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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not really sure which subforum to post this in to be honest...

My boyfriend just sent me this article about the zoo's "celebrity" hedgehog, Stella. (They bring her out for a big presentation on "Hedgehog Day" instead of celebrating Groundhog Day.)

http://www.memphiszoo.org/default.aspx? ... eid=108173

It's pretty sweet, with the get well card from the kids and all...

Totally unrelated to her neck tumor and all though... I'm a bit concerned that the article says one of her fave foods is grapes. I was positive grapes are supposed to be toxic to hedgehogs... Maybe whoever wrote the article is misinformed? At least I hope that's the case, and they're not actually feeding her grapes...

Would it be terribly presumptuous to email the zoo about it? I'm not really sure it's my place, since I'm not an expert, she's 4 and a half years old and they are, well, the zoo.

...and how bad are grapes for her if they ARE giving them as treats?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
HedgeMom said:
As little as a half of grape can cause complete renal failure.
Wow. I knew to stay away from them but I didn't know they were THAT bad.

If whoever wrote that article isn't just misinformed then I'm wondering how their hedgie is even still alive. :shock:
 

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:| Makes me a bit worried about her. I wonder if the zoo knows that grapes aren't good for hedgies... You should try to contact them and ask if that was a mistake or if they really do give her grapes.
hr
 

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I emailed the blog writer, his address was at the end of the posting. Not to bombard him, but if a few people write him regarding the same thing maybe he will stop feeding that item OR correct his blog if it was incorrect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah... That's what I wondered, like if the zoo made a mistake (despite the fact that they actually use Stella for educational presentations - you know, telling children all about hedgehogs) or if it was just the blog writer... You'd think that not only do they have animal nutritionists there, that they'd also be aware that grapes are actually toxic to a LOT of animals.

The girls that answered hedgehog questions at last year's (or maybe it was year before last?) "Hedgehog Day" weren't exactly well informed (I think I even overheard one saying that "yes, they are related to porcupines" ...and we all know that's not true. :x ) but I figured they were just volunteers for the event and/or like interns or something. (They were not people I would expect to have a wealth of knowledge regarding every animal in the zoo, like a seasoned keeper - or a nutritionist.)

If it wasn't just a mistake made by the writer of the post, then it's rather saddening to think that such a highly respected zoo would make a potentially fatal error like that... especially with an animal that they do Q&A presentations with.
 

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Hi there, I emailed them and received this response back:
Thank you for your concern and for providing feedback. I have sent this to Stella's keepers to check on this part of her diet. Thank you again.
And then from a different person:
Thank you for your comment. I have never heard or read that grapes are unhealthy for hedgehogs. Our nutritionist sets up a list of "do and do not feed" for each individual species. Grapes are certainly something we try to limit in her diet but I have never heard they cause rental failure.

I will certainly bring up the fact to our nutritionist since we certainly want to keep her the healthiest possible.

Have a WILD day!
So then I replied giving them this site as a great reference and also the Hedgehog Welfare Society as a great reference. Here's hoping to spread the information you have all gathered over years of experience!
 

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kind of off hedgehog topic but does anyone know what other animals grapes are toxic too. i have a friend who's bulldog LOVES grapes. he sits there and you can just throw them at his mouth and he never misses! it's really cute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The twitters:

@MemphisZoo Thought the article on Stella was really sweet... but her "favorite foods" surprised me. Aren't grapes toxic to AP Hedgehogs? :eek: 5:08 PM Jan 20th from web

@anaxjor Grapes aren't a staple but rather a treat for our hedgehogs and our nutritionists and vets all say that they're fine in moderation about 2 hours ago from web

@MemphisZoo Really? I always heard that even a little grape could cause full renal failure... So, it kinda scared me. 2 minutes ago from web in reply to MemphisZoo


I really hope they sort it out... They shouldn't be giving her anything that's even potentially toxic, even "in moderation." Maybe the nutritionist made a mistake/overlooked this one thing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update

MemphisZoo

@anaxjor They are toxic to certain dog breeds, but we've found no documented medical evidence that grapes are toxic to hedgehogs 2 minutes ago from web


...can anyone find "documented medical evidence" for me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hedgieonboard said:
I found this link
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/ask-the-expert/ask-the-expert-poison-control/people-foods.html

**edit**after reading through it more carefully this link is for dogs. I remember a few months back seeing a check list that had grapes checked off as toxic to small animals and am trying to find it so I can get you the info for the zoo. I hope I find it.
Yeah, I just found a few articles myself - but, again, all for dogs. It's hard to find that kind of info for exotics. :(

Thanks for helping though! I know grapes wouldn't be listed here and in the hedgehog wiki as toxic if there wasn't a good reason for it.

Obviously the zoo's hedgie hasn't had any problems with them being given to her in moderation (yet) - at least not that we know of (and she IS still alive) - but it just doesn't seem like something they should risk really...

I'm sure they take a very different approach to animal care than we "pet owners" do though.
 

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Okay I spoke with someone at the zoo and he told me that the article was misinformed about grapes being her favorite food. He said that she does eat them occasionally, more along the lines of rarely and now that they have received so many comments about the grapes being toxic they are considering not feeding them to her anymore. He said that he himself can't guarantee that grapes will be 'restricted' from the hedgehog since their nutritionist said the small amount that she does eat won't effect her but they will try their best to keep it from happening.
 

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i dont understand why the zoo just dosnt fee the hedgy grapes any more.. its not like grapes hold that much nutrition anyhow.
instead of risking giving the hedgehog grapes ounce in a while they should just stop period.
oh well cant do much about it were not the owner of the little one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
bluebunneh said:
Okay I spoke with someone at the zoo and he told me that the article was misinformed about grapes being her favorite food. He said that she does eat them occasionally, more along the lines of rarely and now that they have received so many comments about the grapes being toxic they are considering not feeding them to her anymore. He said that he himself can't guarantee that grapes will be 'restricted' from the hedgehog since their nutritionist said the small amount that she does eat won't effect her but they will try their best to keep it from happening.
I'm so glad to hear that you called them! Hopefully they'll take it into consideration how many people are concerned enough to contact them and they'll put grapes on the "do not feed" list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
skinnyj0e said:
i dont understand why the zoo just dosnt fee the hedgy grapes any more.. its not like grapes hold that much nutrition anyhow.
instead of risking giving the hedgehog grapes ounce in a while they should just stop period.
oh well cant do much about it were not the owner of the little one.
This.

You'd think with all of us coming down on them about it, they'd just remove them from her diet all together just to ease our minds...
 

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Let me first present my viewpoint on this question, and then let you know our practice at the Memphis Zoo.

The blog may have implied that grapes are a frequent part of the diet of hedgehogs at the Zoo, but in fact, only single grapes have been given as treats, on occasion. I, along with the Memphis Zoo's Nutritionist and Veterinarians reviewed the question of grape toxicity after we were contacted by some of you. We found statements that hedgehogs were sickened or died after eating grapes, but no actual evidence of it. The other thread on this Forum regarding the subject asks for 'documented medical evidence', but none was given. The website link and the statement made there is again, simply a statement that grapes can be toxic to animals, but with no clear examples or further details to back it up. There are enough cases of grape toxicity in dogs to strongly suggest that something is going on there, even lacking a specific compound being identified. With hedgehogs (albeit possibly because they are less common as captives so fewer chances for observation) there is not this sizeable file of circumstantial evidence that gives the possibility of toxicity some credence. The scientist in me remains skeptical, and I have to say, no one appears to be able to add anything to the debate except to repeat what others saying.

That said, academic argument is one thing, but providing the best animal care is my highest priority so I'm automatically going to err on the side of caution. It is now our written policy to not feed grapes to hedgehogs in any amount or at any time. I still don't know if there is any truthful basis to the concerns, but finding out is not my main interest, so rest assured there will be no more grapes given to hedgehogs at the Memphis Zoo.

Dr. Steve Reichling, Curator
 
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