What Do Hamsters Eat?


Hamsters can be fed a wide array of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and even some meats, as mentioned in detail below.

Hamsters eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, some meats, eggs and even a few insects. In fact, to stay healthy, they need to be fed meaty foods every once in a while.

Ready-made hamster pellets are great for feeding your hamsters. This is because hamsters can sometimes be picky eaters, or maybe they dislike the taste of some healthy foods. If you make them a salad, they will only pick what they like to eat, ignoring the other items in the salad.

So they won’t get a proper balanced diet. Pellets eliminate this problem, because all the ingredients are distributed evenly in the pellets, and the hamster can’t pick and choose some items over others. Good quality pellets should form a staple of your hamster’s diet.

That said, if you only feed pellets day in and day out, you hamster will quickly get bored of them and will soon stop eating them. So, you also need to give some other foods in small quantities daily, to give your hamster some variety. The foods you can give are mentioned below.

Disclaimer:The quantities given below for each food item should be treated as the maximum amount for that item that should be given to a hamster in a week, unless stated otherwise.

 Also, you need to plan what to feed your hamster beforehand, so you don’t feed too much of the same type of food. For example, if you feed the maximum amount of strawberries for the week, should you feed raspberries the next day if you haven’t yet fed them raspberries this week? No!

Because both fruits are high in sugar, and will cause a sugar overdose in your hamster. So it is best to plan what you are going to feed them wisely, and feed them ready-made pellets for the most part. These foods and their quantities are for healthy hamsters. Consult a veterinarian if you hamster has any health issues.

Vegetables to Feed Hamsters

Tomatoes

Hamsters can be fed red tomatoes once every few days. Feeding them tomatoes daily will result in stomach problems. A hamster only needs one tablespoon of food a day, and feeding half a tablespoon of tomatoes at once is sufficient.

However, they should not be fed green tomatoes, or tomato plant leaves. Tomatoes are best given as a treat, a couple of times a week should be enough. Apart from a lot of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, they do not contain a lot of other nutrients.

Potatoes

Potatoes need to be peeled and boiled before being fed to hamsters. Raw potatoes will make a hamster ill, as hamsters are very prone to diarrhea. They should not be fed more than half a tablespoon potatoes in a day.

Potatoes are good for heart health, and have a lot of Potassium, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin B-6.

Carrots

Hamsters’ teeth keep growing throughout their lives, and need to be worn down. Raw carrots are hard, and nibbling on them will help wear down their teeth. Carrots are great source of Antioxidants, Vitamin K, Potassium, Carbohydrates and Beta Carotene.

They are good for the eyes and avoid making your hamster fat. Yes, hamsters do get obese if not properly cared for. Carrots also have a high sugar content, so about a third of a tablespoon is enough in a day.

Broccoli

Broccoli is also tough, and will help in wearing you hamster’s teeth down. They are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B9, Potassium and Phosphorous. They are also rich in antoxidants, help in reducing inflammation and aid digestion.

These are all great points for hamsters, as they are prone to indigestion and diarrhea. And, Broccoli has one of the highest protein contents among all vegetables. You can feed them half a tablespoon Broccoli every 2-3 days. This can be fed more frequently compared to other vegetables because of the many benefits it offers.

Cauliflower

Cauliflowers are one of the vegetables most hamsters usually enjoy eating. Half a tablespoon cauliflower can be fed every 3-4 days. The white florets can be fed. Cauliflowers are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium. They are also very low in calories and have 0 fat content, so are helpful in avoiding obesity in hamsters. They can be fed raw or boiled.

Dill leaves

Dill leaves are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium and Iron. They are also high in dietary fibre, which will fill you hamster up faster and help prevent overeating. Despite having so many nutrients, hamsters should eat them in moderation, to avoid having an upset tummy. 1/3rdtablespoon, given 1-2 times a week should be sufficient.

Kale

Kale can be fed 1/3rdtablespoon, but not more than once a week. It is high in Vitamin K, Fiber, Potassium, Antioxidants and Iron. The nutrients in kale help in avoiding issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Yes, hamsters can get affected by all of these issues. While very useful, kale also has a high sugar content and is acidic. If fed in large amounts, it can cause diarrhea.

Spinach Leaves

You can feed your hamster Spinach leaves 2-3 times per week. Keep the quantity limited to one small leaf in a day. Spinach leaves are good for fur, skin and bone health. They also control blood glucose levels and lower the risk of cancer. They have a lot of calcium and Vitamin A. They are also very low in calories and have virtually zero fat content.

Cucumber

Cucumbers are great to help rehydrate hamsters during hot weather. They have antioxidants that are good for heart and lung health. They also have high amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Manganese and Potassium.

To add to that, cucumbers help control blood sugar levels and support regular bowel movements. A quarter tablespoon of cucumber given once per week is enough. Larger amounts could cause wet stools in hamsters.

Celery

Celery is also best given in small quantities, with a quarter tablespoon per week being the recommended amount. Too much will cause diarrhea and sickness. Celery is very low in Carbohydrates and high in Fibre. It is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium and Folate. It can potentially reduce hypertension as well.

Bok Choy

Bok Choy are high in Potassium, Folate, Vitamin A from carotenoids, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Manganese. Since it is a vegetable with a high water content, Bok Choy are also to be fed in small amounts, about 1/4thtablespoon once per week.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes have a lot of Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Potassium and Phosphorous, which make them very nutritious. On the downside, they are also acidic and have a lot of sugar, so should be feed rarely. Again, not more than 1/4thtablespoon at a time. They should have their skins removed and must be boiled prior to feeding.

Peas

Hamsters can be fed half a tablespoon peas at a time. Only feed them 2-3 times a week, as they have a high sugar content. They should be boiled first, to avoid bloating. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Folate, Manganese, Iron and Phosphorous. They have among the highest protein content of all vegetables.

Bell Peppers

Green, Yellow and Red Bell Peppers can all be fed to hamsters. The red ones are the highest in nutrients though.They are loaded with nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Potassium and Folate.

Apart from these, they also contain several compounds, which act as antioxidants and improve eye health. They should be fed only as treats, as they also contain lots of sugar, which could be harmful to your hamster. About half a tablespoon given 1-2 times a week is enough.

Turnips

Hamsters can be given half a tablespoon raw turnip 2-3 times a week. Turnips contain high amounts of Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Manganese, Vitamin E, along with lots of beta carotene. They also have exceptionally high amounts of Vitamin K. You can also feed small quantities of turnip greens, which are high in calcium.

Fruits That Hamsters Eat

Apples

The seeds and skin of apples should be removed prior to feeding hamsters. Apples are high in Vitamin C, Potassium and antioxidants. They are also high in fibre and water, which help prevent overeating. Half a tablespooncan be given once or twice a week.

Cherries

Cherries are high in Fibre, Potassium and Vitamin C, along with good amounts of Vitamin K, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese. They help with muscle contraction, proper nerve function and blood pressure regulation. The pits (seeds) should be removed before being given to your hamster. About half a tablespoon can be given up to two times per week.

Strawberries

Strawberries have a lot of polyphenols, which help in fighting heart disease. They also have powerful antioxidants, folic acid, Vitamin C and fibre. They help with regular bowel movements, which is great as hamsters are very prone to upset stomachs. Quarter of a tablespoon once or twice a week should be enough.

Raspberries

Raspberries are full ofVitamin C and Vitamin E, along with antioxidants like Selenium, Beta Carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin. These are all good for the heart, brain and nerves. Quarter of a tablespoon once or twice a week should be enough.

Blackberries

Blackberries are high in antioxidants which help protect your hamster’s body from ailments like arthritis, cancer, and even dementia. They also contain fibre, Vitamin K, Vitamin C and Manganese. They can be fed one to two times per week, with about a quarter of a tablespoon at a time.

Peaches

Peaches are anti-inflammatory, help with digestion, protect the skin, prevent certain types of cancer, and may reduce certain allergy symptoms. They contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C and a lot of other trace minerals. They can be fed in quantities up to quarter of a tablespoon once or twice every week. The pits (seeds) need to be removed before feeding.

Prunes

Prunes are basically dried Plums and are high in Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Manganese, Iron and Potassium.But they are also high in Carbohydrates, so should be fed to hamsters in limited quantities. A quarter of a tablespoon once a week will sufficient. The pits (seeds) should be removed before feeding hamsters.

Mangoes

The nutrients in Mangoes are good for bone health, and preventing asthma and cancer. They contain Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A and Vitamin K. They are also extremely high in Vitamin C. Since Mangoes are also very high in sugar, they should be fed sparingly to hamsters. A quarter tablespoon once a week is enough.

Cantaloupes

Cantaloupes, also called Sweet Melons, are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Folate, Iron, Selenium and Zinc. High fibre content helps prevent overeating. They also contain antioxidants that help prevent cancer, reduce blood pressure and are good for digestion. Unlike most other fruits, their seeds can also be fed to hamsters. One feeding a week is a good amount.

Bananas

Bananas are extremely high in sugar, even among fruits. So they should be fed only as treats, in very small quantities. They contain high amounts of Potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and Fibre.

The antioxidants they contain help prevent Asthma, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Digestive Problems.

Dates

Dates have a lot of Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium and Phosphorous. They are exceptionally high in energy. You can remove the pits (seeds) and feed about a quarter tablespoon to hamsters once or twice a week.

Figs

Hamsters can be given figs once or twice a week. They contain a lot of antioxidants, along with good amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, iron and Manganese. They also have anti- diabetic properties.

Seeds, Nuts and Grains to Feed Hamsters

Cashews

Cashews are safe to feed your hamster. However, cashews that are salted or have any other seasoning on them should never be fed to hamsters. ‘Raw’ cashews that are picked directly from the fruit should also not be fed to hamsters.

Cashews are rich in B Vitamins, Vitamin K, Vitamin E and a lot of antioxidants. They are also high in good fats, helping reduce overeating.

Pistachios

Hamsters can eat Pistachios as well, but in small quantities. They have fibre, Vitamin B6, Potassium and various antioxidants. 1 or 2 pistachios should suffice for a week.

Brown Bread

While hamsters should not be fed white bread, brown bread can be given. Brown Bread should only be given as a treat as they are high in Sodium and Calories. A tiny piece, small enough for the hamster to hold in its paws is enough.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds can be given to hamsters. They can even be given roasted. They contain good fats, Magnesium, Potassium, and a host of other nutrients. 4-5 seeds at a time is a good amount.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are high in B Complex Vitamins, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Chromium and Carotene. But since they are also high in fats, they should be fed to hamsters sparingly, about 3-4 seeds at a time, not more than 2 times a week.

Rolled Oats

Whole oats are pointed at the ends. So if a hamster stuffs its mouth with whole oats, it could hurt itself. This is why rolled oats are recommended. 4-5 rolled oats at a time up to twice a week is enough.

Oats are a powerhouse of nutrients, with very high amounts of Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Folate, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B5.

White Rice

White Rice is very high in carbohydrates, so should be fed only as treats to you hamster. A quarter of a tablespoon at a time is sufficient, and shouldn’t be fed more than once a week.

Meats and Eggs Hamsters Eat

Yes, contrary to popular belief, hamsters do eat meats. Here are some meats that hamsters can be fed.

Eggs

Hard boiled chicken eggs can be fed to hamsters. They are high in Protein and Vitamin D, along with nutrients like Lutein and Zeaxanthin. A thin slice once a week is sufficient.

Chicken

Boiled Chicken, without any seasoning, can be fed to hamsters one to two times a week. A quarter of a tablespoon in enough. Remove the bones before feeding. They are very high in Protein.

Beef

Beef is also high in Protein, and can be fed after being boiled and having the bones removed. A quarter of a teaspoon 1-2 times a week can be given.

Insects That Hamsters Can Eat

In the wild, hamsters do not have access to Chicken or Beef. So they hunt insects. Yes, wild hamsters don’t just forage for veggies, they are alsopredators. But insects are not needed in captivity, if you are feeding chicken or beef. Pork and ham needs to be avoided.

Crickets

Hamsters can be fed live or dead crickets. 1-2 Crickets given once a week are enough. However, they should only be given Crickets that are bought from commercial breeders, as they have a smaller chance to having parasites.

Mealworms

2-3 Dried Mealworms can be fed once a week. Live Mealworms should be avoided, as they can bite your hamster when they are stuffed inside its mouth.

Syed Baseeruddin Hyder

I’ve been keeping fish and invertebrates in aquariums for over 5 years. Over the years, I’ve kept more than 15 different species of fish and invertebrates. Through ParadiseInATank.com, I hope to guide new and experienced fish keepers alike with as detailed information as I can get.

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