Hedgehogs Eat Fish? (Important Safety Info & Tips)


A healthy diet guarantees you a healthy pet. To ensure this, you should check the nutritional benefits of the foods you feed your pet and potential side effects. Therefore, whether a hedgehog can eat fish or not, we understand it is a concern that requires attention.

So, can a hedgehog eat fish? Fish offer beneficial proteins to a hedgehog; they can eat different species of fish. Also, hedgehogs also have a strong sense of smell that attracts them to fish, increasing their urge to feed on it. When a hedgehog consumes fish, it will travel fast through its digestive tract and result in a smelly poop.

Due to this stinky poo, I like most hedgehog owners do not like giving our pets fish, as we link it to a digestive problem. More so, I don’t even consider dry cat biscuits or wet cat food which contains even small amounts of fish, instead sticking to poultry based foods.

Then again, depending on the fish species, if you did decide to give fish to your hedgehog, you would need to exercise care to prevent choking hazards and impaction to your hedgehog. This would worry me immensely, as choking is something I never want to see happen with my hedgehog and with impaction, the pain and discomfort this would cause, would definitely be something a hedgehog should never have to endure.

If you want to know whether a hedgehog can eat fish, this is the ultimate guide for you. I will help you understand whether a hedgehog can eat raw fish and whether it can eat salmon, fish, or shrimp. Read through the rest of the sections for shocking must-know info.

Can Hedgehogs Eat Raw Fish?

Hedgehogs are insectivorous, and, in the wild, they will mainly feed on insects. Therefore, mimicking this diet in captivity by adapting high protein and low-fat diets will provide your pet with essential nutrients and ensure its healthy growth.

Raw fish available in the market is generally safe for your hedgehog. This includes whitefish, salmon, trout, and sardines, among others. Even though hedgehogs can eat raw fish, it makes sense to cook the fish first just to make sure any microbes, parasites and nasty bacteria are destroyed during cooking that could make the hedgehog ill.

Just as you would exercise care on the species of fish you feed on as a human being, you should do the same for your hedgehog.

If you are unsure of the safety of the fish species, you should consult your vet before feeding your pet to prevent unforeseen side effects. Also, whatever fish you decide to feed your hedgehog, you should prepare for an irregular poop odor, which is a side effect of fish digestion. Apart from this, your hedgehog will thrive eating fish due to its high protein and essential nutrients.

While hedgehogs can feed on most fish species, some fish are best if you leave them as treats for your pet, especially if their nutritional content does not meet your hedgehog’s requirements.

Calcium and phosphorus specifically play a significant role in ionic balance. Thus, before feeding your hedgehog on fish, you should check on the calcium-phosphorus ratio to ensure a balance. This ratio should be 1:1 or 2:1 calcium: phosphorus.

If the fish lacks either calcium or phosphorus, for instance, a snow crab, you should feed it to your pet as a treat. Tuna is another fish example that you can provide your hedgehog as a treat due to its mercury content. However, this does not imply that a small amount of tuna will harm your hedgehog. Depending on where you harvested your tuna, it may or may not be safe to feed your pet; hence, suitable as a treat.

Can Hedgehogs Eat Salmon?

Hedgehogs are insectivorous pets and will thrive on an insect diet throughout their lives.  However, if you want to add extra proteins to your pet’s diet, you can substitute insects for fish and chicken breasts. Besides their nutritional value, these foods are also tasty and will tickle your pet’s taste buds.

Hedgehogs can eat salmon to meet their protein needs. Besides being a tasty meal, salmon is low in sodium and rich in proteins for a healthy hedgehog. To feed your pet on salmon, you should cook it well to prevent disease transmission and parasites.

You should also avoid spicing your fish since most spices are unfriendly treats to hedgehogs.  Finally, you should give your hedgehog a few pieces of the salmon since too much of it will cause stinky poop.

The source of your salmon may also determine its nutrient capacity. Generally, wild salmons are more nutritious than farmed salmon. Farmed salmon are mostly saturated with fats and are more likely to be contaminated with pesticides than wild salmons. Also, most salmons contain antibiotics used in fish farming and will pass to your hedgehog as a food chain member.

Also, since there is a higher chance of overstocking in the farm than wild, farm caught salmons have a higher risk of disease and parasite transmission than wild salmons. However, this does not imply that wild salmons are the best quality since some have plastic and other rubbish removed from their gut due to water pollution. Therefore, the decision to feed your hedgehog on wild or farm caught salmon is a personal preference.

Why can’t hedgehogs eat fish according to some owners?

Most pet parents reject fish as food for their hedgehogs due to their smelly poop. Therefore, most owners prefer giving their hedgehogs a fresh fish oil treat rather than fish meat. This way, your pet will still benefit from vitamin D and omega 3 without compromising its poop smell or causing any digestive complications.

Hedgehogs do not eat fish in the wild, since they are not readily available, and this leads to many pet owners not giving their hedgehogs fish. More so, being insectivorous mammals, hedgehogs cannot hunt fish for food. They will therefore feed on readily available foods in their natural setting in most cases. In addition, hedgehogs have a hard time digesting fish compared to other food sources as it passes quickly through their digestive tract.

As some pet owners, will likely avoid feeding their hedgehog fish due to the health risks it carries. For instance, due to water pollution, harvesting fish from polluted natural sources or some farms and feeding them to a hedgehog will transfer pollutants such as mercury to a pet which could harbor harmful health side effects.

Fish may also host disease-causing microorganisms and parasites. These include salmonella, which can cause severe disease. If you get fish from unreliable sources and do not cook it properly, you risk transferring parasites and diseases to your pet, which could be fatal.

Lastly, while you may find a safe source of fish for your hedgehog, you will need to give your pet large portions to satisfy its appetite. Due to the lower nutritional benefit of fish to hedgehogs, you will end up feeding your pet more fish beyond acceptable protein levels to cater to its demands. In turn, this may affect its overall weight, given that hedgehogs in captivity do not exercise as much as those in the wild.

Thus, if you want to feed your hedgehog healthily, you should replace seafood with foods that have a balance of calcium and phosphorus. This way, you will keep diseases such as metabolic bone disease, resulting from low calcium, levels at bay. Occasionally, you can also feed your hedgehog on substitute proteins such as chicken breast.

Can Hedgehog Eat Shrimp?

Adding variety to your hedgehog’s diet is important, but you should ensure you meet its nutritional requirements. Due to the strong smell, most hedgehogs will love and eat most species of fish. As a pet owner, you should ensure that the foods you give your pet are safe and will not cause adverse side effects to their health.

Hedgehogs can eat shrimp. However, shrimp has a 1:0 calcium-phosphorus ratio, which can affect the blood ion balance. Before feeding your hedgehog on shrimp, you should check these levels first, as they may vary.

You should also ensure no choking hazards before feeding your pet. Just like fish, cooked shrimps will cause your hedgehog’s poo to smell bad. Some pet owners try to reduce this smell by feeding their pets frozen rather than fresh shrimps.

Due to their low calcium-phosphorus ratios, shrimps are best as treats rather than the main meal. Also, while the freeze-drying process may help reduce the smell, it causes the exoskeletons to become too hard to digest.

This, in turn, causes impactions to your hedgehog’s digestive system. However, despite the above issues, most hedgehogs love shrimps and will eat as many as you provide, and you should give this treat in moderation.

Wrap Up

A hedgehog diet should be rich in proteins, low in fats, and balanced in calcium and phosphorus ions. Since these pets are insectivorous, they can access these nutrients in the wild from their natural sources. In captivity, you can achieve this by providing different treats to your pet. Fish is an example of high protein food you can give to your hedgehog. Despite its nutritional benefits, heavy consumption of fish will make your hedgehog’s poop have an irregular smell.

When feeding your pet on fish, you should check the species to ensure it is safe for your pet. Some species, such as tuna, are best as treats due to their mercury risk. Shrimps have low calcium and phosphorus and will equally serve well as treats.

Also, you should get your fish from a trusted source. Some sources may contain pollutants, diseases, and parasites; therefore, feeding your pet on raw fish from such sources will be a health hazard.

Finally, while choosing between frozen dried and cooked fish to control the smell of your pet’s poop, you should consider its safety. Frozen dried fish reduce poop smells, but some such as shrimps may cause serious impaction to your pet.

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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