What Can African Pygmy Hedgehogs Eat? List of 48 food options


Pygmy hedgehog next to list of things they can eat

Being able to check on a list to see what an African Pygmy Hedgehog can eat, makes it easier to pick the right types of food. Providing a balanced diet and avoiding any potential health issues is a must with pygmy hedgehogs.

What can African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat? African Pygmy hedgehogs can eat a wide variety of food from different types of cat food, vegetables, fruit, insects like mealworms, along with meats, especially lean meats like chicken to turkey, scrambled to boiled eggs. Food that is low in fat with a good balance of protein is ideal.

With any new food, it’s always best to try to introduce a small amount first and monitor the African Pygmy Hedgehog’s health over the following days. This will allow time to see if the food is agreeable or not, usually, if diarrhoea is experienced or very dry poops occur then the food should not be used at all.

Check out my African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat list in the table below, along with important additional information.

#Food Additional Information
1 Dry cat biscuits Dry cat biscuits should be an African Pygmy Hedgehogs main source of food.
The indoor varieties of dry cat biscuits have less fat and a good amount of protein, making them ideal for pygmy hedgehogs.
2 Wet Cat food Wet cat food (canned cat food) can also be given to pygmy hedgehogs but only in moderation. Wet cat food doesn’t have balanced nutritional content to be used as the main source of food.
3 Cat biscuit treats Cat biscuit treats are dry cat biscuits but with a much higher fat content. These should only to be given in moderation. We use this type of cat biscuits as occasional treats for our pygmy hedgehog.
4 Mealworms Mealworms provide chitin to help a pygmy hedgehog’s quills stay healthy. However, mealworms should only be given in moderation as they can damage pygmy hedgehog bones by upsetting their calcium to phosphorous ratio[2]. A couple of mealworms a week should be ample enough.
To avoid impaction[1] try not to feed too many mealworms at any one time, try to spread out the feeding.
WARNING: You should never use wild-caught mealworms, as these can contain pesticides and/or parasites.
5 Superworms Superworms are larger worms and look like mealworms on steroids. They are typically five times the size of mealworms. They have more chitin as they have more of a shell. They should only be given in moderation as they can upset the pygmy hedgehog’s calcium to phosphorous ratio[2].
To avoid impaction[1] try not to feed too many superworms at any one time, try to spread out the feeding.
WARNING: Superworms can bite and use their head spike to sting pygmy hedgehogs. Do not use wild-caught superworms.
6 Waxworms Waxworms are caterpillar larvae and have a considerable fat content so should only be fed in moderation as they can upset the calcium to phosphorous ration in pygmy hedgehogs[2].
To avoid impaction[1] try not to feed too many waxworms at any one time, try to spread out the feeding.
WARNING: You should never use wild-caught caterpillar larvae such as waxworms, as these can contain pesticides and/or parasites.
7 Crickets Crickets provide chitin to help a pygmy hedgehog’s quills stay healthy. They are lower in fat than other insect options and could be given in moderation every few days[2].
To avoid impaction[1] try not to feed too many crickets at any one time, try to spread out the feeding.
WARNING: You should never use wild-caught crickets, as these can contain pesticides and/or parasites.
8 Grasshoppers Grasshoppers provide a source of chitin that’s beneficial to pygmy hedgehogs quill health[2].
To avoid impaction[1] try not to feed too many grasshoppers at any one time, try to spread out the feeding.
WARNING: You should never use wild-caught grasshoppers, as these can contain pesticides and/or parasites.
9 Cockroaches Cockroaches that have been bred for feeding to reptiles can also be used but may be difficult to source. Cockroaches have more protein and less fat than other insects[2].
To avoid impaction[1] try not to feed too many cockroaches at any one time, try to spread out the feeding.
WARNING: You should never use wild-caught cockroaches, as these can contain pesticides and/or parasites.
10 Chicken We serve roast chicken to our pygmy hedgehog. We remove the skin (skin contains a lot of fat) and cook the chicken without seasoning, oils or butter. After it’s cooled down to room temperature, we cut the chicken into small pieces for our pygmy hedgehog to eat. WARNING: Do not give pygmy hedgehogs any raw meat including chicken.
11 Turkey We have served roast turkey to our pygmy hedgehog (at Christmas). We removed the skin (skin contains a lot of fat) and cooked the turkey without seasoning, oils or butter. After the turkey cooled down to room temperature, we cut the turkey into small pieces for our pygmy hedgehog to eat.
WARNING: Do not give pygmy hedgehogs any raw meat including turkey.
12 Duck Duck can be served to pygmy hedgehogs but duck meat can be quite fattening. Remove the skin (skin contains a lot of fat) and cook the duck without seasoning, oils or butter. After it’s cooled down to room temperature, cut the duck into small pieces for your pygmy hedgehog to eat.
WARNING: Do not give pygmy hedgehogs any raw meat including duck.
13 Pork Pork is very fatty and should only be served in moderation. Remove the skin (skin contains a lot of fat) and any visible fat (white areas) and cook the pork without seasoning, oils or butter. After it’s cooled down to room temperature, cut the pork into small pieces for your pygmy hedgehog to eat.
WARNING: Do not give pygmy hedgehogs any raw meat including pork.
14 Beef Beef is fatty and should only be served in moderation. Remove any visible fat and cook the beef without seasoning, oils or butter. After it’s cooled down to room temperature, cut the beef into small pieces for your pygmy hedgehog to eat.
WARNING: Do not give pygmy hedgehogs any raw meat including beef.
15 Lamb Lamb and Mutton are fatty meats and should only be served in moderation. Remove any visible fat and cook the lamb or mutton without seasoning, oils or butter. After it’s cooled down to room temperature, cut the lamb or mutton into small pieces for your pygmy hedgehog to eat.
WARNING: Be careful with mutton and other tougher meats as they can be difficult for the pygmy hedgehog to break down and could become a choking hazard. Do not give pygmy hedgehogs any raw meat including lamb or mutton.
16 Eggs We hard boil, poach or sometimes scramble eggs without seasoning, oils or butter. After the egg has cooled down to room temperature, we serve the white parts (not the yellow or orange yolk) by cutting into small pieces.
WARNING: Do not give raw eggs to pygmy hedgehogs as there is a salmonella risk.
17 Apples We use organically sourced apples as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash the apples first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces). Apples contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
18 Pears We use organically sourced pears as these will have fewer pesticides on them. Wash the pears first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Pears contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
19 Bananas We use organically sourced bananas as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Cut the banana piece into even small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Bananas contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Do not give them the black end part of the banana or any of the banana skin.
20 Strawberries We use organically sourced strawberries as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash strawberries first, and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Strawberries contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
21 Blueberries We use organically sourced blueberries as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash blueberries first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Blueberries contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
22 Blackberries We use organically sourced blackberries as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash blackberries first and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Blackberries contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
23 Raspberries We use organically sourced raspberries as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash raspberries first and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Raspberries contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
24 Watermelon We use organically sourced watermelon as this will have fewer pesticides on them.
Cut the watermelon fleshy part into smaller pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Watermelon contains sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
25 Cantaloupe We use organically sourced cantaloupe as this will have fewer pesticides on them.
Cut the cantaloupe fleshy part into smaller pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Cantaloupe contains sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
26 Honeydew Melon We use organically sourced Honeydew melon as this will have fewer pesticides on them.
Cut the Honeydew melon’s fleshy part into smaller pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Honeydew melon contains sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
27 Plums We use organically sourced plums as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash plums first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces). Do not serve the stone.
Plums contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
28 Mangoes We use organically sourced mangoes as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash mangoes first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Mangoes contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds and stones before serving.
29 Cherries We use organically sourced cherries as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash cherries first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Cherries contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds and stones before serving.
30 Kiwi Fruit We use organically sourced Kiwi fruit as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash Kiwi fruit first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Kiwi fruit contains sugar, so should only be served in moderation.
Remove any seeds and stones before serving.
31 Peaches We use organically sourced peaches as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash peaches first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Peaches contain sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds and stones before serving.
32 Papaya We use organically sourced papaya as this will have less pesticide residue.
Wash papaya first, then peel them and cut into small pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces). Only serve the fleshy parts.
Papaya contains sugar, so only be used in moderation.
Remove any seeds before serving.
33 Carrots We use organically sourced carrots as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash the carrots to remove any pesticide residue.
Peel the carrots, cut them into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Cook the carrots without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
34 Courgettes We use organically sourced courgettes as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash the courgettes to remove any pesticide residue.
Peel the courgettes, cut into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Cook the courgettes without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
35 Zucchini We use organically sourced Zucchini as this will have fewer pesticide residues on them.
Wash the zucchini to remove any pesticide residue.
Peel the Zucchini, cut into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Cook the zucchini without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
36 Peppers We use organically sourced peppers as these will have fewer pesticide residues on them.
Cut into small pieces to make it easier for pygmy hedgehogs to eat (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
37 Leafy Greens We use organically sourced leafy greens as these will have fewer pesticides on them. Choose from:
– Arugula; 
– Swiss Chard;
– Bok Choi;
– Dandelions (not wild from a garden);
– Collard Greens;
– Micro Greens;
Cut the leafy greens into smaller pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
38 Broccoli We use organically sourced broccoli as this will have fewer pesticides on it.
Wash the broccoli to remove any pesticide residue.
Cook the broccoli without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Cut the Broccoli into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
39 Cucumber We use organically sourced cucumber as this will have fewer pesticides on it.
Wash and then peel the cucumber, cutting into small pieces for serving (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
40 Kale We use organically sourced Kale as this will have fewer pesticides on it.
Wash the Kale to remove any pesticide residue.
Cook the Kale without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Cut the Kale into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
41 Green Beans We use organically sourced green beans as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash the green beans to remove any pesticide residue.
Cook the green beans without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Cut the Green Beans into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
42 Butternut Squash We use organically sourced butternut squash as this will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash the butternut squash to remove any pesticide residue.
Cook the butternut squash without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Cut the Butternut Squash into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
43 Spinach We use organically sourced spinach as this will have fewer pesticides on it.
Wash the spinach to remove any pesticide residue.
Cook the spinach without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Cut the spinach into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
44 Lettuce Use the Romaine variety of lettuce as normal lettuce has very little nutrition.
Wash lettuce first thoroughly and cut into smaller pieces to serve (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
45 Cabbage We use organically sourced cabbage as this will have fewer pesticides on it.
Wash the cabbage to remove any pesticide residue.
Cook the cabbage without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Cut the cabbage into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
45 Swedes We use organically sourced swede as this will have fewer pesticides on it.
Wash the swedes to remove any pesticide residue.
Cook the swede without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Cut the swede into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
46 Asparagus We use organically sourced asparagus as these will have fewer pesticides on them.
Wash the asparagus to remove any pesticide residue.
Cook the asparagus without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Cut the asparagus into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
47 Pumpkin We use organically sourced pumpkin as this will have fewer pesticides on it.
Wash the pumpkin to remove any pesticide residue.
Cut the pumpkin flesh into small pieces and serve once it’s cooled down and reached room temperature (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Cook the pumpkin without using any seasoning, butter or oil.
Can cause a laxative effect, so be careful in the amounts fed.
48 Popcorn To be given only in moderation as popcorn is highly calorific and is total junk food to pygmy hedgehogs.
Popcorn has very limited nutritional value. Break the popcorn into smaller pieces (can be a choking hazard if not cut into small enough pieces).
Food choices for African Pygmy Hedgehogs

Impaction

[1]Impaction is when the food dries to cause a blockage in the digestive system, causing constipation. Usually, the impaction can remedy itself, by breaking loose but if this does not happen, impaction can become fatal to African Pygmy Hedgehogs and immediate veterinarian care will be required.

Calcium Loss

[2]Calcium loss also known as leaching, is a problem for African Pygmy Hedgehogs when the high phosphorous content of some foods, can combine with the calcium in the pygmy hedgehog’s body. This causes the calcium in the pygmy hedgehog’s bones to leach (be expelled in their urine and poop), resulting in potential bone problems.

Seeds and Stones

Anything in the food that can cause choking must be removed including seeds and stones. African Pygmy Hedgehogs aren’t rodents so are not able to gnaw and break down seeds.

Related Questions:

What can’t African Pygmy Hedgehogs eat list? Grapes, raisins, onions, celery, oranges to name a few are toxic to African Pygmy Hedgehogs and should be avoided.

Can pygmy hedgehogs eat bananas? Yes, pygmy hedgehogs can eat bananas but only in moderation as bananas are high in sugar. Bananas should only be served occasionally as a treat to supplement their diet.

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.

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