With recent research in mind we want to reiterate what is good and bad for hedgehogs. Bread and milk still remain a big NO! We would advise feeding any specific hedgehog foods such as Spikes or Ark Wildlife Original.
You can also feed dry cat biscuits and tinned cat or dog food (they can be fussy with fish flavours). Don’t forget to also provide a shallow dish of water too, especially if they are eating dried food. At Prickles and Paws we feed a mixture of hedgehog food and tinned cat and dog food.
We DO NOT recommend feeding dried meal worms to hedgehogs, they contain almost no nutritional value and can harm their health.
The x-ray of the entire hedgehog shows the effects of feeding large quantities of mealworms, she had severe metabolic bone disease. She could not walk, only shuffle forwards. In her x-ray the bones are not bright white as they should be in a healthy hedgehog as shown in the second x-ray. This is because the calcium in her bones has been drawn out into her bloodstream to counter the low levels caused by the high levels of phosphate – a result of eating mainly meal worms.
The decalcification of bones increases the likelihood of fractures and reduces the ability to weight bare and move. At the severity shown in the first x-ray it was not reversible, in early far less severe cases it can be treated but only if it is picked up early enough.
Sunflower hearts have this same effect and should not be fed. We would also not advise feeding peanuts or dried banana chips as we have admitted cases with both wedged in the roof of the mouth and nutritionally are of no value.
We must remember when feeding hedgehogs that this is additional to their diet, huge quantities are not needed. They will obtain all the nutrition they need from their very varied natural diet, a dish of cat or dog food is wonderful to them, even if it looks boring and unappetizing to you!