you know that hedgehogs are nocturnal? As nocturnal animals, they are mostly active at night. Some pet hedgehogs, however, can be active in the day due to some factors.

You should feed your hedgehogs in the evening hours because that is when they will eat the most. Feeding them in the early hours of the day can cause wastage of their feed.

3. Why Do Hedgehogs Need So Much Proteins?

Hedgehogs need 30-50% crude protein in their diet. Hedgehogs need a lot of proteins to grow and reproduce. Also, hedgehog quills are made of keratin which is known as a protective protein (another example of keratin is your fingernail).

To produce more keratin for their defense, grow quickly, reproduce, and repair damaged tissues, hedgehogs need a lot of proteins.

You’ve got your questions answers, right?

Final Thoughts

Hedgehogs are cute pets that you definitely want to see. They are omnivores, so you should give them enough plant and animal diet. Hedgehogs love eating insects and you can always give them lettuce supplements.