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"Picky" is not a word that applies to a hedgehog's eating habits. These determined little creatures start foraging for food in the evening and don't stop until sunrise, when they've consumed nearly one-third of their body weight in a combination of insects, plants and small vertebrates. They'll even chow down on things that might sicken or kill other small animals.
Insectivores and Omnivores
Some species of hedgehogs are insectivores and subsist mainly on a diet of small insects. Other hedgehogs are omnivores and will eat just about anything they can find or catch, including plants, fungi, vertebrates and invertebrates. All species eat a large amount of insects, however, making them valuable allies in the garden. Whether omnivores or insectivores, hedgehogs are known for their ability to go long periods without food, if necessary. They have survived 10 weeks without food or water in a controlled environment.
Crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, snails and slugs are the preferred diet for many hedgehogs. They are also known to eat eggs, small lizards, earthworms, caterpillars, earwigs, baby birds, fruit, small snakes and rodents. Hedgehogs will even eat dead animals, such as small bird carcasses. They are opportunistic eaters and will consume nearly anything that they find or catch, especially if it is easy to obtain.
Hedgehogs are immune to many toxins, which gives them the unique ability to consume some toxic animals. For example, they can eat small venomous snakes, scorpions and frogs without any ill effects. They are also unaffected by venomous or poisonous insects like spiders, millipedes, centipedes, beetles, caterpillars and bees.
A hedgehog kept in captivity should be fed a combination of commercial and fresh food. Feed one part commercial hedgehog food, one and a half parts cat kibble, one part fresh fruits and vegetables, and a cricket or two. Substitute 6 to 10 meal worms for the crickets, if necessary. Offer the food in the evening, in an amount that your hedgehog will consume completely by morning. Most adult hedgehogs will eat about 3 1/2 to 4 teaspoons per night.
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