What Fruit Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs Eat? 5 safe choices


Pygmy hedgehog sitting on top of a bunch of bananas

Giving African Pygmy Hedgehogs a varied diet is important and fruit can provide additional nutrients to help keep these types of hedgehog healthy. We researched the safest and the healthiest fruits we could provide our hedgehog.

What fruit can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat? African Pygmy Hedgehogs can eat fruit like apples, pears, bananas, melons like watermelon and certain berries like blueberries and strawberries but any fruit should only be given in moderation as the high natural sugar content of fruit could end up causing weight gain and diseases like diabetes.

Any fruit should be verified by a vet as being suitable and we have only introduced different fruits after having a conversation with our local vet. Please also check out my list of what foods are safe for African Pygmy hedgehogsOpens in a new tab..

Here’s a list of the 5 fruits African Pygmy Hedgehogs can eat safely:

1. Apples

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Apples? African Pygmy hedgehogs can eat apples and our pygmy hedgehog only eats apples in moderation, as the high sugar content of apples like most fruits could cause him to gain weight. Sugar even natural sugar has a high calorific value and in small amounts natural sugar is fine.

Apples

When we give our hedgehog apples, we first remove the skin, as this may be difficult for them to digest and then we cut the apple into small pieces. This helps in ensuring the risk of choking is minimized and he can safely eat the apple.

2. Pears

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Pears? Yes, we have given our hedgehog small pieces of pear, taking care to remove the skin of any pieces given. We also cut the pear into smaller pieces to make it easier for our hedgehog to bite into so minimizing on any choking hazard.

Pears

We only give our hedgehog pears in moderation as pears have natural sugar and by giving him too much can lead to obesity and diabetes risk.

3. Bananas

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Bananas? African Pygmy hedgehogs can eat bananas. Small pieces of banana are recommended in moderation only, as like with apples and pears, the high sugar content of bananas could cause weight gain and obesity.

We’re careful not to give him the end of the banana, which is like some sort of seed and maybe toxic or more probable a choking hazard. 

Bananas

We only give him pieces of banana under our supervision as we realised it can cause false alarms if you leave the banana in his food bowl. Which is exactly what we did when we first started giving him bananas, we left a small piece in his food tray. 

The next day when we checked on him, we thought he’d developed some skin disease overnight as his skin on his legs looked like it had gone all crusty. 

Fortunately, we realised in double quick time, the little guy’s legs were covered in banana and this had dried up making it look painful but a quick wash later, the banana residue was removed completely and he looked fine. This is why we only ever give him banana under supervision when we take him out of the cage and put him on the fleece mat. 

The ripeness of bananas is also important as overripe bananas will have more sugary content and under-ripe bananas will be difficult to digest. In fact, I tend to eat under-ripe bananas as they are a good source of resistant starch acting more as fibre than carbohydrate but am unsure if this would be good for hedgehogs though.

4. Berries

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Berries? Yes. every now and again we give our hedgehog blueberries but we remove the skin first as a precaution to reduce the risk of choking and minimizing any chemicals sprayed onto the blueberries (this is probably habit for us and doesn’t necessarily mean the skin protects the chemicals from being absorbed into the berry).

Removing the skin from blueberries is a tricky task in itself as these types of berries are quite delicate. 

Berries

We’ve also given our hedgehog blackberries and raspberries on the rare occasion and he’s enjoyed these too. It is widely believed cranberries are also acceptable for hedgehogs but we haven’t given him any cranberries. 

Organic berries 

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Organic berries? Yes, we try to use organic berries (as long as they are suitable for African Pygmy Hedgehogs) as they should have fewer chemicals sprayed onto them but this may not necessarily be the case.

Many supermarkets may have different definitions of what organic means. So we try to use the same supermarket with a high reputation for honesty for any fruit we buy not just for our hedgehog but also for the rest of the family. 

Too many chemicals sprayed onto berries to make them last longer by preserving them and stopping them from prematurely going off but these chemicals may do very little harm on humans but that may not be the case with small animals like pygmy hedgehogs.

As a small number of chemicals in our larger bodies is probably insignificant but in a smaller body like a pygmy hedgehog may mean the chemical is able to exhibit more of its toxic abilities.

Washing berries doesn’t necessarily mean any pesticide residues will be washed off as most of the pesticide ends up seeping into the berry. Neither does peeling other fruits also reduce the pesticides in the fruit.  

Wild berries

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Wild berries? No, even though in the wild, African Pygmy Hedgehogs may eat wild berries as part of their diet but a wild hedgehog is different from a hedgehog in captivity being kept as a pet. Wild berries are not a good idea as these may be poisonous to hedgehogs, they may also be poisonous to humans.

Without knowing exactly what the wild berry is, means we could be risking our hedgehog’s life and we simply don’t want to do that.  

Wild berries may also contain insects and bacterial microbes that can be harmful to hedgehogs. Insects like mites are not good for hedgehogs and could be passed on from wild berries, causing them health problems.

Dried berries

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Dried berries? No, as dried berries generally have some form of preservative added to make sure the berry doesn’t decay and these preservatives in themselves can be problematic to hedgehogs.

By drying berries water is removed and this increases the level of sugar by weight of the berry, so a similar weight of dried berries may contain twice the amount of sugar of a comparable non-dried berry. This excess sugar is not good for hedgehogs over a prolonged period of time as it can be a factor in them becoming diabetic.

Dried berries are quite sticky when eaten and unlike dried cat biscuits which hedgehogs can break into smaller pieces and eat, the stickiness of dried berries can be a problem if they get stuck in their throats. 

5. Melon

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Melon? Yes, we feed our hedgehog watermelon occasionally but take care to cut it into very small pieces to make it easier to eat. We haven’t tried other varieties of melon-like Honeydew and Cantaloupe. 

Melon

Do keep in mind the natural sugar content of melons makes them sweet so they need to be given as a rare treat.

Can hedgehogs eat strawberries?

Strawberries are neither a berry or a fruit but are actually part of a flower, the rose family to be exact and provide many health benefits. I decided to check out if they would be beneficial to hedgehogs as part of their diet.

Can hedgehogs eat strawberries? Strawberries are an excellent choice for hedgehogs to eat because they are deceptively sweet, without containing as much natural sugar as other fruits. Hedgehogs can eat more strawberries than other fruits, without them affecting their health, as other fruits could do.

Strawberries contain less natural sugarOpens in a new tab. than some other fruits but taste a lot sweeter and this is good for hedgehogs. As it allows them to eat more strawberries without them affecting their blood glucose levels in the way a fruit like a blueberry would. As the blueberry has more natural sugar but yet doesn’t taste sweeter than the strawberry.

Pygmy hedgehog near a strawberry
Strawberries

I tend to slice the strawberries and remove the seed covered sides and then slice again into smaller pieces. These pieces are then cut into smaller manageable chunks, thereby reducing any risk of choking.

Pygmy hedgehog eating small piece of strawberry
Pygmy hedgehog eating small piece of strawberry

I avoid strawberries that become mushy, as these have lost their water content. Strawberries with mold on them and those that have darkened are avoided too, as the cells in the strawberry are breaking down and leading to fermentation.

For us humans, the health benefits of strawberries have been widely acclaimed from helping with cholesterol by increasing good HDL cholesterol, protecting cardio-vascular health particularly the heart including helping lower blood pressure to being able to provide some protection against cancer.

I would assume the same holds true for pygmy hedgehogs and their health as they would also be in line for the health benefits strawberries provide. Strawberries are a good source of essential vitamins, particularly high levels of vitamin C, they also contain polyphenols, which are antioxidants, helping to neutralize free radicals in the body that could otherwise do harm.

On the whole, strawberries are primarily composed of water, around 90%, providing an excellent source of hydration for hedgehogs. The rest of the strawberry is composed of carbohydrates, around 8%, with less than 1% protein and even less fat, around 0.4%.

Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat Grapes?

No, absolutely not. Grapes can be toxic to hedgehogs. They can cause damage to their organs including renal (kidney) and liver damage. Watch out for videos or articles which says it’s fine or it’s fine in moderation, this is misinformation and we ignore the information portrayed in these videos and articles and play it safe. 

Grapes are dangerous

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Oranges?

No, absolutely not. Citrus fruits like oranges, limes and lemons can be acidic and therefore not suitable for hedgehogs. As the mild acidity can lead to digestive issues it’s not a good idea and over a prolonged period, it could do damage to the hedgehog’s digestive tract. The discomfort and pain citrus fruits acidity can cause to hedgehogs is not worth putting them through. 

Oranges and Citrus fruits are dangerous

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Avocados?

No, absolutely not. There are many sources that advocate eating Avocados as safe for hedgehogs. I’ve seen some YouTube videos where people have said this but believe me, I would never feed a pygmy hedgehog Avocados as the risk is too great. I’d rather be safe than sorry and avoid Avocados completely.

Avocado is dangerous

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Raisins?

No, absolutely not. Raisins can be toxic to hedgehogs. They can cause damage to their organs including renal (kidney) and liver damage.

Raisins are very dangerous

Raisins should be avoided at all costs, as they are quite sticky when eaten, so there is a risk of raisins ending up getting stuck in the hedgehog’s mouth or throat

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Pineapple?

No, pineapples are quite acidic resulting in potentials digestive issues for hedgehogs. Pineapples are also high in sugar and could result in pushing hedgehogs into obesity and diabetes.

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Plums?

We haven’t given our hedgehog plums but we would speak to our vet first to see if they were fine for our hedgehog to eat. Many hedgehog websites across the internet advocate plums being safe for pygmy hedgehogs. 

If we did decide to give our hedgehog plums we would wash them, remove their skin and cut them into smaller pieces first.  

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Mangoes?

We haven’t given our hedgehog mangoes but we would speak to our vet first to see if they were fine for our hedgehog to eat. Many hedgehog websites across the internet advocate mangoes being safe for pygmy hedgehogs. 

If we gave our hedgehog mangoes we would wash them, remove their skin and cut them into smaller pieces first.  

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Cherries?

We haven’t given our hedgehog cherries but we would speak to our vet first to see if they were fine for our hedgehog to eat. Many hedgehog websites across the internet advocate cherries being safe for pygmy hedgehogs. 

If we gave our hedgehog cherries we would wash them, remove their skin, make sure the stone of the cherry is removed and cut the cherry into smaller pieces first.  

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Kiwi fruit?

We haven’t given our hedgehog kiwi fruit but we would speak to our vet first to see if they were fine for our hedgehog to eat. Many hedgehog websites across the internet advocate peaches being safe for pygmy hedgehogs. 

If we gave our hedgehog kiwi fruit we would wash the fruit, remove their skin and cut the fruit into smaller pieces first.

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Peaches?

We haven’t given our hedgehog peaches but we would speak to our vet first to see if they were fine for our hedgehog to eat. Many hedgehog websites across the internet advocate peaches being safe for pygmy hedgehogs. 

If we gave our hedgehog peaches we would wash them, remove their skin, remove any stones and cut the peaches into smaller pieces first.  

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat Papaya?

We haven’t given our hedgehog papaya fruit but we would speak to our vet first to see if they were fine for our hedgehog to eat. Many hedgehog websites across the internet advocate papaya being safe for pygmy hedgehogs.

If we gave our hedgehog papaya we would wash them, remove their skin and cut them into smaller pieces first.  

Can African Pygmy hedgehogs eat dried fruit?

Dried fruit needs to have some form of preservative added to make sure the fruit doesn’t decay naturally and it’s these preservatives themselves which can be problematic to hedgehogs.

These preservatives could be toxic and overtime the toxicity levels of these preservatives may build up in hedgehogs causing health issues. We tend to avoid dried fruits completely.

By drying fruit, the water content is removed completely and this increases the level of sugar by weight of the fruit, so a similar weight of dried fruit may contain twice the amount of sugar of a comparable non-dried fruit by weight.

This in effect is concentrating the sugar content by drying the fruit and this excess sugar is not good for hedgehogs. Over a period of time, the excess sugar can become a factor in them becoming obese and potentially diabetic.

Dried fruit is quite sticky when eaten as it combines with the hedgehog’s saliva. Unlike dried cat biscuits which hedgehogs can break into smaller pieces and eat, the stickiness of dried fruit can be a problem if the stick fruit gets stuck especially in their throats. 

African Pygmy Hedgehog Good fruit list

I’ve created a fruit list of what we give our hedgehog, with the fruits listed not having caused any issues with our hedgehog. It’s important to understand what is good for our hedgehog may not be good for yours, so when you do introduce any new fruit or food item, you do it under the supervision and make absolutely sure it isn’t detrimental to the hedgehog’s health.

For example, if you give your hedgehog small pieces of a fruit and notice their poop isn’t dried out solid pieces but is more diarrhoea like then remove the food in question and do not introduce anything else that’s different from their usual diet until their diarrhoea has stopped and medical advice from a vet has been sought. 

Remember to also take precautions against any choking hazard by trying to cut the food into smaller digestible pieces. Try using organic fruit and washing the fruit in just water, along with peeling any skin before giving it to hedgehogs.

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • WaterMelon

African Pygmy Hedgehog Bad fruit list

I’ve created a fruit list of what we won’t give our hedgehog, with the fruits listed is what we think is toxic and damaging to the health of not only our hedgehog but any hedgehog. 

It is highly advisable to seek the advice of your pet’s vet to make sure any fruit you are thinking of giving your hedgehog is safe. 

  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Avocados
  • Pineapple
  • Oranges 
  • Lemons
  • Limes 

High pesticide fruits

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG)[1] releases a list of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides. I’ve listed some of the fruits suitable for pygmy hedgehogs in the order they appear on the EWG list below:

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears

It’s important to try to source organic varieties of these fruits as the pesticide content should be lower. Whilst washing or peeling might not necessarily get rid of all the pesticides, this may help in reducing the level of pesticides.

Low pesticide fruits

The Environmental Working Group (EWG)[2] also produce a list of what it considers lower pesticide fruit and vegetables. I’ve listed some of the fruit suitable for pygmy hedgehogs in the order they appear on the EWG list below:

  • Papaya*
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew Melon

Again it’s still wise to try and source an organic variety of these vegetables and wash them thoroughly before serving them.

*In the USA a small amount of papaya is made from genetically modified seeds. EWG’s advice here is to try to buy the organic varieties.

Conclusion

My daughter spent a lot of time researching what fruit was good for pygmy hedgehogs and what fruit should be avoided as it could be toxic to pygmy hedgehogs. Hopefully with the 5 safe foods, it will be easier to give some fruit goodness without worrying about any side effects.

Related Questions

What vegetables can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat?Opens in a new tab. We normally give our hedgehog small pieces of cooked carrot. Other cooked vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and asparagus can also be a good choice for hedgehogs.

What size cage does an African Pygmy Hedgehog need? At a minimum, a cage which 3 feet x 2 feet (90cm x 60cm) is recommended but ideally something bigger at 4-foot x 2 foot (120cm x 60cm) is a better choice.

[1] https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.phpOpens in a new tab.

[2] https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean-fifteen.phpOpens in a new tab.

Bal Kang

Hi I'm Bal together with my daughter Jinnee, we've created this website about African Pygmy Hedgehogs. We've learnt a lot looking after our hedgehog Hynee and share our knowledge, tips and tricks.

Recent Content