Hedgehogs are insectivores and are therefore welcomed by gardeners as “natural pest control”. However, in captivity, they should not be fed on slugs, earthworms etc., because these can transmit endoparasites. The food given to a hedgehog in care must be similar in composition to natural food, rich in fat and protein.

The recommendations for the correct nutrition of hedgehog keepers today are based on current knowledge, which the texts on our website no longer correspond to. The page is under revision.

Please refer to the information in our information sheets.

Give the hedgehog fresh water to drink. The lactose in milk makes it indigestible for hedgehogs and will give them diarrhoea, which can lead to enteritis and infections which can be lethal. Put the water in a solid, flat-bottomed glass or earthenware bowl.

Rezepte für Futtermischungen (nach M. Neumeier / C. Schiller)
Achtung: Alle Rezeptzutaten (außer Katzenfutter) müssen gegart, also gekocht / angebraten werden!

Rezepte (100 g Futtermischung1) Rp2 % Rf2 % KH2 % H2O2 % kcal
50 g Katzenfutter + 10 g Hühnerleber
+ 40 g Hühnerfleisch mit Haut
18,4 7,5 1,6 69,0 140
50 g Katzenfutter + 50 g Hühnerherzen 14,1 5,2 1,4 75,6 102
50 g Katzenfutter + 50 g Eintagsküken 12,5 5,0 1,1 70,0 92
50 g Katzenfutter + 50 g Hühnerflügel 18,4 8,5 1,0 68,5 185
30 g Katzenfutter + 70 g Rührei 14,2 11,4 1,2 70,7 154
50 g Katzenfutter + 20 g Rinderleber
+ 30 g Rindfleisch (mittelfett)
17,3 7,3 2,3 70,9 137
50 g Katzenfutter + 25 g Rinderherz
+ 25 g Rindfleisch (mittelfett)
16,7 5,0 1,2 73,6 111
50 g Katzenfutter + 50 g Hammelfleisch (fett) 16,2 14,8 1,0 64,6 194
50 g Katzenfutter + 25 g Rührei
+ 25 g Rinderhack
15,9 9,08 1,4 70,1 142
50 g Katzenfutter + 50 g Seehecht 15,0 3,3 1,0 76,3 94
50 g Katzenfutter + 50 g Pazifiklachs 15,5 3,2 1,0 76,7 89
50 g Katzenfutter + 50 g Tintenfisch 14,2 3,1 2,2 76,7 88
50 g Katzenfutter + 50 g Garnelen (Shrimps) 14,4 3,3 1,4 77,2 87
50 g Katzenfutter + 25 g getrocknete
Seidenraupen in 25 g Wasser eingeweicht
18,0 9,5 1,9 65,8 165

1 Die Differenz zu 100 % aus der Summe der Nährstoffangaben ergibt sich aus den Mittelwerten der Nährstoffgehalte und der hier nicht angegebenen Rohfaser- und Rohaschegehalte.

2 Rp = Rohprotein; Rf = Rohfett; KH = Kohlenhydrate; H2O = Wasser

Hedgehogs need differing amounts of food. It will depend on body weight and state of health. A middle-sized hedgehog will eat about enough to fill a 150g yoghurt pot. The amount of weight gained will tell you the correct portion size to give.

At the beginning weigh the hedgehog every day, later on once a week is sufficient. Put him on his back in the scale pan and blow on him a bit to make him stay still. A very thin animal can gain 15-20g a day to regain its weight, later it should be 10-15 g a day.

As a rule food is put out once a day in the evening. You should obviously feed an evidently hungry and agitated hedgehog running around its enclosure during the day. The same applies to weak animals who will frequently only eat a little and often. Food remains must be thrown away and the dishes washed in hot water daily (or after every feed).

Very sick and weak hedgehogs who are not eating for themselves, must be fed by syringe. Put the hedgehog on its back on your hand in a sitting position, so that it doesn’t choke. Use- if nothing else is to hand -Hipp-meat puree (infant food from 4 months), a better choice (for hand feeding over several days) would be Hill’s Prescription Diet Canine a/d Feline (from the vet), diluted with a little fennel or camomile tea. As an emergency measure, you could also use low-lactose ready-to-use cat milk. Feed 10 to 30ml four or five times a day into the side of the mouth.

You should always leave a dish of food in the enclosure so that the hedgehog can eat for himself as soon as he feels ready to do so.

A hedgehog who has to be hand-fed, must of course be taken to a vet or a hedgehog rescue centre!

Foods which suit humans or which are good for them, or which make other animals grow big and strong, will not do the same for a hedgehog. The following foodstuffs are not on the hedgehog’s menu:

  • fruit: apples, pears etc.
  • vegetables: salad, carrots etc.
  • milk products: cheese, fromage frais, yoghurt etc.
  • nuts, raisins
  • human baby food

It is a myth that hedgehogs eat fruit! If you see a hedgehog in the garden near windfallen fruit, he will be attracted to it merely by the worms and insects crawling on it. Because of the way their gastro-intestinal tract is made, hedgehogs cannot digest or get nourishment from vegetarian fare. Even if a hedgehog nibbles hungrily at an apple, it may taste sweet, but it won’t be nourishing him! So the long and the short of it is that a vegetarian hedgehog is a starving hedgehog!