It’s nice to give your hedgehog to some tasty fruit such as grapes as a treat but can hedgehogs actually eat grapes? Or are grapes a food that needs to stay out of your hedgehog’s food bowl?
Let’s take a closer look at how grapes affect hedgehogs and if they can be safely added to their diet.
So can hedgehogs eat grapes? According to many vets and experts, hedgehogs shouldn’t eat grapes. This is due to the fact that grapes are thought to be toxic to hedgehogs and may cause severe health issues such as renal failure.
Read on to find out…
Why Can’t hedgehogs Eat Grapes?
Before we share the 5 foods that we recommend you feed your hedgehog instead of grapes, first let’s take a deeper look at why hedgehogs can’t eat grapes.
As we were researching for this post we found many top-level vets and medical sites stating that grapes are either toxic or simply shouldn’t be fed to hedgehogs period.
One such site was the College Of Veterinary Medicine at Unversity Florida, who named grapes on their list of foods not to feed your hedgehog.
Veterinary Partner also talks about how grapes can cause kidney failure in a wide range of pets even though the reason for this isn’t yet known in the medical community.
The fact that grapes can have severe health implications such as kidney failure means that it’s not even worth trying your hedgie with just a small portion.
Experts don’t yet understand if it’s the seeds, skin or another element of the grapes that causes the problems but one thing they do know is that grapes can have a negative effect on your hedgehog’s health.
The bottom line is that grapes are strictly off the menu so now let’s take a look at 5 foods that your hedgehog can eat instead of grapes…
5 Foods to Feed Your Hedgehog Instead Of Grapes
Ok, so we’ve researched 5 alternatives you can feed your hedgehog instead of grapes.
2 of the choices are fruits so you still feel like you can offer your hedgie something tasty as a treat.
Both choices are fairly low in sugar for fruit as well as packed with antioxidants and other nutrients.
The other 3 choices and healthy greens that are packed with excellent nutrients such as calcium and more.
Here are the 5 fruits & greens we have selected as an alternative to grapes…
- Dandelion Greens
- Collard Greens
So you can get a better visual idea of what each food offers nutritionally, we have put the nutritional data for each of the foods in a table below…
Nutritional Information (5 Healthy Fruits & Greens)
|Name||Broccoli||Collard Greens||Dandelion Greens||Strawberries||Raspberries|
|Water||89.3 g||89.62 g||85.6 g||90.95 g||85.75 g|
|Energy||34 kcal||32 kcal||45 kcal||32 kcal||52 kcal|
|Protein||2.82 g||3.02 g||2.7 g||0.67 g||1.2 g|
|Fat||0.37 g||0.61 g||0.7 g||0.3 g||0.65 g|
|Carbohydrate||6.64 g||5.42 g||9.2 g||7.68 g||11.94 g|
|Fibre||2.6 g||4 g||3.5 g||2 g||6.5 g|
|Sugar||1.7 g||0.46 g||0.71 g||4.89 g||4.42 g|
|Calcium||47 mg||232 mg||187 mg||16 mg||25 mg|
|Iron||0.73 mg||0.47 mg||3.1 mg||0.41 mg||0.69 mg|
|Phosphorus||66 mg||25 mg||66 mg||24 mg||29 mg|
|Sodium||33 mg||17 mg||76 mg||27 mg||69 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.175 mg||0.165 mg||0.251 mg||0.047 mg||0.055 mg|
|vitamin B-12||0 µg||0 µg||0 µg||0 µg||0 µg|
|vitamin A||31 µg||251 µg||508 µg||1 µg||2 µg|
|Vitamin C||89.2 mg||35.3 mg||35 mg||58.8 mg||26.2 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.78 mg||2.26 mg||3.44 mg||0.29 mg||0.87 mg|
|Vitamin K||101.6 µg||437.1 µg||778.4 µg||2.2 µg||7.8 µg|
When looking at the nutritional value of foods such as berries it’s interesting to find at the antioxidant levels as these generally aren’t shown in the general nutritional data.
In some cases, the most impressive nutritional factor of food such as berries is its antioxidant level.
The way antioxidants are measured is in something called an ‘ORAC score’.
We have taken the data for both strawberries and raspberries and compared it to that of grapes and oranges so you can see how the antioxidants stack up.
Check out the ORAC scores in the table below… Source:
ORAC Score (Antioxidant Levels)
In the wild, hedgehogs are opportunistic feeders and will eat a certain amount of fruit and veggies. Source:
In captivity, the trick is to feed your hedgie fruit that feels like a treat but at the same time can offer nutrients and isn’t too sugary.
This is why we love berries such as strawberries. They are packed vitamins and loaded with antioxidants.
As you can see from the ORAC score above, they have 4x the antioxidants of grapes.
Strawberries also only contain 4.89g of sugar which is pretty low when compared to grapes that contain 15.48g per100g.
It’s important to remember that strawberries are on this list as a treat and not a staple but as you can see they are a much better choice than grapes and many other fruits.
If you want to find out more about strawberries and how often your hedgie can eat them in their diet as well if there are any concerns to feeding strawberries too often then head over to our recent post at shares all you need to know as an owner!
Raspberries are also another good option as a fruit for hedgehogs.
Again, just like strawberries, they are fairly low in sugar for a fruit. Raspberries contain 4.42g or sugars per 100g and to put this in perspective, carrots contain roughly the same amount of sugar with 7.74g per 100g.
If you’re interested to find out more about the benefits and potential risks of feeding too many carrots to your hedgehog then we have created an easy to follow guide that shares all you need to know about carrots here.
Raspberries are also packed with antioxidants too and contain a generous 5065 units per 100g according to the ORAC score.
Blueberries are known to he high in antioxidants but they actually have a lower ORAC score than raspberries with 4669 units per 100g (only wild blueberries that are hard to source in grocery stores have over 9000 ORAC units)
Remember all fruit that contains sugar should be offered in moderation but it’s good to provide your hedgehog with some foods that offer them a variety of nutrients and benefits such as the berries we have mentioned here.
3. Dandelion Greens
Dandelion greens are highly nutritious and a food you can feed to your hedgehog regularly.
They are edible from root to flower and are packed full of important vitamins and fibre.
Looking at the table above, you can see that dandelions offer 3.5g of fibre per 100g.
Dandelions greens also make a good choice of food to feed to your hedgie due to high amounts of calcium as well as vitamins A and K.
One of the best parts about dandelions greens is that they are edible from the root to the flower so there is virtually zero waste.
This is a great food to add to your hedgehog’s diet and one that’s easy to prepare too.
4. Collard Greens
Collard greens are another powerhouse of a food that we recommend you try and add to your hedgehog’s diet whenever possible.
They tick a number of important boxes such as low in sugar and high in dietary fibre.
Collards are also amazingly high in calcium with 232mg of calcium per 100g.
When you compare this to grapes that only offer 10mg of calcium, you can see just how packed with calcium collards really are.
All in all, collards are a great option to add to the food bowl due to their great variety of nutrients.
Last but not least on our list it’s broccoli. While it’s not quite as much of a nutritional powerhouse as dandelion and collard greens, broccoli still offers a whole host of nutrients.
The great things about broccoli are that a large number of families already use broccoli in their home cooking so cooking a little extra to give to your hedgehog isn’t a big deal.
Broccoli provides many vitamins such as vitamin A, C and K and is an easily accessible vegetable to add to to the food bowl.
Why not check out our full hedgehog diet guide that shows you in one easy to follow list what foods your hedgehog both can and can’t eat.