Do hedgehogs eat their poop?

Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Poop? Discover Surprising Facts!

As a professional copywriting journalist, I’ve been fascinated by the question of whether hedgehogs eat their own poop. Through extensive research and firsthand observation, I’ve uncovered some surprising facts about these adorable creatures and their unique habits.

Before we dive into the intriguing topic of hedgehog poop-eating, let’s first explore their digestive system and natural behaviors. By understanding these key aspects of hedgehog care, we can gain insight into their habits and promote a healthy lifestyle for our prickly friends.

Key Takeaways

  • Hedgehogs have a simple gut that allows for efficient processing of their food.
  • Hedgehogs primarily eat a mix of insects, small invertebrates, and occasionally fruits and vegetables.
  • Poop-eating can actually be beneficial for hedgehogs, as it helps them obtain essential nutrients and enzymes for their digestive system.
  • As responsible hedgehog owners, it’s crucial to maintain a clean and hygienic habitat for your pet.
  • By sharing knowledge and promoting responsible pet ownership, we can ensure our prickly friends live happy and healthy lives.

The Hedgehog Digestive System

As I mentioned earlier, the hedgehog digestive system plays a significant role in their unique behavior, including poop-eating. Hedgehogs have a simple gut that allows for efficient processing of their food, which primarily consists of insects and small invertebrates. Let’s take a closer look at how their digestion works.

Digestive System Component Description
Mouth Hedgehogs have sharp teeth that allow them to break up tough exoskeletons of insects and other prey.
Stomach Hedgehogs have a muscular stomach that grinds up prey into small pieces.
Intestines In the intestines, hedgehogs utilize beneficial bacteria to break down and absorb nutrients from their food.
Anus This is where waste products, including feces, exit the hedgehog’s body.

The hedgehog digestive system is streamlined to ensure that hedgehogs efficiently extract all the necessary nutrients from their food. This is why they have a relatively short digestive tract compared to other animals of similar size. It’s also why they consume their own poop, to extract any nutrients that may have been missed during the first round of digestion.

Next, we’ll explore the specific dietary habits of hedgehogs and how they impact their poop consumption behavior.

What Do Hedgehogs Eat?

Understanding a hedgehog’s diet is crucial in determining their poop-eating behavior. Hedgehogs are insectivores, meaning they primarily eat insects and other small invertebrates. In the wild, hedgehogs also consume berries, fruits, and vegetables as supplements to their diet.

As a pet owner, it’s essential to replicate their natural diet to ensure they remain healthy and happy. Commercial hedgehog food is readily available and contains a mix of protein sources, including chicken, turkey, and fish. Additionally, supplementing their diet with mealworms and crickets can provide additional protein and promote natural foraging behavior.

Food Portion Frequency
Commercial hedgehog food 1/4 to 1/2 cup Every day
Mealworms 4 to 6 pieces 2-3 times per week
Crickets 2 to 3 pieces 2-3 times per week

It’s important to note that hedgehogs have a sensitive digestive system and can experience digestive problems if fed a diet high in fat or lacking in essential nutrients. Avoid offering them foods high in sugar, salt, or artificial preservatives, as well as dairy products.

Overall, promoting a healthy and balanced diet is essential to prevent excessive poop-eating behavior and ensure your hedgehog remains healthy and happy.

The Surprising Habit of Poop Consumption

Now, let me dive deeper into the curious behavior of hedgehog feces consumption. You’re probably wondering why in the world these little creatures would have such a peculiar habit.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that hedgehogs are not the only animals that eat poop. In fact, this behavior, known as coprophagy, is common among many different species.

“Coprophagy is a normal behavior among a lot of animals, especially herbivores,” says Dr. Mike Corcoran, a veterinarian at DoveLewis Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon. “They eat their own feces to retrieve nutrients that weren’t absorbed the first time around, like vitamins B and K.”

So, while it may seem gross to us, this behavior serves an important purpose for hedgehogs. By consuming their own poop, they’re able to obtain essential nutrients and enzymes for their digestive system that they may have missed on the first go-around.

The Role of Poop in a Hedgehog’s Health

Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t poop full of harmful bacteria?” While that can be true, hedgehogs have a unique digestive system that allows them to safely consume their own waste. Because their food is processed so quickly, their feces don’t have a chance to develop harmful bacteria.

In fact, poop consumption can be beneficial for hedgehogs. According to The Hedgehog Welfare Society, consuming poop can help hedgehogs maintain a healthy weight and digestive system. Additionally, it can help them replenish important gut bacteria that may have been lost due to illness or antibiotic use.

Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Own Poop?

So, we’ve established that poop-eating is a normal and beneficial behavior for hedgehogs. But why do they specifically engage in this behavior?

One theory is that it’s connected to their natural foraging behavior. Hedgehogs are known for rooting through leaves and dirt in search of food. By consuming their own waste, they’re able to re-consume bits of food that they might have missed the first time around.

Another theory is that hedgehogs are simply trying to keep their environment clean. Because they’re nocturnal animals that spend most of their time in one area, consuming their waste helps keep their space tidy and free of excess waste.

Ultimately, while it may seem strange to us humans, poop-eating is a completely normal and healthy behavior for hedgehogs.

The Role of Poop in a Hedgehog’s Health

Despite the ick factor, consuming their own waste can actually be beneficial for hedgehogs. Hedgehog waste consumption provides essential nutrients and enzymes that aid in their digestion, ensuring optimal health.

For example, hedgehogs consume their feces to obtain vitamin B and other beneficial bacteria that weren’t absorbed during their initial digestion. This aids in the digestion of their food and strengthens their immune system.

It’s important to note that excessive waste consumption can be a sign of an unhealthy diet or stress. If you notice your hedgehog engaging in this behavior excessively, it’s important to evaluate their diet and living conditions to ensure they’re receiving proper care.

As a hedgehog owner, it’s crucial to monitor your pet’s waste consumption and ensure they have access to a well-balanced diet. Providing a varied mix of insects and small invertebrates, along with occasional fruits and vegetables, can help minimize the likelihood of excessive waste consumption.

Understanding Hedgehog Behavior

As a hedgehog owner, I’ve come to observe these adorable creatures and their unique behavioral patterns. Understanding hedgehog behavior is crucial in comprehending their poop consumption habits. Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal and have excellent hearing and sense of smell, allowing them to forage for food at night. They have a natural instinct to eat everything they come across, including their own poop.

In the wild, hedgehogs consume their poop to obtain essential nutrients and enzymes that their digestive system may have missed during the first round of digestion. This behavior helps them conserve energy and survive long periods of food scarcity.

Fun fact: Hedgehogs also engage in “self-anointing,” a behavior where they lick and spread saliva on their spines to camouflage themselves with the scent of their surroundings.

The Significance of Foraging Behavior

Hedgehogs are natural foragers, and their behavior can provide insight into their poop-consumption habits. In the wild, hedgehogs will travel long distances in search of food, water, and mates. This behavior is essential for their survival, as it allows them to obtain the necessary resources for their physical and reproductive health.

Domesticated hedgehogs also exhibit this foraging behavior, and owners can encourage this instinct by providing them with toys that stimulate their senses and challenge their problem-solving skills. By promoting their natural instincts, we can create a healthy and happy environment for our prickly friends.

Promoting Healthy Behavior

As pet owners, it’s essential to promote healthy hedgehog behavior and discourage excessive poop-eating. The best way to do this is by ensuring they receive a well-balanced diet, containing all the necessary nutrients for their health. I recommend feeding them a mix of protein-rich insects and vegetables, and avoid overfeeding or providing them with table scraps.

It’s also crucial to provide them with a clean and hygienic living environment, as poor hygiene can lead to health problems and the development of undesirable behaviors. Regularly clean and change their litter, bedding, and food and water dishes, and provide them with toys and activities to promote mental and physical stimulation.

By understanding hedgehog behavior and incorporating proper care practices, we can ensure our pets live happy and healthy lives.

Can Pet Hedgehogs Eat Their Feces?

pet hedgehog eating feces

If you’re a hedgehog owner, you may have observed your pet engaging in poop-eating behavior. So, do pet hedgehogs eat their feces?

The short answer is yes, it’s common for pet hedgehogs to eat their own feces. This behavior is typically not harmful and is a normal part of their digestive system. However, it’s important to monitor your hedgehog’s feces consumption and ensure they are receiving a well-balanced diet to minimize excessive poop-eating behavior.

It’s also worth noting that while wild hedgehogs engage in poop-eating behavior to obtain essential nutrients, domesticated hedgehogs have readily available food sources and may not require this behavior to the same extent.

While it may be initially unsettling to witness, it’s important to understand that this behavior is a natural part of a hedgehog’s digestive system. If you have any concerns or questions about your hedgehog’s poop-eating behavior, consult with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animal care.

Promoting a Healthy Hedgehog Diet

As hedgehog owners, we want to ensure our pets receive the best possible care, including a well-balanced diet that minimizes the likelihood of excessive poop-eating behavior. Here are some tips to help promote a healthy hedgehog diet:

  1. Offer a variety of food: Hedgehogs enjoy a mix of insects, small invertebrates, and occasional fruits and vegetables. Providing a variety of foods will not only offer nutritional benefits but also prevent boredom.
  2. Feed at appropriate times: Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and tend to be most active at night. It’s best to feed them in the evening when they’re most active and hungry, rather than during the day when they may be sleeping.
  3. Avoid overfeeding: Hedgehogs have a tendency to overeat and become overweight, so it’s essential to monitor their food intake and avoid excessive treats.
  4. Ensure proper hydration: Hedgehogs require access to fresh water at all times, so be sure to provide a clean water source that is easily accessible.
  5. Consult with a veterinarian: If you’re unsure about your hedgehog’s diet or have concerns about their health, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets.

Sample Diet Plan

Here is an example of a well-balanced diet plan for a hedgehog:

Food Item Frequency Amount
Live insects (mealworms, crickets, etc.) 2-3 times per week 4-6 insects per feeding
High-quality dry cat food (low in fat) Daily 1-2 tablespoons
Dark, leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.) 2-3 times per week Small amount
Fruits (apples, berries, melons, etc.) Weekly Small amount

By following these guidelines and providing a well-balanced diet, you can help promote a healthy hedgehog lifestyle and minimize poop-eating behavior. Remember, a happy and healthy hedgehog is a delightful companion that will bring joy and entertainment for years to come.

Other Interesting Hedgehog Behaviors

hedgehog self-anointing

Aside from their poop-eating habit, hedgehogs exhibit various fascinating behaviors that make them unique creatures to observe. Let’s explore a few more of their interesting habits:

Hedgehog Self-Anointing

Have you ever seen a hedgehog contort itself into strange positions and start foaming at the mouth? Don’t worry, they’re not having a seizure – this behavior is called self-anointing. When hedgehogs come across a new smell that interests them, they’ll produce a frothy saliva and start spreading it all over their spines. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why they do this, but some hypotheses suggest that it masks their own scent, making them less noticeable to predators, or helps them obtain information about their environment.

Hedgehog Hibernation

Hedgehogs are one of the few mammals that hibernate, which is an adaptation to help them conserve energy during the winter months when food is scarce. During hibernation, their metabolic rate slows down, and their body temperature drops significantly. They’ll spend most of their time sleeping in a nest made of leaves and other materials.

Hedgehog Noises

While hedgehogs aren’t typically vocal animals, they do make a few distinctive sounds. When they’re feeling threatened, they may emit a snorting or hissing noise to ward off potential predators. Additionally, when they’re feeling content, they may emit a soft purring noise.

Hedgehog Exercise

Hedgehogs are active creatures that require plenty of exercise to stay healthy. In the wild, they’ll roam and forage for food over a large area. In captivity, it’s essential to provide them with enough space to move around and play. Consider getting a running wheel or creating an obstacle course for your hedgehog to keep them active and engaged.

As you can see, hedgehogs are full of surprises. By understanding their behavior patterns, we can better care for them and appreciate their unique traits and habits.

Maintaining a Clean Hedgehog Habitat

As a responsible hedgehog owner, keeping your pet’s habitat clean and hygienic is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Not only does it ensure a comfortable living environment, but it also helps minimize the likelihood of excessive poop-eating behavior. Here are some tips on how to maintain a clean hedgehog habitat:

Task Frequency
Spot-clean food and water dishes Daily
Replace bedding Weekly
Clean the enclosure Monthly

Spot-cleaning your hedgehog’s food and water dishes should be a daily task. This ensures that any leftover food and debris are removed, preventing bacteria growth and unpleasant odors. Additionally, fresh water should be provided daily, and the dish should be thoroughly cleaned once a week.

The bedding in your hedgehog’s enclosure should also be changed weekly. This prevents the buildup of feces and urine, which can attract pests and cause unpleasant smells. When cleaning the enclosure, it’s important to use a hedgehog-safe cleaning solution and rinse thoroughly to avoid any harmful chemicals that could be toxic to your pet.

Regular cleaning also allows you to monitor your hedgehog’s health. Any changes in their behavior, appetite, or waste should be noted and reported to a veterinarian if necessary. By maintaining good hygiene practices, you can ensure your hedgehog stays healthy and happy.

Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after handling your hedgehog and cleaning their habitat to prevent the spread of germs.

Educating Hedgehog Owners

As hedgehog owners, it’s our responsibility to understand and promote proper hedgehog care practices. This includes educating ourselves and others on the unique behaviors and needs of these adorable creatures.

By sharing knowledge and insights about hedgehog behavior, we can help prevent potential health issues and ensure our pets live happy and healthy lives.

“The more we learn about hedgehogs, the better equipped we are to provide them with the care they need to thrive.”

One essential aspect of hedgehog care is maintaining a clean and hygienic living environment. This includes regular cage cleaning and disinfecting, as well as providing fresh food and water daily.

Additionally, it’s crucial to monitor your hedgehog’s poop-consumption behavior and promote a healthy diet to minimize excessive waste consumption.

By prioritizing proper care practices and sharing our knowledge with fellow hedgehog owners, we can ensure these adorable creatures receive the love and attention they deserve.


Through my research, I’ve discovered that hedgehogs do indeed eat their poop, but it’s not as gross as it may seem. In fact, it’s crucial for their health and wellbeing. As owners, it’s our responsibility to understand this behavior and provide a balanced diet for our pets.

Promoting Good Hygiene Practices

In addition to proper nutrition, hygiene also plays a significant role in hedgehog care. Keeping their habitat clean and tidy can help prevent the spread of infections and diseases. Regular cleaning and sanitization of their enclosure can help maintain their overall health.

Sharing Knowledge

As hedgehog owners, it’s important to share our knowledge with others. By educating fellow owners about hedgehog behaviors and care practices, we can promote responsible pet ownership and ensure these creatures receive the care they deserve.

Happy and Healthy Hedgehogs

With a better understanding of hedgehog behavior and care, we can create a happy and healthy environment for our prickly friends. From providing a well-balanced diet to maintaining a clean habitat, we can ensure our pets live long and happy lives.


Do hedgehogs really eat their own poop?

Yes, hedgehogs have been known to engage in poop consumption. While it may seem strange to us, this behavior serves a purpose for hedgehogs.

Why do hedgehogs eat their own poop?

Hedgehogs eat their poop as a way to obtain essential nutrients and enzymes for their digestive system.

Does this behavior carry over to pet hedgehogs?

Yes, pet hedgehogs can exhibit the same poop-consumption behavior as their wild counterparts.

Is poop-eating harmful to hedgehogs?

Contrary to our initial assumptions, consuming their own waste can actually be beneficial for hedgehogs.

How can I promote a healthy diet for my hedgehog?

To minimize excessive poop-eating behavior, it’s important to provide a well-balanced diet consisting of appropriate foods for hedgehogs.

What are some other interesting behaviors hedgehogs exhibit?

Hedgehogs engage in various fascinating behaviors, such as self-anointing and hibernation patterns.

How do I maintain a clean hedgehog habitat?

To ensure good hygiene for your hedgehog, it’s important to regularly clean their habitat and provide a comfortable living environment.

Why is it important to educate other hedgehog owners about this behavior?

Sharing knowledge about hedgehog care helps promote responsible pet ownership and ensures the well-being of these unique creatures.

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