Can Hedgehogs Eat Mint Leaves? (Must-Know Tips)


Herbs are a healthy addition to the human diet, and, if you own a pet, you would equally want them to benefit from herbs. Most hedgehog owners’ are worried about food and respiratory poisoning, and many will not expose their pets to anything they are not sure about. Whether your hedgehog can eat mint leaves or not, we understand it is a concern that requires your attention.

So, can hedgehogs eat mint leaves? Hedgehogs can eat mint leaves, and it is safe to provide these leaves to them. These herbs are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C. They also contain healthy calcium and iron beneficial to your pet’s health. However, due to their low protein and calorie content, you should provide these leaves as garnishes rather than the main meal. Your hedgehog is also likely to get tired of chewing the leaves; therefore, providing too many leaves will only result in wastage.

If you want to know whether hedgehogs can eat mint leaves, this is the ultimate guide for you. We will help you understand whether peppermint is bad for hedgehogs, whether hedgehogs like the smell of peppermint, if lavender and tree oil is toxic to your pet, and whether hedgehogs can eat them. Read through this article to find out all the answers you need.

Is Peppermint Bad for Hedgehogs?

Owning a hedgehog may end up attracting unwanted creatures such as rats. These creatures will come around to feed on the leftover food from your pet’s enclosure. While you may want to poison the rats, doing this can be dangerous, which is why a natural remedy such as peppermint is necessary.

Peppermint is not bad for hedgehogs. On the contrary, this herb will help you keep rats at bay. Rats hate the smell of peppermint, and if you plant plenty of mint in your garden, you will eliminate the need for a cat to keep rats away.

You can also sprinkle some peppermint on entry holes in your pet’s enclosure to keep rats away. Spreading some peppermint around the food crate will also prevent rats from eating your pet’s leftover food.

Do Hedgehogs Like the Smell of Peppermint?

Warm weather causes an increase in pest and parasite infestation; hence, the need to control them. This season could also mean distress for your pet if you do not practice good husbandry.  Using natural means rather than commercial products will go a long way to controlling parasites on your hedgehog without causing side effects.

The peppermint smell is very strong, and your pet hedgehog may not like it so much if you use it in your diffuser. This is because of their sensitive sense of smell and this may cause distress as they may not only find the smell unbearable but may feel stressed as this smell may drown out their ability to smell other smells in their environment.

In some cases, hedgehogs may be able to tolerate the smell of peppermint when it is in the air in lower doses, given that they also anoint themselves with this smell to keep their predators at bay.

Besides its antipredator effect, peppermint has anti-pesticide properties and will protect your hedgehog from insect bites. This is especially the case if you are living in an area likely to be infested by ants. This smell can also calm your pet, freshen up their enclosure and kill bacteria and other microorganisms in the air.

Using peppermint to control parasites prevents the risk of allergies; this is because commercial chemicals have additional chemicals and preservatives. Using these chemicals to control parasites on your hedgehog will cause side effects such as tumors, skin irritation, respiratory distress, and gastrointestinal complications.

Is Lavender Toxic to Hedgehogs? Can They Eat Lavender, or Are They Allergic?

Little research is done on the effects of essential oils on hedgehogs. However, not all organic products are safe for your pets. Some of these products may cause allergic reactions, which could be fatal.

Lavender is nontoxic to hedgehogs and will not cause any effects on your pet if fed in small proportions. If you plan to introduce your hedgehog to lavender, you should start on low doses as you gauge your pet’s reaction. You should also spread the amounts and feed your pet on its normal cat or dog food in between servings. If you notice any adverse reaction with your pet, you should stop the feeding immediately and contact your vet as soon as you can.

As a new hedgehog owner, you may also consider lavender as part of the bedding material. This way, you will control mites that it may carry from the pet store or distribution warehouse. However, you should check to ensure your pet does not overeat the lavender.

While lavender is beneficial in terms of parasite control, some owners keep off this herb as a bedding material claiming that its soothing effect makes their pet sleep too much.

Is Lavender Essential Oil Safe for Hedgehogs?

If your pet lives inside your home, then it means that you breathe the same air. Thus, you should be cautious about the essential oils you put in your diffuser to avoid poisoning your pet. You should also exercise care on the oils you use on your pet to prevent allergic reactions.

Using lavender essential oil is safe for hedgehogs. Lavender contains antiseptic and pesticide properties. You can use it to keep disease-causing microorganisms and mites off your pet’s body. To do this, rub lavender oil on your pet’s fur or make a DIY repellant by adding a few drops of the oil into a cup of water and shaking it in a spray bottle, then spray your pet. However, if you apply this oil and the mites persist after 4days, you should take your pet to the vet for further checkup.

Hedgehogs will also not find this oil too strong if you use it in the diffuser or their bathwater. Owners who use lavender add a drop or two in the diffuser. Lavender in diffusers will help calm stressed and grouchy hedgehogs.

Grouchy hedgehogs are very solitary and do not like human interaction. Irrespective of much you try to bond with your pet, it will withdraw or become aggressive, and, in rare cases, bite you. However, most of these bites are quick nips and will not cause bleeding. When they happen, you should try to calm your pet and put it in a secure place and wait for it to let go.

In case you and your hedgehog’s personalities do not match, getting one that matches your personality is the best option to deal with grouchiness. If you are okay with minimal or no touch during bonding, you can use lavender in your room to calm your grouchy hedgehog.

Bathing your hedgehog in lavender water will also serve the same purpose as using it in the diffuser. Your pet will relax and may even attempt to drink the bathwater. However, you should not allow this as this water is dirty and can cause gastrointestinal problems.

Is Tea Tree Oil Safe for Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs have a very sensitive sense of smell. Therefore, using strongly scented products can poison them. Checking the ingredients of your essential oils, perfumes, and scented candles is one way you can prevent poisoning.

Tea tree oil is toxic to hedgehogs. Even in small doses, this product can cause your pet liver, renal, or other organ failures, and, in severe cases, death. Thus, if you have a hedgehog, you should consider other pet cleaning options like tea tree products, including its oils, shampoo, and sprays. This is because despite being a natural product, tea tree oil will cause respiratory problems if inhaled in diffusers and scented candles.

Tea tree is friendly to most humans and will not cause allergic reactions. But before handling your hedgehog, you should rinse off the product completely from your hands. This is because while tea tree and other essential oils create scents and products that humans enjoy, they also contain harmful substances which could potentially harm your pet in certain concentrations.

Hedgehogs are sensitive pets; hence, keeping tabs on what is safe, or toxic is necessary to prevent harmful effects that could be fatal. Thus before attempting use of a product, you should talk to your vet. On the other hand, if you accidentally touch your pet with tree oil and it exhibits allergic reactions, you should contact your vet immediately for assistance.

Wrap Up

Hedgehogs are picky creatures and will be choosy about the foods you give them. However, you can try friendly herbs such as peppermint and lavender. Besides providing healthy nutrients to your pet, they have antiseptic properties that keep parasites and disease-causing microorganisms at bay.

When introducing these herbs to your pet, start with small amounts and gauge your pet’s reactions to prevent adverse side effects that could be fatal. If your pet is comfortable with the herb, you can continue feeding, but these should only serve as garnishes.

Finally, while essential oils are purely natural, not all of them are safe for your hedgehog. Some such as tree oil will cause allergic reactions, organ failure, and even death. Therefore, you should avoid using this oil on your pet or in your diffuser. If you use a product containing tree oil, ensure you rinse it off completely before handling your pet. You should also be keen on any reactions from essential oils and talk to your vet if you notice any abnormal reactions.

Bal Kang

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

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