Hedgehogs love to eat and will eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables but can hedgehogs eat bananas? Or should they be strictly off the menu?
In this post, we will look at advice from vets and nutritional experts to bring you all the fact and information you need before choosing to add bananas to your hedgehog’s food bowl.
So can hedgehogs eat bananas? Hedgehogs can eat bananas as part of a varied and balanced diet. Hedgehogs are known to struggle with obesity in captivity and bananas are high in sugar so only feeding them occasionally is recommended.
Read on to learn…
Bananas | Nutritional Information
To truly understand if a food is healthy for a hedgehog and how often it can be part of their diet, first, it’s important to take a look at the nutrients it offers.
We have provided the nutritional information for bananas from the USDA so you can use it for reference.
We will use the information in the table throughout the post so feel free to come back and check out the table when needed.
Nutritional Information (Bananas)
Can Hedgehogs Eat Bananas? | More Info
As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, bananas are safe for hedgehogs to eat
This is backed up by many experts such as Veteriankey who also added bananas in their list of safe foods for hedgehogs to eat.
Even though hedgehogs can safely eat bananas, it doesn’t mean that it’s recommended that you should feed them to your hedgie on a consistent basis.
It’s important to understand what the nutritional benefits of bananas are compared to the nutritional concerns of overfeeding them.
If you would like a complete guide to what food hedgehogs can eat then check out our easy to follow diet guide for hedgehogs here…
In the wild, hedgehogs mainly eat a diet consisting of insects and other high protein animal matter but research has shown that they also eat a small amount of fruit and greens when the opportunity presents itself.
As with most fruits, there are both pros and cons to eating fruit and adding it to your hedgehog’s diet in the right amounts is key.
Let’s now look at the good and not so good nutritional factors that you need to know before offering bananas to your hedgehog…
Are There Any Health Benefits For Hedgehogs Eating Bananas?
Even though most fruit is minerally poor compared to the majority of veggies and greens, they do offer some nutritional benefits too.
According to Healthline, bananas are high in dietary fibre. Looking at the table we provided above, you can see that bananas contain 2.6g of fibre per 100g which is a really healthy amount.
Fibre is responsible for aiding the digestive system and allowing stools to be passed easily and regularly. Source:
Fibre also helps to maintain a healthy weight and blood sugar levels.
According to Healthline bananas are also packed with many antioxidants, these are important for the immune system and overall health and well being.
Are There Any Health Concerns For Hedgehogs Eating Bananas?
Even though bananas contain some nutrients that are important to their health and well being, they contain some nutrients that can cause them harm if they are offered in excess.
Let’s breakdown the two most important issues and concerns with feeding your hedgehog bananas too often…
High In Sugar
Hedgehogs in captivity are notorious for gaining weight easily and eventually becoming obese.
In fact, Vetmed wrote about this in a recent article they posted about hedgehog care.
This means that you need to be careful what foods you offer to your hedgehog, especially ones that are high in fat or sugar.
Bananas are naturally high in sugar and the sugar content actually increases as they ripen and become more yellow.
Again, looking at the table above, you can see that they contain 12.23g of sugar per 100g grams.
This means that you really need to be careful of how often you feed your hedgie bananas in order to keep their weight at a healthy level.
(later in the post we will cover how often and in what amounts we recommend you offer your hedgehog bananas)
Poor Phosphorus to Calcium Ratio
Something that’s often overlooked is the calcium to phosphorus ratio of food.
In basic terms, phosphorus stops calcium from being absorbed in the body so it’s recommended to offer a diet that is higher in calcium than phosphorus.
It’s widely recommended that animals such as hedgehogs get a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:1 to 2:1 Source:
If you feed your hedgehog the odd food from time to time that is out of balance then it’s not a massive problem as long as the main part of their diet falls into the healthy recommended range.
The nutritional table we provided shows that bananas actually have a poor ratio with only 5mg of calcium and 22mg of phosphorus per 100g.
This is another reason why bananas should only be added to your hedgehog’s diet in moderation.
How Often Should Hedgehogs Eat Bananas?
In the wild, the main part of a hedgehog’s diet will be insects and similar, however, they will still eat a small number of greens and fruits when they are on offer.
It’s important to try and mimic your hedgehog’s diet as much as possible.
Some breeders suggest hedgehogs can eat fruit up to 2-3 times per week and depending on the sugar content of the fruit this may be fine.
When it comes to bananas, we would recommend you add them into your hedgehog’s diet ideally no more than once per week due to the high sugar content.
You will need to consider the weight of your hedgehog and feed them less sugary foods such as bananas if they are putting on weight.
This is only a guideline and you will need to use your own judgement and even consult your local vet if you are in doubt.
How to Prepare Bananas For Hedgehogs
As bananas are already soft, they really don’t need a great deal doing to them in order for them to be ready for your hedgehog to eat.
For the reasons we have mentioned throughout this post, it’s best to only feed your hedgie a small portion of bananas at any one time.
Around 1tbs of banana is all you need to add to your hedgies food bowl.
You can add the banana to the food bowl either in one piece or mushed up, it’s up to you and what your hedgehog prefers.
You should always use non-tip bowls that are easy to eat from as this will encourage your hedgehog to eat from the bowl if they find it easy to do so.
These kinds of bowls don’t have to be expensive either. We show you where you can get well designed, non-tip food bowls for next to nothing on our recommended accessories page
5 Great Alternatives Hedgehogs Can Eat Instead Of Bananas
Sometimes it can be hard to know what food to feed your hedgehog to keep them healthy and also keep mealtimes interesting too.
To make this a little easier and to give you some inspiration, we have included 5 alternative foods that hedgehogs can eat instead of bananas.
We haven’t included any fruits as generally the sugar content is high. Instead, we have listed 5 really good quality greens and can be fed more often than bananas.
The 5 alternative foods we recommend you feed your hedgehog are…
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
To put the nutritional value of each of these foods in perspective when compared to each other and even bananas, we have put the nutritional value of each of them in a handy table below…
Nutritional Information (5 Healthy Hedgehog Foods)
|Name||Kale||Collard Greens||Dandelion Greens||Arugula||Carrots|
|Water||89.63 g||89.62 g||85.6 g||91.71 g||88.29 g|
|Energy||35 kcal||32 kcal||45 kcal||25 kcal||41 kcal|
|Protein||2.92 g||3.02 g||2.7 g||2.58 g||0.93 g|
|Fat||1.49 g||0.61 g||0.7 g||0.66 g||0.24 g|
|Carbohydrate||4.42 g||5.42 g||9.2 g||3.65 g||9.58 g|
|Fibre||4.1 g||4 g||3.5 g||1.6 g||2.8 g|
|Sugar||0.99 g||0.46 g||0.71 g||2.05 g||4.74 g|
|Calcium||254 mg||232 mg||187 mg||160 mg||33 mg|
|Iron||1.6 mg||0.47 mg||3.1 mg||1.46 mg||0.3 mg|
|Phosphorus||55 mg||25 mg||66 mg||52 mg||35 mg|
|Sodium||53 mg||17 mg||76 mg||27 mg||69 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.147 mg||0.165 mg||0.251 mg||0.073 mg||0.138 mg|
|vitamin B-12||0 µg||0 µg||0 µg||0 µg||0 µg|
|vitamin A||241 µg||251 µg||508 µg||119 µg||835 µg|
|Vitamin C||83.4 mg||35.3 mg||35 mg||15 mg||5.9 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.66 mg||2.26 mg||3.44 mg||0.43 mg||0.66 mg|
|Vitamin K||389.6 µg||437.1 µg||778.4 µg||108.6 µg||13.2 µg|