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Hedgehogs are wild animals that are illegal to own in some parts of the United States. This article is for you if owning a hedgehog as a pet is not prohibited or if you have recently discovered a hedgehog.
Hedgehogs can go for two weeks without food, although this depends on their age and size. Their size determines how much food can be stored and converted to energy.
Hedgehog diet is an essential aspect of their proper growth and development; this is why we have included information on the signs that your hedgehog is starving, what to do when they are hungry, and how to care for them.
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How long can hedgehogs go without eating?
Mature hedgehogs can go without food for two weeks if they have access to water and were properly fed at their last meal. Your hedgehog can survive for four days without water.
Keep in mind that the amount of time your hedgehog can go without food is determined by its size and age. Despite their small size, they should not be deprived of food and water. Otherwise, they will develop health problems that could lead to death.
Your hedgehog should not go for more than three days without food or water for proper growth and development. If your hedgehog is starving for an extended period, its immunity will deteriorate as it will become susceptible to diseases.
Signs that your hedgehog is dehydrated
The following are symptoms of dehydration in your hedgehog:
- If you pull some of the spines on your hedgehog’s back and the skin does not spring back or takes longer than usual to spring back, your hedgehog may be dehydrated.
- Another sign of dehydration is if your hedgehog is wobbly and has difficulty walking.
- Your hedgehog may be dehydrated if it is static and does not respond to stimuli.
What to do when your hedgehog is dehydrated
This guideline will help rehydrate your hedgehog quickly:
- If your hedgehog has been thirsty for an extended period, make a rehydration solution.
- A rehydration solution mixes boiled water, salt, and sugar. Use a syringe or pipette to feed the fluid to your hedgehog.
If your hedgehog is severely malnourished and does not appear to recover after attending to its needs, you should take it to a veterinarian for proper medical attention.
Signs that your hedgehog is starving
Hedgehogs that have been starved for an extended period usually exhibit the following symptoms:
- Change in appearance: If your hedgehog has lost weight and is scraggly, it is malnourished and needs proper care and attention.
- Wobbly steps: An indication that your hedgehog is starving is that it will struggle to walk in a balanced manner.
The symptoms above indicate other health conditions; confirm your hedgehog’s health by visiting a veterinarian.
What to do when your hedgehog is starving
After confirming that your hedgehog is starving and not suffering from any condition, follow these steps to help your animal recover:
- Create a feeding schedule that meets your hedgehog’s nutritional requirements. Because they are nocturnal, you can feed them in the evening.
- Introduce food to your hedgehog gradually and in small amounts. Overfeeding your hedgehog can lead to other health issues.
Caring tips for hedgehogs
Care instructions for your hedgehog are provided below:
- Ensure that the feeding schedule meets your hedgehog’s growth requirements.
- Never overfeed your hedgehog, as this can cause digestive upset.
- Avoid neglecting your hedgehog for an extended period. If you must travel without the hedgehog, make arrangements for its care so that it can be properly cared for while you are away.
- Avoid placing your hedgehog’s cage near drafts, direct sunlight, or cold environments.
- Avoid feeding seeds, hard fruits, raw meat, onions, bread, and uncooked hard raw vegetables to your hedgehog.
- Ensure your hedgehog’s cage is sized correctly, ventilated, and warm.
- Incorporate regular veterinary visits into your schedule. Regular veterinarian visits are an effective care measure to confirm the health status of your hedgehog.
- Provide a food and water bowl that the hedgehog cannot easily tip.
- If you keep your hedgehog in a garden, you can pile up grass to attract insects that it can eat.
- Avoid exposing your hedgehog to pesticides.
What do hedgehogs eat?
Hedgehogs eat insects such as crickets, mealworms, earthworms, and crushed cat or dog biscuits.
How long do hedgehogs live?
Hedgehogs live an average of 2 to 5 years. Wild hedgehogs live an average of 2-3 years, while domesticated hedgehogs can live up to 5 years.
Hedgehogs are considered wild animals; however, some individuals have domesticated them as pets.
Hedgehogs require special care because of their sharp spines. You can follow the caring tips provided if you have a pet hedgehog.