Apples are a common fruit that are eaten in many countries throughout the world. For decades now, apples have been recommended as part of a balanced diet but the question is, can hedgehogs eat apples?
In this post, we will take a closer look to see if hedgehogs can safely eat apples? to do this we will use the research and opinions of vets and animal nutritionists.
By the end of this post, you should have all the information you need before deciding whether apples are a good choice to add to your hedgies diet or not?
So can hedgehogs eat apples? Hedgehogs can eat apples in moderation. The high sugar content and acidic nature of apples make them a fruit that should only be fed to a hedgehog on occasion. Apples also have an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio which is also a cause for concern if fed regularly.
Reason to learn…
Apples | Nutritional Info
We have included a table that shares the nutritional information for apples. This will help you to see at a glance the key nutrients that apples are either abundant in or lacking for hedgehogs.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what nutrients to look for and in what quantities, shortly we will break down everything you need to know and you can simply refer back to the table if you wish.
Check out the nutritional data for apples below…
Nutritional Information (Apples)
|vitamin A RAE||3||µg|
|vitamin A IU||N/A||IU|
Can hedgehogs Eat Apples? (More Info)
Most hedgehogs will enjoy munching on some juicy, fresh apple in their food bowl.
This is mainly because of its sweet taste and refreshing nature.
You will be happy to know that hedgehogs can safely eat apples as part of their fruit and veg based diet.
This is backed up by Pet-MD, who included apples as a fruit that hedgehogs can eat in a recent article they wrote about hedgehog care.
Even though apples are safe for hedgehogs to eat, they aren’t a fruit that should be fed to your hedgie too often.
This is due to the fact that they contain high amounts of unwanted nutrients or unbalanced amounts of needed nutrients.
If you want to see a full list of foods that hedgehogs can eat, then check out our full list and guide here that shares all you need to know about hedgehog diet.
Let’s not take a closer look at both the benefits and concerns of feeding your hedgie apples…
Are There Any Concerns to Hedgehogs Eating Apples?
As we mentioned above, apples contain nutrients that are in unhealthy quantities for hedgehogs so it’s a good idea to feed them in moderation.
The main causes for concern are…
- High Sugar Levels
- Unbalanced Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
Let’s not explore these two nutrients further and see how they can affect your hedgehog…
Apples Are High In Sugar
Looking at the nutritional table above, you can see that apples contain 10.39g of sugar per 100g.
High levels of sugar are very common is fruit and this is also true with apples.
This high level of sugar can affect your hedgie in two ways, as listed below…
- Can Cause Obesity
- Bed For Teeth
In captivity, hedgehogs are notorious for struggling with obesity. Source:
This is largely due to increased amounts of fat and sugar in their diet as well as a lack of exercise compared to that of wild hedgehogs.
For this reason, it’s important to both limit and monitor the amounts of sugar that your hedgie consumes.
We’ve actually done some research and created a pretty cool article right here…that shares how much exercise a domesticated hedgehog really needs each day.
Dental problems are also commonplace for hedgehogs and high amounts of sugar can cause tartar build-up. Eventually, unhealthy teeth can cause gum infections and abscess.
This can lead to extensive dental treatment as well as a great deal of pain and discomfort for your hedgie.
Ensuring you offer sugary foods such as apples in moderation is essential to keeping their teeth and gums healthy.
Some other fruits such as strawberries are much lower in surfer than apples.
You can find out if hedgies can eat strawberries and see exactly what we think of them in our easy to follow strawberries guide here…
Apples Have an Unbalanced Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
Apples have an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio. This ratio is actually important to many animals including hedgehogs.
Most experts recommend that a healthy calcium to phosphorus ratio is 1:1 or 2:1. Source:
If you take a look at the nutrition table with provided you can see that apples contain 6mg of calcium and 11mg of phosphorus per 100g.
This means that apples contain more phosphorus than calcium when ideally they should be more calcium or at least the same amount of both nutrients.
So why is the calcium to phosphorus ratio important to hedgehogs?
Phosphorus binds to calcium and stops it from being absorbed in the bodies of many animals including hedgehogs.
If the diet is starved of calcium for a sustained period then problems such as MBD can set in with some animals.
After recent research, it’s now thought that hedgehogs can suffer from metabolic bone disease or MBD. Source:
This is an illness that some animals suffer from due to a lick of calcium in their diet.
MBD can cause multiple problems such as…
- Pain When Walking
- Lack Of Strength
- Easily Fractured Bones
NOTE – Feeding small amounts of apples or other foods that have a poor calcium to phosphorus ratio from time to time isn’t going to be a problem as long as the bulk part of your hedgehog’s plant-based diet has a good ratio.
The key is to understand what foods offer a poor ratio and only feed them as treats only.
Are There Any Benefits to Hedgehogs Eating Apples?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any real benefits to feeding your hedgehog apples other than the fact that they will enjoy them.
Sometimes it can be nice to offer your hedgie a nice little treat and a small amount of juicy apple can certainly make a nice little treat.
At the bottom of this post, we will share 5 fruits that are healthier for your hedgehog than apples.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Apple Seeds?
Hedgehogs shouldn’t really eat apple seeds due to the fact that they actually contain cyanide. Source:
If your hedgie swallows the odd apple seed it’s unlikely to cause any major harm, however, eating a large number of seeds could be potentially dangerous to their health.
For this reason, it’s better to remove all apple seeds when you offer your hedgehog apples as a treat.
How Often Can Hedgehogs Eat Apples?
Due to the reasons we mentioned throughout this post, apples aren’t a fruit that you should really feed to your hedgie on a daily basis.
Most breeders will recommend that you offer fruit no more than around 3 times per week anyway.
For this reason, we recommend offering your hedgie apple no more than once per week as a treat and even less often than this also fine.
The best way to feed apple to your hedgehog is in a fruit and veg mix.
What’s The Best Way to Serve apples to Hedgehogs?
A lot of fruit and veg that you feed to your hedgehog will require slightly different preparation.
For this reason, we have decided to put together a simple but handy guide that helps you to quickly learn the best way to prepare and serve apple to your hedgie.
Check out the guide below…
Grab Organic – We always recommend purchasing an organic option if it’s available.
We understand that it may cost more for the organic option but it’s a lot better for your hedgies health in the long run.
Give It a Peel – We would always recommend taking off the skin of the apple as it can get stuck in the month of your hedgie.
A Tiny Piece Is Plenty – Most breeders only recommend giving your hedgehog 1 tsp of fruit and veg mix per day so ½ tsp is all you need.
You can serve this in a tiny chunk or mash it up, the choice is yours.
Mix With Other Veg – As we briefly mentioned above, mix the apple with veg totalling 1 tsp and then you are ready to serve to your hedgie.
5 Other Fruits That You Can Feed Your Hedgehog
Knowing what fruits are the healthiest for your hedgehog can be hard at the best of times.
For this reason, we have researched the best fruits for hedgehogs and put some of our favourites in a list below.
It’s important to know that fruits aren’t as healthy or nutrient-dense as greens and veggies, however, they do make a good treat and the options we provide will be among the best available.
Here are the fruits we have chosen…
To make things even easier, we have also added them to a handy table so you can see them side by side and see which ones you want to add to your hedgies diet.
Here’s the nutritional information for 5 great fruits for your hedgehog…
Nutritional Information (5 Healthy Fruits For Hedgehogs)
|Water||88.15 g||87.32 g||88.06 g||90.95 g||85.75 g|
|Energy||43 kcal||46 kcal||43 kcal||32 kcal||52 kcal|
|Protein||1.39 g||0.46 g||0.47 g||0.67 g||1.2 g|
|Fat||0.49 g||0.13 g||0.26 g||0.3 g||0.65 g|
|Carbohydrate||9.61 g||11.97 g||10.82 g||7.68 g||11.94 g|
|Fibre||5.3 g||3.6 g||1.7 g||2 g||6.5 g|
|Sugar||4.88 g||4.27 g||7.82 g||4.89 g||4.42 g|
|Calcium||29 mg||8 mg||20 mg||16 mg||25 mg|
|Iron||0.62 mg||0.23 mg||0.25 mg||0.41 mg||0.69 mg|
|Phosphorus||22 mg||11 mg||10 mg||24 mg||29 mg|
|Sodium||1 mg||2 mg||8 mg||27 mg||69 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.03 mg||0.057 mg||0.038 mg||0.047 mg||0.055 mg|
|vitamin A RAE||11 µg||3 µg||47 µg||1 µg||2 µg|
|vitamin A IU||214 IU||63 IU||950 IU||12 IU||33 IU|
|Vitamin C||21 mg||14 mg||60.9 mg||58.8 mg||26.2 mg|
|Vitamin E||1.17 mg||1.32 mg||0.3 mg||0.29 mg||0.87 mg|
|Vitamin K||19.8 µg||5 µg||2.6 µg||2.2 µg||7.8 µg|