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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there,
I am a new hedgehog fan and have been researching their care for a while now. I am very serious about getting one and a very responsible pet owner.
As with all pets diets are debatable and often leave owners responsible for making a big decision on their own. I am a vegan (someone who doesn't eat or use animal products such as meat, cheese, milk, fur etc). I have other animals who I feed non vegan things such as milk, honey and insects. However, none that eat meat.

My question is if an insectivore/vegetarian diet is sufficient for a hedgies. This means fresh veggies daily and insects such as meal worms, super worms, crickets and dubia roaches (high in protein, low in phosphor). This also means no cat food or meat.
What are people's opinions on this?
A hedgehog in the wild eats vegetables, insects, lizards and mice, not chicken or tuna. I understand people use cooked meat as a protein supplement but is this necessary with a sufficient amount of insects?
Thank you everyone!
-Squid
 

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In my opinion even if it would be okay to feed only those things (and remember, many many hedgies will refuse to eat fruits/veggies and some will even refuse insects), it would be incredibly difficult to find a suitable balance of those foods you would feed. I would worry that there would be something missing from the diet that meats (aka cat foods) cover. We don't know much about what hedgehogs require but they have done very well on cat food supplemented with insects, eggs, fruits, veggies, etc. If you are willing to risk your hedgies health to try and come up with a diet you are comfortable feeding, go for it. I'm not sure it would be in the best interest of the hedgie though.
 

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There are some commercial cat foods that use legumes and vegetables as a primary protein source. I believe that they are vegetarian friendly, and possibly vegan friendly.

This one appears to have the necessary nutritional values of about 30% protein and no more than 15% fat (although runners/exercise fanatic hedgies might need to eat 17-18%).
http://store.nexternal.com/shared/S...nt2=51078438&ProductID=51&Target=products.asp

I'm not a vet or an expert but I think that a vegan cat food with the right nutritional values would be fine as long as you include insects as a daily staple instead of an occasional treat. Since hedgehogs are omnivores/insectivores I think they'd be fine. But as I said, I'm not an expert.

I personally don't agree with feeding a vegan/vegetarian to obligate carnivores like ferrets, cats, and dogs. IMO they need their protein to come from an animal source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, I agree it is not right to fed carnivorous animals vegetarian diets. I am researching and contemplating it with hedgehogs because they are insectivores not, carnivores and in their natural habitat they would not consume meats with such high protein/fat levels.

Thank you for the cat food referral, I appreciate it. I will continue researching. Any information/opinions are much appreciated.
-Squid
 

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I'm a vegan also, quite strict, but I feel that that's my choice, and every creature is entitled to do what works for them. Beck can't talk to me, and I'm quite sure he wouldn't understand the complex reasons for veganism, so I don't choose to force it on him.

I think vegetarianism probably could be done (you consider insects vegetarian it sounds like?) Strict veganism should definitely not be attempted. Cooked eggs, beans (too many will gave massive amounts of poop though) and small amounts of cottage cheese or plain yogurt can also be given. Insects should be plentiful if no cat food is being given.
 

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Hedgehogs are insectivores by classification but dietarily they are omnivorous. They require a varied diet of meat-based proteins, carbohydrates and fats. We have a difficult enough time figuring out what they need without restricting them to a vegan diet, which is unnatural and has a great probability of missing out on trace amino acids and nutrients that they need.

Hedgehogs have thrived for thousands of years eating the way they eat. Forcing them into veganism is just wrong.
 

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I think it is wonderful that you asked first to get opinions and information instead of just leaping into it. I'm wondering if some exotic pet veterinarians would also be a good source to call around and get information from.
 

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krbshappy71 said:
I think it is wonderful that you asked first to get opinions and information instead of just leaping into it. I'm wondering if some exotic pet veterinarians would also be a good source to call around and get information from.
With the exception of a vet who has owned and raised hedgehogs, vets know less than zero about hedgehog nutrition and only slightly more about dog and cat nutrition. I left a vet
who told someone that it's ok for their cat to be fed a vegan diet. Please note, cats are obligate carnivores and cannot digest vegetables or carbohydrates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to "force a vegan diet" on him. I am considering and researching not feeding him MEAT such as beef, pork and poultry.
I am going to call some vets and the zoo today and look into that legume cat food.
Thanks.
 

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obviously a vegan diet would not work...but vegetarian could.

what are your thoughts on seafood for a diet supplement? i know some people have been known to include cat foods that are salmon and herring based...it's at least worth investigating if you are more inclined to feed your pets fish over other meat products.
 

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You can buy freeze dried crickets and meal worms for your hedgehog. I do various insects only. I do not feed commercial hedgehog food because my hedgehog has heart disease (like so many other hedgehogs in America) and I attribute it to being fed high protein cat food made up of chicken and larger animals that a hedgehog would NEVER eat. Insects do not produce cholesterol like other animals do so the hedgehog's body is not used to processing it and just like humans that can cause heart disease. Anyway - I always do feel bad about the insects too because I love all beings, BUT we made these animals captive (hedgehogs and such) and therefore we have an obligation to give them the best care. I spoke with FarmSanctuary about my cats because vegan food wasn't working for them and they said they do not believe cats should eat vegan food. Dogs are a different story - they can thrive on a vegan diet but cats truly are carnivores. I feel the same way about hedgehogs - they are TRUE insectivores and should not be fed a vegan diet. I used to break up vegan dog kibble and mix it into my hedgehogs insects because I felt bad taking her totally off of the cat kibble she grew up on in her first home before I rescued her, but I now just feed insects. I just make sure and give her a variety. I hope this helps.
 

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I think this diet could be okay, but certainly not great. I would recommend talking to an exotic pet veternarian first, and consult with them about the diet. I would try to provide some sort of protein in the diet, like you said, mealworms can be great! I would also try crickets! However, it would be best to give it another source of protein like meat. If there is not an exotic pet in your area, I would try to talk to the breeder you did/about to get your hedgehog from, and ask them what they were previously feeding the hedgehog to ensure a smooth transition to its new home. I hope you found this helpful, and best of luck to you and your new hedgie!
 

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This thread is over 4 years old, guys. No need to bring it up again. The OP is long gone.

However, I have to post because I completely disagree with the first comment on this page. Hedgehogs are closer to being opportunistic omnivores - they do eat mainly insects, but they will also eat fruits, berries, some vegetation, snails & other invertebrates, frogs, snakes, eggs, young birds/rodents, carrion, etc. I don't think it's necessarily bad to have the main diet be insects (and really, most hedgehog owners don't feed enough insects), but I completely disagree that it's the only thing they should be fed. Especially freeze-dried insects, which pose a major risk for impactions. Freeze-dried isn't any more natural than kibble - it lacks the same moisture they'd get from live insects & other foods, which isn't good for them. Kibble is a more balanced diet for hedgehogs and I'm not sure that heart disease is as common as you say, or for the reason you say. Tumors are FAR more frequent killers of hedgehogs than heart disease, as far as I've seen. And we don't really know what causes those.
 

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Do they like grubs? I have tons of them in my gardens which is a pest of sorts and my old rooster can only eat so much of them. Also, since the town I live in has many, many pecan trees, large roaches live in them and come into house when it is cold and wet. If a Hl-hog would survive on these and vegetarian/vegan diet, I can sure use a critter like this as a buddy for my vegan cat who I fear will loose her best buddy Huey the rooster soon to old age.
 

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It's not at all recommended to feed wild-caught insects because they can carry pesticides and parasites. You should only feed store-bought insects or ones you've raised yourself.

And a vegetarian/vegan diet is not appropriate for a hedgehog, and it would not be a good idea at all to try and feed one that way. They're omnivores and need insects and meat in their diet. And because I can't not say it...cats are OBLIGATE carnivores and a vegan diet is an absolutely terrible idea for them.

Also it's not usually a good idea to introduce hedgehogs to predators. They're a prey animal and they're also pretty solitary so they do fine on their own anyway. A hedgehog wouldn't be a good idea as a friend for a cat.

And as I said in my above comment, this thread is 4 years old - I know you're new to the forum, so it's not a huge deal, but please look at dates on threads before you comment. :) We try to avoid having old ones brought up as it gets confusing.
 

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I can't facepalm enough when I read this thread because I only have 2 hands. Feeding hedgehogs (and even worse, cats) a vegan diet is pure animal abuse.

Get a rabbit.
 
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