What not to feed hedgehogs.

Most people would love to help hedgehogs. They help in the garden by eating pests and are generally an adorable little creature. But most people don’t know what not to feed hedgehogs.

Why the right food matters

Misplaced help can be worse than not helping at all. Feeding the spiky little creatures the wrong food can cause serious harm.

A hedgehog feeding house and a water bowl.
A hedgehog feeding house and a water bowl.

What not to feed hedgehogs.

The following foods should never be left out for hedgehogs:

Dairy products

Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so cannot properly digest dairy products. Unfortunately hedgehogs don’t understand the concept of lactose intolerance and will greedily eat any dairy products left out for them. This causes a host of unpleasant digestive problems which the hedgehog could do without.


Hedgehogs love eating bugs so meal worms should be no different. Well that isn’t quite true. Mealworms are high in phosphorus which reduces the ability to absorb and use calcium. This can lead to brittle bones and deformities in the babies. Watch this video for more info.

Sweet treats.

High in calories but not as nutritious as the high protein diet they would normally eat.

Bread and milk.

This was the traditional thing to put out for hedgehogs and they absolutely love it. However as hedgehogs are lactose intolerant it is really not good for them and compared to the meaty bugs they normally eat it is low in calories. It is also low in the protein they need to grow stronger. So the hogs may eat till they are full but will soon be hungry again. In the late summer and autumn they are eating with a view to hibernation so they need to put on as much weight as possible.

Seeds and peanuts.

This type of food can get stuck in their mouths causing problems with feeding. They are also high in phosphorus so can cause long term problems for the hogs and their families.

Processed meats.

Processed meats like ham or bacon have high levels of salt which isn’t part of a hedgehogs natural diet.

Dried fruit.

This has a very high sugar content which isn’t as healthy for a hedgehog as a high protein diet.

To watch some hedgehog feeding and drinking action subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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