Watermelons are a fruit that is common in households throughout the world and seen as a delicious treat but can hedgehogs safely eat watermelons?
We have researched the work of animal nutritionists and vets to bring you
an easy to follow guide that explains everything you need to know about feeding your hedgehog watermelons.
Let’s start by tackling the main question with a clean and informative answer…
So can hedgehogs eat watermelons? Hedgehogs can eat a small amount of watermelon in their diet. Watermelon is rich in vitamins such as vitamin A, B6 and C. Unfortunately, watermelon also has an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio so it’s best served as a treat only.
Read on to discover…
Watermelons | Nutritional Information
We have included a table that provides the most relevant nutritional information for watermelons.
Throughout the post, we will reference this table so feel free to come back here and check out some of the key nutrients we talk about.
Take a look at the nutritional info below…
Nutritional Information (Watermelon)
|vitamin A RAE||28||µg|
|vitamin A IU||569||IU|
Can Hedgehogs Eat Watermelons? (A Closer Look)
Many hedgehog owners often ask in hedgies can safely eat watermelon in their diet and this is mainly due to the fact that watermelons are one of those fruits that just seem to make a great treat.
The good news is that hedgehogs can eat watermelon in their diet and we also included this fruit in our full list of foods that hedgehogs both can and can’t eat right here…
Watermelons contain many nutrients that are beneficial to hedgehogs, having said this, they also contain some nutrients in unbalanced levels.
This means you need to only offer your hedgie watermelon as part of a balanced diet.
We will cover the benefits and the potential concerns of overfeeding watermelon to your hedgehog in the sections that follow…
Are There Any Benefits to Hedgehogs Eating Watermelons?
In truth, watermelons are about 92% water but having said this, they still do offer some beneficial nutrients for your hedgie.
Watermelons actually contain significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C. Source:
By looking at the table above, you can see that watermelons offer…
- Vitamin A (RAE) – 28µg
- Vitamin A IU – 569 IU
- Beta Carotene – 303 µg
Vitamin A contributes to helping the body in many ways, including…
- Normal vision
- Aiding the immune system
- Helping organs such as kidneys & heart to work properly Source:
Hedgehogs have poor eyesight by nature so adding a little vitamin A in their diet won’t hurt, although too much vitamin A can cause toxicity so if you are feeding your hedgehog a multivitamin supplement then it’s best to limit the foods you offer them that are high in vitamin A.
As we mentioned above, watermelons also contain vitamins B6 & C which also help with…
- Healthy skin
- Blood vessels
- Healthy Bones
The only thing you need to be careful about with vitamin C is that you don’t feed your hedgie a lot of foods that contain high amounts of vitamin C in a short period of time as this can cause diarrhoea.
Are There Any Concerns to Hedgehogs Eating Watermelons?
After reading the section above, you may now be thinking that watermelons are packed with nutrients and make a great food choice to feed to your hedgehog on a regular basis?
Unfortunately, watermelons even though watermelons are packed with vitamins they do have a downside to them too.
Watermelons actually have an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio.
So what does this mean? Phosphorus binds to calcium and prevents it from being absorbed and used in the body.
If a hedgehog constantly consumes more phosphorus than calcium in their diet then they have a high chance of contracting illnesses such as MBD also known as metabolic bone disease.
Many experts recommend that for a food to have a healthy and balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio, the ratio needs to be 1:1 or 2:1 Source:
Again, if you take a look at the table above, you can see that watermelons contain 7mg of calcium and 11mg of phosphorus per 100mg. This means that the recommended ratio is basically upside down.
Note: this unbalanced ratio doesn’t mean that you should be scared to feed watermelon to your hedgie, but it does mean that you need to offer watermelon in moderation and with other high calcium foods such as…
- Dandelion Greens
- Collard greens
You can check out our list of greens, veggies and fruits that hedgehogs can eat in our FREE diet guide here…
How Often Can Hedgehogs Eat Watermelons?
Even though watermelons provide plenty of valuable vitamins for your hedgie, the fact that they have an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio means that you need to feed them in moderation.
Although there’s no set amount of times per week or month you should feed hedgehogs fruit such as watermelons, many vets recommend feeding fruit around 2-3 times per week.
With this in mind, we feel it would be wise to offer watermelons no more than once per week alongside high calcium greens.
The other days you offer fruit to your hedgie can be a mix of other choice fruits so your hedgehog gets a rounded variety of nutrients.
Fruits such as strawberries are a great option, you can see exactly how often to feed your hedgie strawberries and how to prepare them in our full strawberries guide here…
What’s The Best Way to Prepare Watermelons For Hedgehogs?
Some fruits and veggies can cause a little concussion when it comes to preparing them for your hedgehog.
For this reason, we have put together a short and informative guide that will quickly help you to understand the best way to prepare and serve watermelon to your hedgie.
Take a look at the guide below…
Go For Organic – We always recommend grabbing an organic option for fruit, veggies and greens whenever possible.
We understand that this can increase the cost of your shopping bill but it’s always better to feed your hedgie foods that are pesticide-free when you have the chance.
No Need to Wash – Usually, we now recommend giving the food a thorough wash, however, because you will only be serving the flesh of the watermelon, there isn’t any need.
Take Out the Seeds – One thing you do need to do is take out the seeds of the piece of watermelon you are intending to give to your hedgie.
Portion Size – Even though watermelons are huge, you only need to feed your hedgehog a really tiny portion of the fruit. In fact, your hedgie should only really have 1 tsp of fruit and veg mi per day.
This means that if watermelon is the only fruit you are feeding them then you only need to offer ½ a tsp.
How Should You Prepare & Feed Watermelon to Wild Hedgehogs?
Preparing and offering watermelon for a wild hedgehog that enters your garden is basically the same process as above.
The only thing that you might want to do differently is to offer a full 1 tsp of watermelon if you aren’t feeding any greens or veggies too.
You will also need to provide any food you give to visiting hedgies in your garden in a dish or bowl that they can easily eat from.
Here are some great bowls that we recommend for hedgehogs as well as the best places to get them from…
5 Bonus Fruits That You Can Feed Your Hedgehog
As promised, we have put together a list of 5 fruits that your hedgehog can safely eat.
It’s important to understand that greens and veggies are much healthier for hedgehogs than fruits but the fruits we have included in this list are some of the best options available.
Some of the fruits may have an balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio while others may not. Remember to feed all fruits in moderation and with nutrient-rich greens.
The fruits we have chosen are…
We have also put the 5 fruits in a table that shares their nutritional information so you can see which ones you might be a good option to add to your hedgehog’s diet.
Check out the nutritional table below…
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|