Strawberries are one of those delicious fruits that most of us love to eat. But what about your cute hedgies? Can hedgehogs eat strawberries?
Hedgehogs can eat strawberries and it is also a nutritious treat for them containing various vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers beneficial for them. Moreover, strawberries also have low sugar content, but overfeeding can cause health problems such as diarrhea and diabetes.
Keep reading to find more about the advantages and disadvantages of strawberries, which parts of strawberries are safe for hedgehogs, and some other related topics. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Advantages of Strawberries for Hedgehogs
Some Nutrition Information of Strawberry: (Portion 100g)
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||2 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||7.68 g|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||58.8 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.047 mg|
|Folate, total||24 µg|
|Folic acid||0 µg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.29 mg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||2.2 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.015 g|
|Calcium, Ca||16 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.41 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||24 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||13 mg|
|Potassium, K||153 mg|
|Sodium, Na||1 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.14 mg|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||4.89 g|
1. Rich In Dietary Fibers
As per WebMD, a tiny strawberry can be packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and more. Fibers can help in the smooth functioning of the digestive tract.
As we have already seen in the strawberry nutrition table that 100g of strawberry can offer 2g of fiber. This amount is actually a healthy dose and is beneficial for helping digestion and stool formation.
2. Contains Various Vitamins
Strawberries are also rich in vitamins, especially Vitamin C.
100 g of strawberry can offer around 58.8 mg of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid is important and needed for the development, growth, and repair of all body tissues.
3. Contains Minerals Like Iron, Calcium, And Magnesium
Strawberries also contain minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals can help in keeping the bones healthy and strong.
4. Low Sugar Content As Compared To Most Fruits
Many fruits have high sugar and so letting your hedgehog eat them can actually be harmful. Pet hedgehogs have the tendency to become obese.
However, with strawberries, as long as you feed them in small adequate quantities, this will not be the case. Strawberries have low sugar content as compared to most common fruits.
Portion: 100 gm
Disadvantages of Strawberries for Hedgehogs
1. Although Strawberries Have Low Sugar, Overfeeding Can Be Harmful
Strawberries have many nutrients and thus beneficial. However, they contain sugar, and even though strawberries are a low sugar content food, if overfed then it can raise issues for the hedgehogs.
The digestive system of a hedgehog is not well adapted to digest the sugar. So overfeeding them can cause digestive issues and even lead to diarrhea.
Furthermore, overfeeding strawberries will eventually cause an increased amount of sugar intake which can even cause diabetes.
If you give strawberries in moderation then it most probably won’t do any harm. Just overfeeding can give rise to health-related issues such as diabetes and stomach upset.
2. Strawberries Have Poor Calcium to Phosphorous Ratio
Strawberries don’t have balanced calcium to phosphorous ratio. In an animal body, around 80% of P is found in the skeleton. Its major role is basically as a constituent in the teeth and bones.
Calcium and P are actually closely associated with each other in animal metabolism.
As per green-feathers.co.uk, it is recommended that the ideal hedgehog’s total diet would have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1 to 1:1.
Giving your hedgehogs some foods that have bad calcium to phosphorous ratio isn’t going to be much harmful provided the major part of the diet has a healthy ratio.
Strawberries, and sadly, a lot of other fruits have poor calcium to phosphorous ratio. 100 g of strawberries offer 16 mg calcium and 24 mg phosphorous.
All these facts suggest that even though it is safe to give strawberries to hedgehogs, it is not good to give strawberries to them too often, specifically if you give your hedgehog other foods with improper ratio.
Which Portion of Strawberry is Safe For Hedgehogs?
The top portion of the strawberry should be avoided because it can contain pesticides unless you purchase organic chemical-free strawberries. However, it is safe to feed strawberries with seed-like pores because the actual seeds are too small to matter.
1. Can Hedgehog Eat Strawberry Top?
If you are thinking about feeding strawberries to your hedgehog then you might have also considered feeding them the top of the strawberry. But can hedgehogs eat strawberry tops?
Technically, yes, hedgehogs can eat strawberry tops because hedgehogs are omnivores and they can eat plants as well as animal-based products.
Moreover, the top of the strawberry (calyx) has Vitamin C and dietary fibers. Plus, they also have low sugar content. So these facts suggest that the strawberry tops are actually healthy for hedgehogs. But wait, are they really safe for our cute hedgies?
The thing is, if you had grown the strawberries in your own home garden without using chemicals, then they would be safer. But it is highly likely that you would have bought the strawberry from the market.
And the strawberries you find in the market are actually commercially grown and the top of those strawberries might have been sprayed with pesticides to protect them from insects.
If by chance, the hedgehogs ingest the pesticides or any kind of harmful chemicals, then it can cause a bad impact on the hedgehogs.
So ultimately, you can either avoid feeding the strawberry tops to your hedgehogs, or you can look for and find such strawberries that are grown organically without the use of any harmful chemicals.
2. Can Hedgehogs Eat Strawberry Leaves?
Yes, hedgehogs can eat the fibrous strawberry leaves. But in reality, they won’t get attracted to eating the strawberry leaves because they aren’t leaf-eating animals.
They are basically omnivores and insectivore animals. Occasionally, they might munch a few plant leaves, but usually, they won’t be interested in eating the leaves.
So even though you would try to feed strawberry leaves to your hedgehogs, most likely they will ignore it.
And if you are interested in feeding your hedgehogs something healthy and fibrous then you can feed them things like kale and dandelion greens. They will help in adding not only fiber but also other nutrients to the diet of your hedgehog.
3. Can Hedgehogs Eat Strawberries Along With Their Seeds?
When you feed your hedgehog strawberries then seeing the seed-like pores, you might think whether or not it will be safe for your hedgehog to eat such a strawberry.
And to understand that you need to know what actually strawberry is. Though strawberries are referred to as a fruit, they are actually more related to a flower.
Botanically, a strawberry fruit is considered an accessory fruit, not a true berry. The flesh of the strawberry is basically an enlarged flower receptacle and is embedded with many true fruits or achenes, which we popularly call seeds.
In other words, the small seed-like pores that you notice on a strawberry’s surface are not seeds but actually tiny fruits, and all of them have tiny seeds of their own.
So in terms of safety, the seeds of the strawberry are too small to even be considered and so you can feel safe to feed your hedgehog a strawberry with seeds.
How Many and How Often Should You Feed Strawberries to Hedgehogs?
As a general rule, you can feed your hedgehog a strawberry once a week and 1 tablespoon would be usually enough. But if you are also feeding other fruits then you should offer strawberries once every two weeks.
Please remember, feeding strawberries to your hedgehog can depend on different factors such as whether or not you give high sugar fruits and foods, how often, and also whether or not they have balanced calcium to phosphorous ratio.
One thing for sure you need to remember is to never overfeed strawberries to your hedgehogs because of the bad effects it may cause to your cute hedgie.
What Other Fruits Can Hedgehogs Eat Other Than Strawberries?
Here are some fruits that hedgehogs can eat other than strawberries:
As per vcahospitals.com, Hedgehogs can eat a variety of things in the wild such as insects, some plant materials, and occasionally small baby mammals as well.
However, it is important to note that the diet of hedgehogs in the wild isn’t the same as the pet hedgehogs we keep in our homes.
In general, different hedgehogs will have different diets depending on where they are from. Mostly the pet hedgehogs are the African Pygmy.
As a pet, hedgehogs should mainly be given high-quality hedgehog foods. Apart from that, a small number of insects, fresh vegetables and fruits can also be offered.
It is recommended to ask your vet about what vegetables and fruits you should actually give your hedgehog.
Remember, a diet that is high in protein, low in fats, and chitin rich is ideal for pet hedgehogs. As compared to their wild relatives, pygmy hedgehogs do not tend to hibernate and they don’t spend much energy.
They can also be greedy eaters and also get prone to obesity. Hence, as a hedgehog owner, you should feed them carefully in an adequately controlled proportion only.
In short, Hedgehogs are mainly insectivores, but they are also referred to as an omnivore and so they can eat both plant and animal-based products, provided they are safe. Strawberries don’t contain any elements that can harm your hedgehog as long as there are no pesticides sprayed on them.
However, even though strawberries are nutritious and have low sugar content, overfeeding is not advised as it can be harmful to the hedgies. So you should rather consider strawberries as a treat.