Carrots are readily available in most countries and are also considered both healthy and nutritious for us humans but can your hedgehog actually eat carrots too?
We decided it’s time to take a deeper look at just how healthy carrots are for hedgehogs and if they should even be consuming them at all.
Throughout the post, we will reference vets, animal nutritionists and health experts to give you the answers you need so you can be confident you are making the right choice before you add carrots into your hedgies diet.
So can hedgehogs eat carrots? Carrots are safe for hedgehogs to eat and can be added to their diet. If you feed your hedgehog on foods that are already fortified with vitamin A then you may need to only offer carrots occasionally as they are naturally high in vitamin A also and too much vitamin A can cause toxicity.
Read on to learn…
Carrots | Nutritional Information
It’s always important to know the nutritional value of the foods you offer to your hedgehog.
Things like the amount of protein, fat, sugar, calcium and vitamins all help you to understand if carrots are a food worth feeding to your hedgie or not.
We have included the nutritional data for carrots in a handy table that you can refer back to at any point you wish.
Check out the nutrition for carrots below. Source:
Nutritional Information (Carrots)
Can Hedgehogs Eat Carrots (A Closer Look)
Carrots are safe for your hedgehog to eat and while we were conducting our research for this post we found many vets and experts to be backing this up.
One such expert is Pet-MD who states that hedgehogs can eat carrots in a recent article they wrote on hedgehog care.
Carrots have some great nutritional benefits that can be great for your hedgehog, which we will look at more closely shortly.
Even though carrots have many benefits, you still need to feed them with caution depending on the main diet you feed your hedgie as sometimes too much of certain vitamins can be a negative.
Let’s now take a closer look at both the benefits and potential downsides and risks of overfeeding your hedgehog carrots…
Are There Any Benefits to Hedgehogs Eating Carrots?
Carrots have many nutritional benefits although 3 such benefits stand out when you are considering feeding them to your hedgehog.
In the sections that follow we will break down and focus on these 3 benefits…
Vitamin A & Beta Carotene
Carrots are famously noted for having the ability to keep eyes and vision healthy and this is due to the large amounts of vitamin A they contain.
They also contain copious amounts of beta-carotene, which according to Medical News Today, is also a precursor for vitamin A.
Looking at the table we provided above, you can see that carrots contain 835µg or vitamin A and 8285µg of beta carotene per 100g.
As well as being great for vision, which isn’t naturally great with hedgehogs. Vitamin A is also good for the skin and the immune system.
Phosphorus & Calcium
As a general rule of thumb, you want your hedgehog to consume more milligrams of calcium in their diet than milligrams of phosphorus overall.
This is because phosphorus stops calcium from being absorbed and if too much phosphorus is consumed regularly compared to calcium then bone and teeth problems can occur.
According to Valewildlife, the recommended ratio is 1:1 or 2:1 in favour of calcium.
If you feed your hedgie a couple of foods that have a poor ratio then it’s not the end of the world as long as the majority of their diet has a good ratio to compensate.
We recommend checking out our recent post that walks you through your hedgehog’s diet in an easy to understand guide and shares all the foods they can and can’t eat here…
Carrots do actually have an acceptable calcium to phosphorus ratio. They contain 33mg of calcium and 35mg of phosphorus per 100g.
Obviously there is slightly less calcium and this doesn’t exactly match the 1:1 ratio but it’s hardly anything especially if you’re feeding your hedgie other high calcium foods like the ones we share with you at the bottom of this post.
Are There Any Risks to Hedgehogs Eating Carrots?
Even though carrots are great for the skin, immune system and of course eyes and vision, the vitamin A that provides these benefits can also be a problem if it’s over consumed.
Too much vitamin A in the system can actually cause toxicity which can lead to all sorts of health problems that can be hard to pinpoint unless you are aware it’s the excess vitamin A that’s causing it.
These symptoms can be things like nausea, loss of appetite and more.
One the vitamin A in the diet is reduced then everything should be back to normal again pretty quickly.
If you are feeding your hedgehog on a diet that’s fortified with vitamin A then there’s a good chance that they will get their full daily recommended dosage of the vitamin in their staple diet.
This means that you should be cautious before giving your hedgie lots of carrots on a regular basis as well as their staple food as these foods combined could be giving your hedgie way too much vitamin A.
The best thing to do is to check the label of the food you provide your hedgehog and see how much if any vitamin A is added to the food.
This shouldn’t put you off feeding your hedgehog a diet that’s specifically designed for hedgehogs, in fact, this is what we recommend and we give details of the brands we suggest you use in this guide here…
What it does mean though, is that you just need to understand the foods you offer and how often to offer them.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Carrots Daily?
There isn’t really any yes or no to this question and if you read the heading above then you will know that this will largely depend on what the rest of your hedgehog’s diet looks like.
So as we mentioned above, if your hedgehog isn’t getting much vitamin A in their diet then you can probably offer them carrots around 3-4 times per week.
This will give lots of nutrients and also allow some variation in their diet with other foods such as kale, or dandelion greens.
If your hedgehog is eating a main diet that’s specifically manufactured for hedgehogs that contains their daily required dose of vitamin A then it’s not really a good idea to feed them carrots this often.
Other greens and veggies you offer your hedgie may also contain moderate amounts of vitamin A and so you will need to keep an eye on the total amount of this vitamin they consume in order to avoid vitamin A toxicity.
If this is the case then offering carrots once per week should be fine. This really will be different for each owner and how much vitamin A is in the diet you offer them.
Hedgehogs only have small stomachs and don’t need any more than around 1tbs of carrots per serving.
How Should I Prepare Carrots For My Hedgehog to Eat?
The experts at VCA-Hospitals don’t recommend feeding raw carrots to the hedgehog as they can get stuck in the roof of their mouth.
For this reason, we recommend either boiling some carrots or steaming them before adding them to your hedgehog’s food bowl.
Hedgehogs only need a small portion of veggies and greens in their bowl so around 1tbs or carrot will be great.
We understand it’s not really cost-effective to use your cooker and boil carrots to just use 1tbs worth and throw the rest away.
What may be a better idea is to wait until you are cooking carrots for your dinner and then give your hedgie some as this is probably more cost-effective.
One other thing that’s worth mentioning is that you should always try and buy organic fruit and veg for your hedgehog is you can.
Pesticides can be harmful to both animals and humans and if you can feed your hedgehog an organic diet that isn’t laced with harmful chemicals then it’s going to help their health in the long run.
Something that’s often overlooked is giving your hedgehog a good quality food bowl that won’t tip and get food everywhere.
In our food and accessories guide, we show the bowls to allow your hedgie to easily eat their food without tipping their food all over the cage.
What Other Foods Can My Hedgehog Eat Instead Of Carrots?
As you probably now know, carrots are a great food for hedgehogs as long as they aren’t getting too much vitamin A in their diet already.
It can, however, be confusing to find out what other greens are good for your hedgehog.
To make this easy, we have put together a list of 4 great greens that your hedgie will really get some nutritional benefit from.
We’ve also put them in a handy table side by side with carrots so you can compare them and see which greens you want to add to your hedgies diet.
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|