Can Hedgehogs Eat Lettuce? Alternative Greens for Tiny Hedgies 

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Can Hedgehogs Eat Lettuce

What happens if we add lettuce to our hedgie’s meals as a main fiber source? Will it work? Can hedgehogs eat lettuce

Hedgehogs can eat romaine lettuce but iceberg lettuce is a big no. Romaine lettuce is high in minerals but has low fiber content. Hence, offer the romaine lettuce only in moderations. As for iceberg lettuce, it is high in water content and raises the risk of mineral deficiency. 

Keep reading for more details.



Can Hedgehogs Eat Lettuce Leaves? 

Hedgehogs can eat lettuce. Unfortunately, not all lettuces are healthy for prickly pigs. Take romaine lettuce as an example. 

Romaine lettuce is your hedgie’s favorite. Though this lettuce is low in fiber, it is high in minerals. In romaine lettuce, you will find calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It means the hedgehogs are not prone to malnutrition. 

Let’s consider the famous iceberg lettuce now. Honestly, this lettuce is a big show-off.

Yes, iceberg lettuce includes vital minerals like potassium, vitamin C, and iron. But this leafy green is 96% water. You have read the number right. Hence, stuffing your quill balls with iceberg lettuce will cause mineral deficiency for sure. 

In short, hedgehogs can eat only the right type of lettuce (e.g., romaine lettuce) in moderation. 


The Good And Bad in Lettuce for Hedgehogs 

As mentioned, selecting the wrong lettuce type can cause your hedgies a health hazard. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of lettuce for our spike balls in general. 

Pros

  • A few lettuce, like Romaine lettuce, are high in minerals and vitamins. Offering those leafy greens can promote good health in the hedgehogs. 
  • Lettuces are mostly high in water content. Therefore, they can prevent dehydration in the pets. 

Cons

  • Lettuce is low in fiber. As a result, it comes to no use for protein digestion in the hedgehogs. 
  • As lettuce is high in water, the hedgies feel full quickly and refuse other meals. This can cause mineral deficiency in them. 
  • Resources say our quill balls require a minimum of 15% fiber. As we know, lettuce has a low fiber percentage, and choosing it might lead to indigestion. 

How Much Lettuce Is Safe for Hedgehogs? 

How Much Lettuce Is Safe for Hedgehogs
Photo courtesy to Canva

Stuffing your hedgehog with lettuce is the worst decision. We recommend avoiding iceberg lettuce altogether. 

As for Romaine lettuce, chop and mix it with other green vegetables. Never depend on the lettuce to be the main fiber source for the hedgies. 

A Gentle Reminder

1/2 tablespoon of vegetables and greens is enough for your quill balls. Do not fill the plant portion with lettuce. Offer these leafy greens only occasionally. 


Can Hedgehogs Eat Lettuce Seeds? 

Can Hedgehogs Eat Lettuce Seeds
Photo courtesy to Canva

Lettuce seeds are not healthy for hedgehogs. If we breakdown the nutritional value of 100 grams of lettuce seeds, it will look as follows: 

Protein 28 grams
Fat 23 grams 
Phosphorus 979 mg 
Calcium 267 mg 

The protein percentage is obviously lower, and the fat content is slightly higher than required. Well, that would not be a problem. But look at the calcium and phosphorus ratio. 

According to research, 1:1 to 2:1 Calcium: Phosphorus ratio is healthy for our hedgies. The phosphorus content is terribly high in lettuce seeds. 

Offering lettuce seeds as treats regularly will cause several medical complications. Such as:

  • A higher fat percentage can help the hedgehogs gain weight quickly. 
  • An obese hedgie might suffer from arthritis, joint pain, and organ failure. 
  • A higher phosphorus ratio causes calcium deficiency in pocket pets.
  • Lack of calcium soon develops metabolic bone diseases. The hedgehogs suffer from weak bones, frequent fractures, broken teeth, splayed legs, limping, etc. 

In short, our suggestion is to avoid feeding your prickly pigs lettuce seeds. If you want to experiment with this item, only offer it as a treat. 


What Vegetables Can Hedgehogs Eat? 

Leafy greens and vegetables are not a staple diet for hedgehogs. Yet, we can not remove them completely. This is because hedgies require fibers and a backup mineral source. And what could be a better fiber source than vegetables?

However, the vegetable and green options are limited for hedgehogs due to their nutritional profile. Hedgies can not eat vegetables or greens with high starch, oxalate, and phosphorus. But don’t worry. We have made a safe vegetable list for you:

  • Arugula 
  • Endive 
  • Escarole 
  • Dandelion green
  • Broccoli 
  • Collard green 
  • Asparagus 
  • Sweet potato 
  • Turnip 
  • Green pepper 
  • Kale 
  • Radis 
  • Cilantro 
  • Cucumber 
  • Pea 
  • Sprouts 
  • Zucchini 

Conclusion

Hedgehogs can eat romaine lettuce in moderation. This lettuce is low in fiber and high in minerals. Yet, you need to offer the green in small portions. It is even better if you mix romaine lettuce with a fiber-rich vegetable or leafy green. 

Iceberg lettuce, on the other hand, is not healthy for hedgehogs. This green contains high water content and low mineral percentage. Therefore, pets can be at a risk of mineral deficiency. 


FAQs 

Can hedgehogs eat potato salad?

Potatoes are high in starch. Unfortunately, hedgehogs can not digest starch quickly. Therefore, starch accumulates in the stomach, causing indigestion, constipation, and impaction. You should avoid feeding your hedgies potatoes in any form (raw, boiled, fried, or salad).

What do hedgehogs eat in the garden? 

After the winter, wild hedgehogs often visit our gardens for food and a stay. They mostly look for worms, insects, and small lizards or mice for hunting. The hedgies barely touch the plant leaves and stems. You can make a small home for the wild hedgehogs and offer them meals regularly. 

Can hedgehogs eat celery? 

Hedgehogs can not eat high-starch items like celery, corn, potatoes, carrots, etc. If they consume these foods regularly, they will suffer from indigestion, constipation, and impaction. It is better to avoid celery and other starchy foods. But you can use them as treats and feed the hedgies in moderation. 

Can hedgehogs eat spinach?

Spinach is high in oxalate. Hedgehogs show severe reactions to high oxalate foods. Skin rash, nausea, vomiting, painful urination, etc., are common side effects of a high-oxalate diet. We highly discourage offering your spinach, rhubarb, and oxalate-rich greens.

Can hedgehogs eat tomatoes? 

Tomatoes are high in fiber and rich in vitamin C. Yet, tomatoes are not healthy for hedgehogs due to the imbalance in Calcium and Phosphorus (1:3). Regular consumption of tomatoes leads to metabolic bone diseases in pets. Either avoid tomatoes altogether or offer them to the hedgehogs in moderation.

About the author

Susana

Susana

Susana Jean, Pocket Pet Expert and Sugar Glider Aficionado Hi everyone! I’m Susana Jean, your go-to wordsmith and pet enthusiast who has a special place in her heart for the fascinating world of sugar gliders.…Continue reading

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