A NEW ‘super-food’ for humans should not be neglected in the diet of hedgehogs, animal experts have said.
Mealworms, which are being advocated for human consumption at the dinner table, will also boost a hedgehog’s development when fed in moderation, according to nutritionists.
Containing a high level of fat, they support hedgehogs to get the balanced intake they need all year round, including during the crucial autumn into winter feeding stage.
Experts at leading manufacturer Spike’s World say mealworms, which are in fact the larval form of the mealworm beetle, should not be fed in isolation but as part of a balanced diet.
They can be found in Spike’s World Insect Crumble and WildThings Hedgehog Food products, which are widely available in stores across the UK.
Animal nutritionist Jennifer Dean said: “Mealworms have been getting a bad press in isolated quarters, but they have a lot going for them as part of a hedgehog’s balanced diet.
“They are high in both fat and protein, meaning they contain many of the essential nutrients needed for good hedgehog health across all four seasons.
“Mealworms are a treat food for hedgehogs and should not be given in excess as not to encourage them to refuse the rest of the ration, which could cause mineral imbalance.
“But our carefully created formula means that the level of mealworms should not cause any such imbalance.”
Spike’s World guarantee the content of Insect Crumble and WildThings Hedgehog Food is in line with recommendations around the calcium-phosphorus ratio.
“In fact, it is widely regarded that the nutritional needs of hedgehogs in terms of minerals is similar to cats, hence the recommendation of feeding cat food to hedgehogs.
Both have a ratio of 1.5:1, mid-way between the minimum and maximum levels advocated by FEDIAF, the European Pet Food Agency for cats and dogs.
Jennifer said: “The calcium phosphorous ratio is very similar in all mammals, and that applies to hedgehogs as much as to cats and dogs.
“Our products sit perfectly between the upper and lower levels recommended by FEDIAF.”
Available hedgehog food includes Spike’s Dinner, Spike’s Meaty Feast, Spike’s Tasty Semi-Moist and Spike’s Dinner – Food for Pet Hedgehogs.
Since 2015, mealworms have raised their heads as a potential super-food for humans and a replacement for meat.
At least one specialist company has been established to popularise their breeding at home for consumption at the dinner table.
Those behind the Hong Kong venture say production of mealworms requires only 10 per cent of the equivalent land compared to that of beef.
It is also estimated to require less water and less feed for the same amount of end product.
Spike’s World is part of Pets Choice which has been producing quality pet food since 1861, and today specialises in delicious, highly nutritious and healthy food for dogs, cats, hedgehogs, chickens, ducks, swans and small animals such as hamsters and rabbits.