Why Is My Hedgehog Not Eating?

You brought your new pet home and the hedgehog is not eating? Or your beloved pet suddenly stopped eating? In this article, I'm going to tell you why that might be. But notice I'M NOT A VETERINARIAN if you have any concerns about the health of your little hedgie you should go on a trip to the vet with him!
Hedgehog not eating

Several different things can cause your hedgehog to stop eating. Some of them are kind of normal and you can solve the problem right away. Others are serious and need the treatment of an expert. None the less you should watch your hedgie closely as the lack of appetite can be the first sign of a sick hedgehog. [1]

New Environment

If you just got your hedgie and he is not eating right away when you both arrive at your place that is most likely no reason to worry. The pet needs one or two days to get used to its new surroundings. Exploring the habitat, trying unknown toys and running in the exercise wheel is just more interesting than food at the moment.

Additionally, the journey was just too thrilling. Maybe now it is time to take a nap or sleep most of the day (and night). Your little hedgie might be a bit afraid too. After he has settled appetite will come back most likely.

Diet Change

A change in the diet might not work out as expected. Concerning their food hedgehogs are like humans and there are things that they just don’t like. Dry food sometimes is too boring.

You can easily check if this is the case by offering him some of his favorite treats. Experts also recommend changing the diet gradually. The stomach and digestive system in hedgehogs are sensitive and a drastic change can cause issues like an intestinal blockage.

Make also sure, that you offer a variety of different foods. The basis should be quality hedgehog food or cat food for hedgehogs. Additionally, you can feed different fruits, legumes and insects. But have in mind crickets and mealworms can lead to obesity if given too often. [2]

Dehydration

Drinking is more important in the short term. Dehydration goes hand in hand with your pet hedgehog not eating. Hedgehogs often like filtrated water more than just water from the tap. Some breeders even recommend offering well water.

However, have in mind that even water can taste hugely different. Try some variations and make sure it’s always fresh.

Some hedgies have problems using a dripping bottle. In general, it is better to use a water bowl in the cage even if your little friend might tap it over. If you still want to use a bottle, offer both variants until you are sure that your hedgehog can handle the bottle. Water bottles can also get blocked. Check the function daily when you change the water.

Severely dehydrated pets must be taken to the vet as they will continue to refuse to drink.

Discomfort

Another cause of your hedgehog not eating can be simple discomfort. Are you sure that all his needs are met? Down below you find a list of things that can cause uncomfortable situation:

  • It’s too cold. 75°F is the perfect temperature for your prickly pal. Are you using a heat lamp and is installed the right way? Make also sure you placed the cage in a room without draft.
  • Did you buy a good hedgehog cage that is suitable for the critter? Especially if the cage is too small that can be critical. Lethargic pets living in a small cage can turn into a bundle of energy again when the enclosure is changed.
  • Is the cage at the right place? Your pet should be near you most of the time. That said, you should avoid rooms with too much activity. Make sure it’s not too loud and that the light is switched off in the night.
  • Another cause might be loneliness. You can check this by trying to hand-feed the hedgie. If he eats from your hand or a syringe this is maybe his idea to get some more attention. In this case, you should increase the one-on-one time and play more often with your little friend. You can also take your pet hedgehog with you in a carrier bag.
  • Last but not least, the feelings of your pet can be affected by weather changes. In this concern, hedgehogs are just like we humans.

Illness

Illness is of cause the most serious matter. Take your hedgehog to the vet immediately if you have any doubts that something with his health is wrong.

It might be, that your pet has a blockage from some bedding, fleece or parts of a toy he has eaten. Tooth or gum issues are can also have an influence on eating habits. Have a look into his mouth and watch for broken or missing teeth, infections, changed colors and stinky odor.

Cancer and other severe illnesses can also be a cause.

What You Can Do

Now you have detailed information about why your hedgehog might refuse his food. In this section, I want to list everything you can or should do.

  • Take your pet to the if you have only the slighted concerns about his health.
  • If your hedgehog is new, wait to introduce him to toys and the wheel.
  • Make sure it’s warm enough. 75°F is the optimal temperature for pet hedgehogs.
  • Make sure the cage is at the right place without drafts and too much noise.
  • Make sure he lives in good condition and all his needs are met.
  • Try to offer him his favorite treats or even wet cat food.
  • Hand-feed your little friend.

Conclusion

There are several things you can try to get your hedgehog to eat again. Be a responsible owner and take him to the vet if you think it’s a disease. Especially if the problem developed slightly and you notice a weight loss of your hedgie.