Why you may not want to change the food of your new Hedgehog
Hedgehogs can be picky with their food. It's important to maintain their current diet and if necessary, switching them gradually to their new food. If they are not adjusted gradually, they may stop eating entirely. This causes them to quickly lose weight and weakens their health overall. We always recommend that new owners buy the same food they have grown accustomed to. Also, please be aware that hedgehog food that is sold in stores lacks many of the necessary nutrients for your new hoglet. That's why we use cat food as their primary food source.
As insectivores, hedgehogs need a diet that is high in protein and low in fat. They also require chitin, which comes from the exoskeleton of insects; fiber in the diet may substitute for the chitin component. To supplement their diet it is recommended to feed them a variety of insects as well as other high protein food. A few of those options are listed below.
Fresh, canned, or freeze-dried mealworms, waxworms, and crickets are appropriate as limited treats though in moderation as many feed insects are high in fat. Hedgehog caretakers should avoid bait-shop or wild caught insects, which may be contaminated with insecticides.
Hedgehogs will often eat small amounts of vegetable and can be given small amounts of fruit as treats .
Baby food is a common way to feed treats. Hedgehogs are lactose-intolerant and will have stomach problems after consuming most dairy products.
Hedgehogs may also eat such table foods as cooked, lean chicken, turkey, beef or pork (in moderation due to fat content).
Hedgehogs can easily become obese. If a pet hedgehog appears to be gaining too much weight, it is important that the hedgehog’s caretaker cut back on high fat foods and increase exercise. Hedgehogs vary in size so there is no "goal weight" for a hedgehog, but if they can no longer roll completely into a ball it is a pretty clear sign of obesity. Many people believe that there is a relation between a high-fat diet and fatty-liver disease in hedgehogs.