So, you are thinking of getting your own hedgehog. But before you do, you thought to learn about its needs first. To this end, you are verifying things hedgehogs can eat, and now, you are wondering if they can peanut butter.
So, can hedgehogs eat peanut butter?
Peanut butter is safe for hedgehogs to eat in very small quantities. Due to it’s high fat content, it should be avoided as a treat. Safer alternatives include mealworms, cooked lean meats, and commercially prepared hedgehog treats.
For hedgehogs, the risks attached to eating peanut butter outweigh the benefits. So, it is advised that one does not offer them peanut butter.
You may be thinking, “can hedgehogs eat peanuts?” “What other types of food should they not eat?” Well, in the rest of this post, we answer these questions and much more.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Peanut Butter?
As we said earlier, if you offer a hedgehog peanut butter, it will most likely accept. However, peanut butter is not a healthy option for hedgehogs. So, do not offer it to them; many potential hazards come with hedgehogs eating peanut butter.
For hedgehogs, the caloric content of peanut butter is excessive. The bodies of the miniature mammals only need minimal amounts of calories to survive.
So, if you give them peanut butter, the excess calories are converted to and stored as fat in the hedgehogs’ bodies. In the end, they could become fat, lazy, and prone to various diseases.
Another potential hazard that comes with peanut butter is the sugar content. Hedgehogs are not used to consuming sugar. So, their digestive system will be unable to handle the high sugar content of peanut butter. Thus, they may suffer if they consume peanut butter.
Now, you might come across some sugar-free brands of peanut butter that contain artificial sweeteners. Avoid these too. One of the common artificial sweeteners used is xylitol.
Although this substance is safe in humans, it has been shown to have adverse effects in animals like cows, dogs, goats, and baboons. So, it is safer to assume that it might be toxic to hedgehogs.
You might also be thinking, “what if I give it organic peanut butter containing no sugar or sweetener?” Well, peanut butter might cause choking.
Being as sticky as it is, it could get stuck in their throat as they swallow. Besides, their mouths are small, making it more likely for them to choke. As you may imagine, choking does not go well for anyone, not even hedgehogs.
Apart from the above, if peanut butter is made from low-quality peanuts, it may contain aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a carcinogen produced by fungi growing on poorly stored peanuts.
Your hedgehog may suffer liver toxicity or something worse if it consumes peanut butter with aflatoxin.
If you are still willing to take chances by giving your hedgehog peanut butter, take the following precautions:
- Feed it peanut butter irregularly and only in exceedingly small portions.
- Only offer it smooth peanut butter, not the crunchy type.
- Opt for organic peanut butter since it will contain little or no additives. It may be more expensive, but it is relatively safer.
- Whenever you offer the hedgehog peanut butter as a treat, do away with other high-calorie food in its diet.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Peanuts?
No, hedgehogs should not eat peanuts. Some of the risks attached to eating peanut butter are the same as those attached to peanuts.
For one, there is the risk of choking while eating peanuts. Then again, the peanut may get stuck in between the hedgehog’s teeth, and it may lead to a gum infection.
Some people try to grind and mash up the peanuts to reduce the chances of choking. But it is better to avoid it totally.
Besides, peanuts have high levels of calories too. So, your hedgehog may get fat from consuming peanuts regularly.
What Other Types of Foods Should Hedgehogs Not Eat?
Apart from peanuts and peanut butter, there are many other foods hedgehogs should not eat. They include the following:
- Raw meat
- Processed meat
- Seasoned meat
- All types of nuts
- All seeds
- Spicy food
Grapes are potentially toxic to hedgehogs as they can cause renal failure. Avocados are also poisonous to hedgehogs because they contain persin, a fungicidal toxin.
Raisin, garlic, potato, mushroom, chocolate, onion are also toxic to hedgehogs for various reasons.
Pineapple will cause stomach irritations. Bread, processed meat, and seasoned meat are not ideal because of the ingredients they contain. Raw meat may carry microbes that can cause gastrointestinal infections.
Nuts and seeds carry the risk of choking. Also, they may get stuck in the hedgehog’s mouth and cause dental infections.
Avoid letting hedgehogs feed on grass. Grasses are not inherently problematic to hedgehogs. However, if the grass has been sprayed with fertilizer, herbicides, or similar chemicals, it is unfit for them. So, you may just do away with grasses.
List of What Can Hedgehogs Eat?
Away from some of the food items hedgehogs cannot eat, let us see what they can eat.
Generally, the primary diet of a hedgehog should have protein and fat in the ratio 2:1. In other words, pet hedgehogs should consume 28-35% protein and 12-15% fat.
Hedgehogs can eat the following food items:
- Baby food
- Dry cat food
- Specialized hedgehog food
- Dog food
If you will get your pet hedgehog dog food or dry cat food, ensure it is of high quality. Besides those food items above, hedgehogs can also eat the following:
Due to their sugar content, apple and bananas should not be given regularly. Whenever they are given, they should come in minimal amounts.
When offering vegetables to hedgehogs, ensure you dice them into small pieces. The harder vegetables like carrots and cucumber should be softened. Doing these reduces the likelihood of choking.
While you cannot give hedgehogs raw, seasoned, or processed meat, you can give them the following types of lean meat:
You should not cook any of the meats above with seasoning or oil. Then, ensure you cut or shred the meat into tiny pieces to make chewing and swallowing easy for the hedgehog.
Peanut butter should be avoided in hedgehogs. Its consumption comes with many risks that may not be worth it. Fortunately, there are many other treats you can offer your hedgehog in place of peanut butter.