Hedgehogs are insectivores (insect eating creatures). Crickets, therefore, are a favourite snack for wild and domesticated hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs, like any other creature, require a complex balance of nutrition in order to maintain optimal bodily functioning.
In the wild, hedgehogs have access to a range of food types and thus have ample opportunity to keep topped up across many naturally abundant ingredients. They will simply adjust their foraging habits to compensate for one type of nutrient or another.
Domesticated hedgehogs, however, are limited by their owner’s ability to feed them exactly what they need. It is therefore important that whether we feed domesticated or wild hedgehogs that we understand the breadth of their requirements.
If we are not careful, we could be at fault (particularly in the case of domesticated hogs) of leaving them undernourished.
Things to know about crickets
As often noted so far in relation to hedgehogs and their diet, it is important to be mindful of the quality of foods that hedgehogs eat.
To little, too much or the complete absence of any particular type of nutritional element will lead to health complications within a hedgehogs body.
The nutritional content of a cricket is subject to:
- its environment,
- how it was raised an,
- what it has also been eating.
It is therefore recommended that hedgehogs feed only on crickets which we raised as feeders to ensure they also had a well rounded, quality diet. This way whatever they pass on the hedgehog will also be good value.
Crickets raised in the wild rather than raised in captivity will have been exposed to naturally occurring parasites toxins and bacteria, which are a danger to any feeding hedgehog.
If crickets were raised on agricultural land, it is possible that they may have come into contact with pesticides and herbicides, which can have toxic effect on hedgehogs.
If the crickets were raised as bait, then manure might have been their feed. In which case, again, parasites could be a threat to any hedgehogs you feed on them.
Can you feed hedgehogs live crickets?
Live feeding of insects provides some stimulation to hedgehogs. However, containing the insect and the hedgehog together long enough for the hunt to reach a climax is a challenge.
If in the wild, trap the cricket in a hedgehog house or feeding station for best results.
For best nutritional content it is advised that the crickets be ‘gut loaded’ before leading them into the hedgehog’s habitat. This ensures that the full nutritional value of whatever the cricket has eaten is also passed on to the hedgehog.
If the hedgehog is struggling to catch the cricket – then you could either kill or stun the cricket by freezing it in your freezer for a few hours. This makes it much easier for the hedgehog to grab a hold of.
How about freeze dried crickets?
You can buy freeze dried crickets from a number of reputable suppliers who assure consistent levels of nutritional value.
Freeze dried crickets are usually the cheapest price per bug and have a longer shelf live than the canned variety.
|Crickets FFD (Fluker’s Freeze Dried)
|Crickets GCF (Gahnn’s Cricket Farm)
|Crickets GRU (Grubco)
|Crickets ZMC (Zoo Med’s Canned)
Table of nutritional content of freeze dried crickets – courtesy of Hedgehog Quarters
Be careful not to crush the freeze dried crickets in the packet because if they break down to dust, your hedgehog won’t be able to feed on them.
You don’t want to lose neither nutritional benefit, nor value for money.
In short, yes, hedgehogs can feed on crickets. As part of a well balanced diet, crickets can provide great nutritional benefit particularly in the way of protein and fat.
Considering the preparation of the cricket before feeding would be prudent – either live, free dried or canned according to what is convenient.
All in all, a cricket or two will be a welcome snack to either wild or domestic hedgehogs.
Do you have success stories or tips for feeding crickets to hedgehogs, either in the wild or at home?
Join the conversation below.