Since the year 2000, the UK's hedgehog population has fallen by half. That is why it has become more and more important to help out the hedgehogs where we can! Here at Brinvale, we are often asked what can hedgehogs eat and seeing things on social media which don't always portray the full truth behind things, most controversially, feeding mealworm to hedghogs. This can cause people to feed hogs in a way which would be unnatural to their usual dietary balance. For these reasons and more, we decided to put a bit together for you to read to have the facts on what you can feed our spiky friends along with some information on the food we provide.
Can I Feed Mealworms to Hedgehogs?
YES! Yes, you can feed hedgehogs mealworms, BUT they can only be fed as part of a balanced diet and/or as a treat. Mealworms have a low calcium content which means the hogs have to strip the calcium from somewhere else in their bodies if they do not get all the nutrients and calcium required. This can cause MBD – Metabolic Bone Disease.
What Is Metabolic Bone Disease?
MBD is a horrible disease that can be found in Hedgehogs, birds and even humans. This causes weakened muscle action and tremors which also affect the heart. The symptoms can be a weakening of the bones, reduced nerve transmission and also joint abnormalities. The cause of MBD is a result of the calcium to phosphorous ratio being unbalanced in the body. When MBD progresses through the body the blood loses the ability to clot which in turn causes cardiac arrest, paralysis and seizures.
What Not To Feed Hedgehogs
You must not feed milk to hedgehogs under any circumstances. As hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, putting milk out for them will cause diarrhoea, stripping them of the vital nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy. You should also not leave any form of cooked meat out as this can become a breeding ground for salmonella and other pathenogenic bacteria, especially on warm days when the hogs are active. Mealworms, although having a good protein content, can cause harm as when eaten in large amounts can be a direct cause for MBD which is why we suggest only feed them in small quantities and as part of a balanced diet, or as an occasional treat.
What Do Brinvale Stock?
We stock a variety of hedgehog feeds including our Hedgehog Biscuits and Hedgehog Biscuit Boost. Our Hedgehog Biscuits are hugely popular with our customers and are a firm favourite amongst their little spikey chums.
The Hedgehog Biscuits are formulated to give the right balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Due to its crunchy texture, it also promotes dental health. These biscuits are naturally tasty and have no added sugar, colours or artificial flavours making it a healthy and nutritious option. In the Biscuit Boost we have included dried mealworms as an extra treat. But again, the ratio of mealworms to the biscuits has been carefully considered to ensure that the hog won't be eating too many.
For those of you who may wish to know what goes into our biscuits, then below is a breakdown of all the ingredients we use for the Hedgehog Biscuits on offer here.
Poultry Meat Meal, Wheat, Wheatfeed, Whole Maize, Rice, Poultry Oil, Brewers Yeast and Whole Linseed.
Crude Protein 25.0%, Crude Oils & Fats 12.0%, Crude Fibres 3.0%, Crude Ash 7.0%
Nutritional Additives (per kg):
Vitamin A 22,000 iu/kg, Vitamin D3 2,200 iu/kg, Vitamin E 120 mg/kg (as tocopherol), Taurine 500mg/kg, Trace Elements: Ferrous sulphate monohydrate 167 mg/kg, Zinc oxide 104mg/kg, Manganese oxide 40 mg/kg, Cupric sulphate pentahydrate 20 mg/kg, Calcium iodate anhydrous 1.60 mg/kg, Sodium selenite 0.20 mg/kg, Antioxidants.
If you have any questions on Hedgehogs and our Hog Food then please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.