Accessibility Homepage Skip navigation Sitemap


Register and log in to gain access to our forums and chat about everything 'hedgehog'!

Thank you for looking to contribute to the Hedgehog Street forum. Please note that when submitting replies or posts, these are run through our spam-checkers, so there may be a slight delay in your posts appearing, and reflecting in the forum post details below. However, if you think anything has gone awry please contact us.

The views and opinions expressed in this forum do not necessarily represent the views of PTES or BHPS.

this is what mealworms does to a hedgehog

Home Forums Carers / rescuing a hedgehog this is what mealworms does to a hedgehog

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
  • #19798

    sorry folks if this is distressing – but important that people see this.

    Hedgehog Bottom says:

    “You want to see what happens when you feed hedgehogs on piles of mealworms, peanuts and sunflower hearts?

    Their offspring suffer from Metabolic Bone Disease. Fractures, bendy bones, inability to walk. Transparent bones under x-ray.

    There is no cure at this stage for a wild animal.

    We have worked with Vale wildlife and other rescues to do the research on why this was happening and in pretty much every case the evidence came back that where they were found people were putting out bowls full of mealworms, sunflower hearts and peanuts.

    We don’t just pick these things out of thin air, this hoglet is suffering from MBD and there is no fixing it once it gets to this stage. Deformed and missing long bone ends, fractures where there shouldn’t be any. He was put to sleep.

    Do not give bread, milk, mealworms, peanuts or sunflower hearts. Stick to nutritious food – hedgehog biscuits or cat biscuits, tinned meaty dog food, any flavour including fish is fine, and plenty of fresh water.”


    Keep that link for when people ask what they should be feeding. It should also be sent to anywhere that says mealworms etc are OK.


    Very distressing to look at – but really important that people are aware – once you’ve seen this vid – any lover of hedgehogs wouldn’t even question mealworms anymore.

    What we discuss on here, on this forum, is really important I think – for myself I’ve learnt an incredible amount and still learning – intially I thought it was as simple as just putting a dish of dog/cat food out and a dish of water – but then when you start getting a tribe – and then now the autumn juveniles are still racing about – it’s not at all simple – you’ve gotta have some knowledge about how to look after them, cos what we do, a simple mistake could wipe them out.

    Someone gave me a big bag of Harringtons cat biscuits – they look very posh – no added this and that – his cat didn’t like, nor did two other cats liked them – so he wondered if my hedgies would like them, I presumed not as they are quite fussy – so I only sprinkled a few of them on top of their spikes semi-moist and co-cat biscuits, and none of them got eaten, even a rat visited a couple of times and refused to eat these posh biscuits.

    But as I didn’t want to throw them out and go to waste, I still sprinkled about 4 or 5 biscuits (they are very small biscuits) and the hedgehogs have started to eat them – now I’m panicking as the main ingredient is chicken, but it also has some vegetable in them – I’m worried that I might cause them diarrhea, as I didn’t realise until last night (after reading something on Hedgehog Bottom I think) about veg and diarrhea.

    Hopefully because they are small, it won’t have done too much damage – the bag is in the bin now, but I feel enmoursley guilty again (I have a massive guilt complex).


    some forums have ‘sticky’ posts – where the important info gets stuck at the top of the threads, but then again, there’s many important (potentially life saving threads) so would be hard to determine which should stick to the top, but even still, it would be good to have a sticky post about food.


    Hedgie Lover, I too have fretted about what to feed my visiting hogs. Fortunately, I have long known that mealworms, etc. are no good so my visitors have never been fed junk food at my house. That video link is the first time I have seen the impact – itā€™s horrible.

    I use to feed Spikeā€™s dry food but found it very expensive in the local garden centre (my only source except for on-line). So, I went to my supermarket armed with a photo of the Spike ingredients and compared them to readily available cat food/biscuits. Surprisingly, there is not much difference and your post above struck a chord as I now use Harringtonā€™s Chicken and Rice biscuits.

    These are the ingredients of the various products (I am assuming like human food, greatest ingredient is listed first).

    Spikeā€™s Dry:
    Rice, poultry meal, maize, poultry fat, vitamins, minerals

    Spikeā€™s semi-moist:
    Poultry meat meal, white rice, chicken livers, vitamins and minerals.

    Harringtonā€™s chicken and rice:
    Chicken meat meal, maize, rice, poultry fat, fish oil, vitamins and minerals

    The ingredients by type for each are (dry/semi-moist/Harringtonā€™s):
    Protein – 25%/25%/30%
    Oil – 12%/13%/12%
    Fibre – 3%/0.6%/2.5%
    Ash – 9.4%/8%/7.5%

    I was also concerned about the calcium:phosphorus ratio so I researched that too! Harringtonā€™s is 1.4:1 which I understand is good.

    You can see there is a vegetative element in each, including the specialist hog food. So I donā€™t think you need to worry too much about having fed something that is not good for them.

    We all know that hogs are fussy eaters and donā€™t like change. I switched early this summer to my researched ā€˜petā€™ food and have been eaten out of house and home without any obvious detrimental affect including my pocket!


    Thanks Kippy Ben, you’ve made me feel so much better.

    Funny how the rat didn’t like it though – it’s turned into a joke at the conservation place I work for, as it was a staff member who gave me the bag of Harringtons, as it was given to two other staff members before I got it and all 3 cats didn’t like it either.

    He was going to write to Harrington’s to say, even rats don’t like your food.

    I’m glad someone likes it, your hedgehogs.

    It looks high end stuff though, pets at home sell it. Obviously my local rat doesn’t like the finer things in life.

    Avatar photo

    This is a link explaining Metabolic Bone Disease from Vale Wildlife Hospital. The actual hedgehog on the video is probably more distressing to watch than the other one, so be warned.


    I have been feeding a hedgehog mainly cat food but with mealworms as a tasty supplement, together with odd pieces of digestive biscuits. He doesn’t like cat biscuits! Should I stop feeding him mealworms? This hog has grown in weight since October from 240gms to 1000gms. I only want to do the best for him.

    Also noticed today that a small area of his skin is a little white. All of his spines are intact and there is no flakiness.

    Thank you for his advise.

    Avatar photo

    Hi Mariekatie

    I am assuming in my reply that we are talking about a wild European hedgehog who has access to natural food as well.

    Yes, stop feeding the mealworms. Do it gradually if the hog goes on strike and refuses to eat. Also give the digestive biscuits a miss. Not good for the teeth apart from anything else. The hogs don’t need any extra treats, what we give them is the extra treat and you’re better off sticking to the cat food. Make sure that there is water available 24 hours a day, every day, all year round.

    Is it the actual skin which is white or the spines. If it’s the spines, it may be that someone has artificially marked the hog. If it’s the skin, it might be a good idea to ring your local carer/rehabilitator/wildlife hospital and explain it more precisely to them and take their advice. You can find the number of your nearest ones by contacting BHPS on 01584 890801.

    Good luck. I hope the hog continues to do well.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.