KIDS ASK: What Do Hedgehogs Eat?

Hedgehogs are carnivorous animals that are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and now New Zealand. There are about 15 different species of these unique and appealing little critters.

Called opportunistic feeders, hedgehogs eat whatever food is available. In the wild, hedgehogs feed primarily on insects. Their diet includes beetles, slugs, earthworms, caterpillars and other insects. Insects supply the hedgehogs with  fiber and chitin, a material found in insect exoskeletons. Being nocturnal (most active at night), these prickly little critters also munch on snails, frogs, birds’ eggs, and small animals. They are mainly carnivores, but have been known to supplement their diet with plants and mushrooms as well.

Although they have excellent hearing and sense of smell, hedgehogs have very poor eyesight. Hedgehogs mainly use their sense of smell to forage for insects, often in hedges. As the hedgehog searches for food, it makes a grunting noise quite like that of a hog, thus the name "hedgehog."