If you are looking to feed a hedgehog, pet, or otherwise, you’ll want to know that you are doing so appropriately. Fruit is regularly recommended- but what fruits are safe or best? Here is what you should know.
So, what fruits can hedgehogs eat? Hedgehogs can eat most fruits, although they should do so in minimal amounts and in moderation. Preparing the fruit first (cutting it up into smaller pieces, washing, cleaning, and removing any pits or seeds) is advised. Low sugar fruits, such as berries, are typically best.
There are certainly better fruits.
Not all are the same. Just like most foods, really.
In fact, the type of fruit you offer can have a big impact on how a hedgehog responds.
So without further ado, let’s look at the best options before turning to how to feed them!
Best Fruits For Hedgehogs
The best fruits for hedgehogs are those that are low in sugar, soft, ripe, and free from any harmful pesticides, chemicals, or compounds that could prove toxic if consumed in excess.
So, what options do we have here:
The safest fruits for hedgehogs are as follows:
- Berries of all varieties – Including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
- Kiwi – without the skin, seeds are okay.
- Apples – without the skin, remove the seeds too.
- Cherries – be sure to remove the pit first.
- Melons of all varieties – including watermelon and cantaloupe.
- Banana – of course, peeled.
- Mangos – skin, and pit removed,
Of course, fruits are rich in various different vitamins and minerals which can support the health of a hedgehog.
Just remember, though, the most important thing is how you source and prepare the fruit.
We’ll look at preparation a little later.
But for now, it’s important to note that you want to source organic fruits wherever possible.
Particularly with those fruits subject to spraying with pesticides, herbicides, and other fertilizers.
This is most commonly seen in berries – so source those organic as much as you can, or wash them first.
Fruits with skins are a little safer here, although there is certainly the argument that organic fruits may contain more nutrition.
Growing in richer soils is the reasoning behind this statement here.
At the end of the day, it comes down to what you can afford and how much time you have.
But that doesn’t change the fact that organic is generally best.
What Fruits Can Hedgehogs Not Eat?
The two different types of fruits that hedgehogs should never eat are dried fruits and citrus fruits. Both of these are problematic, even if they are for different reasons.
In regards to dried fruits, they’ll generally not safe.
Dried fruit is ultimately fruit that has had all the water removed and preserved in some particular way – usually with an artificial preservative.
The result is highly concentrated fruit, particularly high in sugar. Far more so than what you would have with regular fruit.
And sugar must be controlled in the diet of a hedgehog.
Too much can result in weight gain and other adverse side effects – both associated with weight and mutually exclusive too.
And the preservatives can be problematic for a hedgehog too.
The idea is that they extend the shelf-life of the fruit. But remember, hedgehogs are much smaller than us and have a much more difficult time breaking down and processing them.
So dried fruits are out.
But why citrus?
Well, citrus fruits are very acidic.
And hedgehogs do not have the digestive capabilities to handle them.
Take pineapple, for example, which also contains a lot of enzymes that are known to boost digestion.
In hedgehogs, who have a digestive system geared towards consuming large amounts of chitin (insect exoskeletons), they are simply not used to it.
And it can cause diarrhea and other digestive distress if consumed.
Even in small quantities.
And the same goes for various citrus fruits, including:
Dried fruit should be avoided
Other than citrus, the other fruits to avoid are:
Grapes and raisins are actually toxic to hedgehogs – so they need to be avoided for obvious reasons.
Avocado, even though it is a fruit, is very high in plant fiber and fat. Both of which are challenging for a hedgehog to digest and break down.
How Often Should Hedgehogs Eat Fruit?
Hedgehogs should eat fruit rarely and in moderation. A small serving every 2-3 days is a good general rule of thumb to follow.
Of course, the fruit you are looking to give and the hedgehog’s age and size need to be considered.
For instance, a baby hedgehog should eat a lot less mango than an adult consuming raspberries.
It does come down to context.
That being said, fruit should be seen as and offered as a treat.
Not a dietary staple.
A very small amount – 5-10grams at a time – given every few days.
And, if you do not have any fresh fruit available – do not worry!
They do not need to eat fruit.
They can get their nutrition in other ways.
In fact, they should.
It’s just a nice food to offer every now and again should you see the right opportunity to do so.
How To Prepare Fruit For A Hedgehog
Preparing fruit for a hedgehog is one of the most important things you can do. Cleaning, washing, cutting up, and removing any inedible parts are all part of this process.
And it all begins when you buy or look in your fruit bowl.
You need to only offer fruit that is ripe.
And what is ripe for one fruit may not be ripe for another.
Essentially, it needs to be soft and sweet – without showing any signs of or areas of discoloring or mushiness.
Once you have identified ripe fruit, you’ll need to prepare accordingly.
In the case of a banana or mango, for instance, you’ll need to remove the skin.
For the mango, though, you’ll also need to take it one step further and remove the large pit.
For fruits without skin – it’s advised to wash them thoroughly.
You can do this with plain water – in a bowl that you then drain. This water will be carrying debris and potentially some toxic chemicals used in the growth of the fruit (e.g., pesticides).
So discard this water.
From there, you need to cut the flesh of any fruit up into small and manageable chunks. Very small cubes here.
This is true whether you are offering apples, strawberries, or peach.
And, you’ll need to put a small amount in a serving bowl. The rest you can either eat yourself or store away for another time (such as in the fridge).
Berries are, of course, the one exception where seeds can be offered.
When it comes to the actual offering and feeding, you can offer the fruit alongside your hedgehog’s staple dry food and insects.
Some people like to mix the fruit in with the food, and this supposedly helps a hedgehog take to the fruit – or can be used to get them eating a dry food they may not be overly keen on.
Hedgehogs can eat fruit. But, not all fruit is the same.
As such, when it comes to offering fruit, you will need to consider the context.
The type of fruit, the age and size of the hedgehog, and the rest of the diet.
This will tell you how much and how often you can generally feed it.
Berries, for instance, can be fed more often and perhaps in higher amounts than, say, ripe and much more sugar-dense mango.
Nevertheless, fruit should never become a staple.
It should be seen and treated as a treat.
And it should be prepared accordingly.
You don’t want a hedgehog to choke on a piece that wasn’t prepared properly.
You’ll never forgive yourself, and it’s generally not worth the risk!
Hedgehogs can eat apples, so long as you remove the skin, seeds and cut the flesh into small and manageable chunks. Apple should not be fed any more frequently than every 2-3 days due to the high natural sugar content.
Hedgehogs can eat blueberries, and these are one of the best fruits to offer. They are lower in sugar, soft, easy for a hedgehog to consume, and simple to portion control. Blueberries can be fed more regularly, but as with any fruit, should never become a staple nor fed at every meal. Every other day is advised.
Hedgehogs should not eat pineapple, even in very small amounts. Pineapple is very acidic, and this can cause a lot of digestive upset to a hedgehog should they consume some.
Hedgehogs should never eat grapes in any variety. This includes raisins. There are toxic compounds in grapes that can be life-threatening to a hedgehog. Immediate veterinary attention will be likely required in any event they are to consume some.
Hedgehogs can eat strawberries, and they are generally one of the better options. They are, however, often carrying a lot of pesticides and a lot of other harmful toxins. So, sourcing organic or washing them thoroughly prior to serving is advised.
Wondering what else a hedgehog will, can, and cannot eat? My following feeding guides may be of help:
- What Do Baby Hedgehogs Eat?
- Can Hedgehogs Eat Chicken?
- Can Hedgehogs Eat Dog Food?
- Can Hedgehogs Eat Cat Food?
- Can Hedgehogs Eat Bread?
- Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Young?
- Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Own Poop?
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.