Hedgehogs are wild omnivores with a liking for sweet foods. They can eat pumpkin in moderation, but it should be avoided.
Pumpkin is full of fiber and hedgehogs can get upset stomachs or diarrhea if they eat pumpkin.
So it is not essentially toxic but is not harmless either. Especially near winter when it is time to hibernate, diarrhea can cause severe nutrient loss and become fatal for the hedgehog.
Although a little pumpkin is okay for an adult, if you want to keep a pumpkin slice for wild hedgehogs visiting you, we advise you to leave some good quality kitten biscuits instead. After all, you won’t want to harm an animal intentionally.
Please ask your veterinarian before giving any new food to your pet.
Are pumpkin seeds safe for hedgehogs?
No, pumpkin seeds are not safe to feed either. Similar to many other fruit seeds, pumpkin seeds can also stick in the throat and cause choking. It is advised to remove any kind of seeds before giving a treat to hedgehogs.
You may add seeds only if the seeds are peeled of a hard shell or crushed into powder.
When is feeding pumpkin not harmful?
Pumpkin in a moderate amount can be fed to relieve constipation. We know that pumpkin is not exactly ideal for hedgehogs, but under such circumstances, it can end up quite helpful.
Hedgehogs can easily get an upset stomach because of depressive circumstances, especially when their environment changes, for example, if you stay away for a long time.
People have even used pumpkin for distressed, constipated hedgehogs. Even if it is needed, always give a teeny tiny amount. Remember the tiny stomach they have!
How to feed pumpkin to your pet?
Generally, hedgehogs will eat pumpkin easily. But if your pet doesn’t seem to like it here are some options you can use:
- Make a smooth puree and pour it on top of the usual food you give.
- You can also steam prepare small cubes but avoid any type of seasoning or butter.
- Pumpkin baby food and canned pumpkin are also good options.
Things to remember
Always wash any fruit or vegetable you want to give to your pet. The dirt may have some microorganisms that can cause harm.
Use small portions
These small creatures have even smaller stomachs, so only a teaspoon of food will be enough for them at a time. Be especially careful with pumpkin because high quantities can pose more risks than benefits.
Always make sure the food you are offering is free of any pesticides. These chemicals pose a serious danger to the already threatened population of hedgehogs.
Not for baby hoglets
Pumpkin is not advised for baby hedgehogs, also called hoglets. They can get sick with a slight change in diet.
Always check with your veterinarian before adding new food to their diet.
Make sure that fresh water is always available, they need more water during the warm summertime.
Good snack foods
Hedgehogs are insect eaters that feed on garden insects and slugs, but a small portion of their diet includes fruits or other plants.
Ideally, the hedgehog diet should contain
- Protein 22-35%
- Fat 5-15%
- Fiber 2-15%
Hedgehogs have a really strong sense of smell. They roam more than 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) each night for food. With a boom in the farming area and a jungle of residence, it can become difficult to find food.
You can leave small treats for these cute creatures, especially in the hibernating season when hedgehogs need to gain weight to provide for the next 5-6 months.
We have a list of snacks for hedgehogs:
The primary source of food for hedgehogs is insects. You can easily get dead or dehydrated insects from any pet food store.
Please don’t try to catch worms from your lawn to feed your pet. You won’t know if they have any pesticide contaminations.
Also, because mealworms are highly addictive for hogs avoid frequent feeding. 3- 4 times a week is enough.
A small amount of turkey or chicken food is good occasionally. Give tiny pieces as they can’t chew large chunks.
Avoid red meat. Most hedgehogs are not a fan of fish because it is hard to digest. If your pet likes fish, try some cooked salmon or tuna-based food.
- Green pepper
Most hedgehogs have a sweet tooth, so they enjoy fruits like:
Remember to remove seeds from berries and skins where appropriate.
Foods to avoid giving your hedgehog
Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so milk is a big no-no. Although a tiny amount of cheese can be given on rare occasions.
Traditionally people kept bread outside for birds and animals, but bread is not suitable for hedgehogs. Similar to pumpkin, it can also cause bloating and gastric distress.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies that are hard and have high fiber content are not suitable for hedgehogs.
You should avoid:
- Canned meat
- Sugary food
Leave out any sugary, high-carb content. It can cause tooth decay and may cause many digestive issues.
What do baby hedgehogs eat?
Hedgehogs are mammals, so the mother feeds babies their milk. Hoglets usually feed on milk for 6 weeks. In the wild, they leave their mother’s nest in six weeks and start eating like adult hedgehogs.
If you have a baby hoglet with a mother, let it feed on mother’s milk only. Don’t ever try to substitute with cow or other milk. They cannot digest that.
Pumpkins and wild hedgehogs
A trend has appeared in recent years that people leave their Jack-o’-lantern pumpkins in their yards for wild animals to eat. The British Hedgehog Society suggests hanging your pumpkin for birds or squirrels to eat but not in reach of hedgehogs. This way you can both preserve and feed wildlife.