The domesticated hedgehog kept as a pet is typically the African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris). Other species kept as pets include the Egyptian long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus auritus) and the Indian long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus collaris).
As insectivores, hedgehogs need a diet that is high in protein and low in fat. They also require chitin, which comes from the exoskeleton of insects; fiber in the diet may be a substitute for the chitin component.
Most hedgehog guardians feed their hedgehogs real cat food. Most breeders also suggest foods derived primarily from chicken. Hedgehogs will often eat small amounts of vegetables and can be given small amounts of fruit as treats. Hedgehogs are lactose-intolerant and will have stomach problems after consuming most dairy products, though occasional plain low-fat yogurt (yogurt contains bacteria that naturally process lactose) or cottage cheese seem to be well tolerated. Sugar intake should be restricted to fruits, and treats with added sugar should be avoided.