You will see many recommendations out there for feeding your hedgehog. However, we would like you to stick to this plan, at least until your baby is fully established in your home. It is a very solid high protein diet, and our hogs have done very well on it for years.
- Natural Balance L.I.D. cat food (Chicken or Duck Formula)
- 40-50 watt nocturnal heat lamp. The bulb will be red. You can easily find this in the reptile section of any major pet chain. Please maintain a minimum temperature of 75 degrees F
- Plain flavored pedialyte. 50/50 water/pedialyte to help with stress and dehydration. Remember runny green tinged stool is normal, and should clear up in within a couple of weeks. Please contact us if there is no improvement in that time.
- Gerber toddler meat sticks are a convenient alternative to cooking the chicken or turkey. One meat stick, half a hard boiled egg and a couple tofu cubes with a teaspoon of mixed veggies is a good meal for one baby. Dice everything as small as you can.
1. Feed dry mix daily. Start with about 2 Tbs. If the hedgehog is eating it all, simply adjust the portion. Our mix is a chicken based high protein cat food, combined with dried meal worms. The worms can be purchased at www.exoticnutrition.com, if you want to blend it yourself it is simple.
* 2 parts cat food
* 1 part dried worms
This is the base diet and again will be given daily.
2. The perishable diet is very important for the health and longevity of your new hedgehog. These foods are given every other day on a separate dish from the dry.
- 1 Tbs. protein. To keep it simple we recommend 1 or a combination of the following.
Chopped hard boiled egg or Tofu (tofu stores easily and can be purchased cubed, making it quite convenient). or shredded white meat chicken (Please do not spice the chicken in any way as this may cause intestinal upset.
- 1 Tbs. fresh fruit or vegetables. Hedgehogs can be picky about these so keep it simple. Apples, bananas, pears, sweet potatoes (chopped small) are the first things to try, also the standard frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, beans) can also be used. Most hedgies like banana, so hiding the other stuff in the taste of the banana is a good trick for picky eaters.
Remember that a baby hedgehogs palate will change as he or she matures. Simply put, just because they do not eat it the first few times that it is given, does not mean they will never like it. Please be persistent, as these foods are very good for the complete health of your pet. If the hedgehog seems to be doing well on these foods you can try adding some fresh berries or melon. (Please do not ever give citrus fruits).
1 tsp. fresh natural yogurt or cottage cheese. Please keep the portion at one teaspoon, as too much dairy is not good. Plain flavored yogurt is the recommendation, and by natural we basically mean no artificial sweeteners. Most better brands are labeled 100% natural. As for the cottage cheese, the hedgie will generally prefer this over the yogurt. Please start with 4% milkfat cottage cheese, as the baby needs the extra calories to grow. At about 5-6 months of age, start using the 1% milkfat so they do not put on extra weight as adults.
That is it for the perishable portion of the diet. Remember that your animal is nocturnal, so it is a good idea to give these foods in the early evening and remove any uneaten portions in the morning.
3. You can always supplement their diet with live insects. After all this is what they would naturally be eating. Mealworms and crickets are easily purchased at most pet stores. You can also buy Superworms, large cockroaches, and other bugs. Local reptile shows are a good place to find bugs. Remember if you take insects from the outside, there is a possibility that they have come in contact with chemical herbicides or pesticides that can be harmful to your pet.
If you follow this diet, you should have a healthy, happy pet.
Please be sure to keep your hedgehog at a minimum temperature of 72F. We actually recommend 75-80F. This is the number 1 reason that new hedgies have problems, so if you need to add a heating pad or heat lamp to boost that temp. Do it!
Also you may be tempted to try different types of bedding for your hedgehog, we recommend pine or aspen shavings. (Never Cedar). Please keep the bedding clean and dry at all times.
A Good exercise wheel is recommended. We like the Wodent Wheel, with sandpaper insert. This can be purchased directly from exoticnutrition.com . You will need the 12 inch wheel. The sandpaper insert is used about 1 week of each month to keep nails trimmed neatly. Excessive use of the sandpaper liner can damage the pads of a hedgehogs feet, so you will want to switch to the regular insert for 3 weeks each month.