What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild? (Everything They Eat And Some Things They Stay Away From!)

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In the wild hedgehogs will eat predominantly insects and other small invertebrates. This provides them with all of the nutrition that they need.

Hedgehogs are fascinating creatures in the wild. They are typically hard to spot given that they are nocturnal creatures and are very good at hiding and camouflaging themselves amongst the leaves and undergrow. This is where they are able to find most of their food. 

There are many reasons why it is important to know what hedgehogs can and cannot eat in the wild.

Knowing this will allow you to help take care of any hedgehogs that you may come across, making your garden a more welcoming place for wildlife.

To learn more about what hedgehogs eat in the wild keep reading.

And if you’re looking for information on what to feed a pet hedgehog, go here instead!

What Do Hedgehogs Eat In The Wild

In the wild hedgehogs are foraging creatures.

They will typically have a diet consisting of beetles, insects, and small invertebrates.

For example, a typical wild hedgehog diet may look something like the following: beetles, caterpillars, earwigs, slugs, and earthworms. 

Hedgehogs are not overly fussy creatures and will eat any of these little creatures that they can find. They are not usually too difficult for them to find given that they live in similar conditions to wild hedgehogs.

Are Hedgehogs Omnivores, Carnivores, Herbivores, Insectivores, Or Something Else?

Hedgehogs are actually omnivores. This means that they eat both plants and animals.

They are not overly fussy and simply want to eat. Hedgehogs often change their diet depending on what is available to them. So, for example, after hibernation, Afghan hedgehogs will usually eat a lot of berries, making a large part of their diet herbivorous. 

How Do Hedgehogs Find Food In Nature

Hedgehogs are foragers. This means that they will spend a large amount of time combing through the leaves on the ground, grass, and other plants in order to look for things to eat.

They will eat anything that they can find on the surface of the ground or they may even dig. This ability allows them a much better chance of finding food.

However, hedgehogs have particularly poor eyesight. This means that even if there is food in front of them, they may not be able to see it.

Luckily, they have a fantastic sense of smell! This allows them to hunt for, and find their food even when they cannot see it.

Because they are nocturnal animals this skill comes in incredibly handy in the low light.

Do Wild Hedgehogs Eat Varied?

Hedgehogs in the wild have a wonderfully varied diet. This is because they will eat most things that they come across (that are suitable and that they can).

So, whereas a pet hedgehog may receive the same food day in and day out a wild hedgehog can eat berries one day and then insects and small invertebrates the next.

This helps to keep them nice and healthy.

Do Hedgehogs Eat A Lot?

Hedgehogs can actually be greedy little things, but this is natural for them.

They are creatures that hibernate which means that they need to build up a large fat storage in order to be able to get through the winter.

So, hedgies in the wild can indeed eat a lot and will usually do so just before hibernation. 

Similarly, once they come out of hibernation they will need to rebuild this fat storage and build their body back up to a nice and healthy weight where they may have lost weight over the winter period.

When Do Hedgehogs Eat? How Often?

Hedgehogs will usually eat at night because they are nocturnal animals.

This means that almost every night they are out on the hunt for food. They will forage through the leaves and grass in order to find what they can and consume it. 

When they are foraging they will also typically make a loud snuffling sound, as they are using their fantastic sense of smell to help them find food.

They will keep looking for food until they are full or until the morning when they will return to their homes.

Hedgehogs can travel a long distance throughout the night so exactly how long they have to look for food depends on how long it will take them to travel back home.

Do Hedgehogs Eat Together?

Generally, hedgehogs are solitary creatures. This means that although it is not impossible to see more than one hedgehog eating together it is unlikely.

However, if the hedgehogs are related then the chances of them eating together increase. 

For example, you may be able to spot hoglets eating with their mother if you are lucky. They will do this until they are old enough to leave the family nest and then they themselves will become solitary animals. 

Do Hedgehogs Eat Bugs Like Ants, Woodlice, Beetles, Roaches, Junebugs, Crickets, or Even Scorpions?

Hedgehogs will indeed eat bugs and are not particularly fussy when it comes to which ones.

For a hedgehog food is food and if they can eat it the chances are that they will. Ants, beetles, and woodlice are very common food for a hedgehog to eat and actually make up the majority of its diet.

However, even if a bug has the ability to sting or hurt the hedgehog this is not typically a deterrent. This means that it’ll even scorpions, spiders, and that kind of thing too!

Hedgehogs are determined little creatures – especially when hungry!

What About Worms, Earthworms, Wax Worms, Hornworms or Even Maggots?

Yes, hedgehogs also eat worms and maggots. In fact, these form a very important part of the hedgehog’s diet, providing them with the nutrients that they need.

Because worms are not typically found on the surface, the wild hedgehog will need to put their claws to use and get digging.

They will snuffle around on the ground in order to be able to sniff out the worms and other creepy crawlies. They can then dig down into the dirt and munch away on their prize.

Do Hedgehogs Eat Slugs Or Snails?

Hedgehogs do actually eat slugs and snails which makes them the perfect friend to a gardener.

Because slugs and snails can munch away at your hard work (for example, lettuce leaves) having wild hedgehogs in the garden can help to keep this under control. 

So, be aware that if you use any pesticides to kill off slugs and snails that they may then be eaten by unknowing hedgehogs. This can lead to problems.

Do They Feed On Amphibians Such As Frogs, Toads And Newts?

Just like with most things that they can find, hedgehogs will happily eat frogs, toads, and newts. They will either eat any dead creatures that they can find or they have also been known to hunt living animals. 

Frogspawn is also a favorite snack of wild hedgehogs.

What About Snakes, Lizards, And Other Reptiles?

Hedgehogs are actually immune to a lot of different poisons and toxins which gives them the ability to eat snakes and reptiles without suffering any consequences.

However, there can sometimes still be complications.

In order to eat snakes, hedgehogs will usually hunt them.

Do Hedgehogs Like To Eat Small Invertebrae Such As Mice, Rats Or Small Birds?

Hedgehogs are opportunists and will eat mice if they are available.

It is the same with small birds, they will happily eat them if they are readily available, however, they are not quick enough to be able to catch them out of the sky.

Do Hedgehogs Eat Any Kind Of Fish? Maybe Crustacians?

Fish and crustaceans are actually one of the food groups that hedgehogs do not eat.

However, the reason for this is that they are not readily available to wild hedgehogs. Also, despite being able to swim, they do not have the ability to be able to hunt fish. So, even if there were a pond full of fish wild hedgehogs would not be able to eat them.

Do Hedgehogs Eat Eggs In Nature?

Hedgehogs will indeed eat eggs in nature and they are not fussy about the type!

Birds eggs of any variety are a treat for wild hedgehogs who will steal them away to munch on if they have the chance.

Do Hedgehogs Eat Any Plants In The Wild?

Hedgehogs do eat plants, for example, berries, but of course, this depends on the season. They mostly go for calorie-rich fruit over vegetables and other plants.

This means that they are not so likely to munch away on grass! They will prefer to eat insects and small creatures instead.

Hedgehog in grass among apples and leaves

Do They Eat Nuts, Acorns, And Peanuts?

Typically, wild hedgehogs will not eat any type of nuts. However, if you happen to have left some out in your garden for the birds then you may find that the hedgehog takes this opportunity.

They should not be eating nuts in excess due to their high fat content.

What About Herbs, Grass, Or Leaves?

No, hedgehogs will not eat grass in the wild. They have evolved to eat animals and insects instead and grass does not form a natural part of their diet.

To sum up

Hedgehogs are wonderful creatures that take advantage of every opportunity. They will eat and eat until they cannot eat anymore. They are also not fussy allowing them to eat almost anything that they come across.

They can travel very far in one night in order to get their food intake but will want to get home before the sun rises!

They will eat almost anything that they can, even if it is venemous. However, they are not adapted to eat some types of food, such as fish. 

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