It is okay to want to try out human food with your hedgehog – they are omnivores just like us.
Nonetheless, you must be cautious in doing this. While we both feed on plant and animal matter, hedgehogs are a bit more sensitive than we are.
So, if you want to give them some of your food, verify that they it won’t harm them.
Can hedgehogs eat rice? Hedgehogs can eat rice given that the rice is cooked and plain, meaning it is cooked without oil, seasoning, or salt.
While this type of rice is okay for hedgehogs, it is not ideal.
The nutritional content of rice does not measure up to what is required in the meal of a hedgehog.
So, if rice alone is offered as the mainstay meal of a hedgehog, it will become sick from malnourishment.
In the rest of this post, we discuss the types of rice your hedgehog can eat, the risks associated with rice, and some other things you should know about hedgehogs and rice.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Rice?
If you prepare rice without seasoning, salt, oil, or any other ingredient, hedgehogs can eat it.
However, it is best to restrict the amount of rice you give your hedgehog.
Hedgehogs require certain nutrients in their diet, especially protein and fat.
The protein and fat in a hedgehog’s diet must be present in a specific ratio. Their diet should have around 20-50% protein and about 10-15% fat.
Rice does not contain enough protein or fat to match the requirement above.
So, it should not dominate their diet or the hedgehog may become malnourished and sick.
When giving rice to your hedgehog, the best way is to mix it with other food items.
The food items to be served with the rice should contain the ideal protein-to-fat ratio for hedgehogs. So, you may mix the rice with cat food, or lean meat such as chicken or liver.
This way, the additive will make up for the nutritional shortfalls of rice.
Also, ensure the rice is soft. The softer the rice, the easier it is for the hedgehog to chew, and the lower the risk of choking.
As with the rice, the lean meat to be added should contain no salt, seasoning, or any other ingredient.
The cat food should also contain no ingredient that may be harmful to hedgehogs.
Make sure not to give your hedgehog kitten food; it contains way more fat than hedgehogs need.
Types of Rice Hedgehogs Can Eat
As you already know, there are different types of rice, and each of them has differing nutritional contents.
So, let us see which of the types of rice hedgehogs can eat.
Hedgehogs can eat white rice as long as it is prepared with no salt, seasoning, or ingredients.
White rice comes from brown rice that has had its husk, bran, and germ removed so it does not contain as much nutrients as brown rice.
Therefore, you should restrict how much of it you give your hedgehog.
Hedgehogs can eat brown rice given that it contains no salt, oil, seasoning, or any other ingredient.
Brown rice contains more nutrients than white rice.
At the same time, brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice. Arsenic is an inorganic compound that can cause cancer when consumed.
When consumed in moderate amounts, the quantity of arsenic in brown rice is too small to affect humans.
However, considering the small size of hedgehogs, this might not apply to them similarly. So, while hedgehogs can eat brown rice, ensure you give it to them in small quantities.
Besides giving them small quantities of brown rice, ensure you cook it with a lot of water.
Arsenic is soluble in water, so the more water you use, the more you dilute and extract the arsenic out of the rice.
One of the best types of rice you can give your hedgehog is basmati rice.
For one, it has a nutty, aromatic flavor that makes it more enjoyable. It also has some of the lowest levels of arsenic amongst the various types of rice.
This is especially true for white basmati rice from India, California, and Pakistan.
It is estimated that rice from these sources has about 66% less arsenic than brown rice from other sources.
As with any other type of rice, basmati rice should be given to hedgehogs without seasoning. It may be mixed with lean meat or any other ideal hedgehog food for more nutrients.
Hedgehogs can also eat jasmine rice as long as it is without seasoning.
Jasmine rice is nutty and aromatic too, but a bit more than basmati rice.
Risks of Eating Rice
Our emphasis on giving hedgehogs limited amounts of rice is not without reason.
For one, rice cannot be the mainstay meal of a hedgehog. It does not contain the amount of protein and fat that hedgehogs need. If you give them too much rice, they will not have the appetite to feed on their ideal meal.
This will ultimately push them towards malnutrition and a hedgehog suffering from malnutrition may die if not well cared for.
Besides malnutrition, giving hedgehogs large amounts of rice can make them obese.
Hedgehogs are prone to obesity, and since rice is mainly carbohydrate, it just might make them fatter.
There is also the risk of arsenic toxicity. Rice that is grown in soil contaminated with arsenic will contain some arsenic.
This is so because rice absorbs arsenic easier than other crops.
Arsenic is potentially toxic to hedgehogs if consumed in large amounts. So, if you let your hedgehog eat too much rice, it just might become affected.
Therefore, limited amounts of rice prepared in a lot of water is best for hedgehogs.
Rice to be fed to hedgehogs should be cooked until soft.
If not soft enough, the hedgehog will have a hard time chewing and swallowing. The rice may even get stuck in its teeth, or it might choke from it.
In the absence of oil, salt, seasoning, and other ingredients, rice is okay for hedgehogs.
But you can make it even better by adding some unseasoned lean meat like liver, turkey, or chicken.
For ease and safety, ensure the rice you give your hedgehog is soft and cook it with plenty enough water.