If you want to treat the little hedgehog in your life to some popcorn, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can.
Yep, that’s right, hedgehogs can eat popcorn.
The next time you’re cooking up a bowl of delicious popcorn for yourself, set aside a couple of pieces for your hedgehog because it’s sure to love it.
Let’s take a look at what type of popcorn is safe for hedgehogs and whether there’s anything to be aware of when serving up this satisfying snack to your pet.
Is Popcorn Safe for Hedgehogs?
Popcorn is safe for hedgehogs as long as they eat it in moderate amounts. You shouldn’t feed a hedgehog popcorn every day, but as an occasional treat, it’s fine.
Curious if ferrets can eat popcorn?
Is Popcorn a Good Treat for Hedgehogs?
Popcorn isn’t the healthiest treat to feed to your hedgehog. However, there are some health benefits in letting your hedgehog tuck into a piece or two occasionally, including:
- Good source of fiber – around 15% of a hedgehog’s diet should consist of fiber. Popcorn is very high in fiber (3.6 g per 3 cups), so it’s a good way to add some extra fiber into your hedgehog’s diet.
- Contains antioxidants – antioxidants can help prevent your hedgehog from getting ill. Surprisingly, popcorn contains more antioxidants than many fruits, according to scientists from the University of Scranton.
- Works the teeth – it’s common for hedgehogs to experience dental problems, such as tartar, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Hedgehogs have to chew popcorn really well, which could help to protect against dental issues.
Can Popcorn Harm a Hedgehog?
It is possible for popcorn to harm hedgehogs if it’s fed to them in the wrong way. Your hedgehog could be harmed by popcorn if:
- Flavorings or toppings are added to the popcorn – any popcorn that’s going to be given to a hedgehog needs to be plain. Flavorings and toppings are unhealthy and often contain ingredients that are not suitable for hedgehogs.
- They eat too much popcorn – We’re all guilty of overindulging on popcorn at one time or another. But this is a much bigger health risk to a hedgehog than it is to us. Popcorn is high in fiber, so your hedgehog may have serious digestive issues if it enjoys a bit too much of it.
- They become obese – popcorn alone isn’t going to make your hedgehog obese, but if you keep giving it to your pet along with other naughty treats, it could soon get fat. Obesity is a common issue in hedgehogs and it can be tricky to get them to lose weight once they’ve put it on.
Is It Okay for a Hedgehog to Eat Ready-made Popcorn?
No, hedgehogs should not eat ready-made popcorn. Ready-made popcorn is packed full of unsafe ingredients that hedgehogs should not eat.
Let’s take Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter Microwave Popcorn as an example. The ingredients listed in it are:
- Whole grain popping corn
- Palm oil
- Natural flavor
- Mixed Tocopherols
Most of these ingredients aren’t going to do your hedgehog any good. The butter, in particular, is a problem as hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. Giving salt to a hedgehog is a big no-no too.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Popcorn Kernels?
No, hedgehogs shouldn’t eat popcorn kernels. Popcorn kernels are hard and difficult to eat, especially when your mouth is as small as a hedgehog’s. They could easily get stuck in a hedgehog’s mouth and cause them to choke, so they shouldn’t be given to them.
Another reason why hedgehogs shouldn’t eat popcorn kernels is that they could get stuck in a hedgehog’s teeth. We’ve all been there where we’ve used our fingers or tongue to try to flick a stray kernel out of our teeth. But hedgehogs can’t do this.
This puts them at risk of tooth decay, pain, and irritation. If there’s ever a popcorn kernel or piece of popcorn stuck in your hedgehog’s teeth, make sure you remove it as soon as possible.
What’s the Best Popcorn for Hedgehogs?
The best popcorn for hedgehogs is plain, air-popped popcorn that’s been homemade. This way, you can be sure that no nasty ingredients have been added to the popcorn that could make your hedgehog sick.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Corn?
Hedgehogs can eat popcorn, so they can eat corn, right?
Hedgehogs can’t eat corn because it’s too hard for them. Even when corn is cooked, hedgehogs find it difficult to chew and digest corn and this can result in gastrointestinal issues.
Corn is also rich in phosphorus and carbohydrates, neither of which are good for hedgehogs. Phosphorus causes calcium levels to fall. If they fall too much, your hedgehog’s bones could weaken. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, can cause weight gain and may even contribute to your hedgehog developing obesity.
How to Prepare Popcorn for a Hedgehog
The most important thing you must do when preparing popcorn for a hedgehog is to remove any of the remaining hulls. The hull is otherwise known as the kernel or the seed. Hedgehogs can’t eat this very easily, so you’ll need to spend a little time prepping the popcorn before serving.
Another option is to use hulless popcorn. Hulless popcorn is a smaller type of popcorn. It’s also thinner and smaller than normal popcorn, which makes it easier and safer for hedgehogs to eat.
Popcorn is a tasty treat that hedgehogs can snack on from time to time. It even has some brilliant health benefits that your hedgehog will gain from. But make sure you limit how much popcorn you share with your hedgehog for the sake of your pet’s health.