What Can Hamsters Eat?

Melissa Witherell, DVM
Written by:
Published: February 16, 2022
What Can Hamsters Eat?

Proper diet and nutrition are crucial to keeping your hamster fit and healthy for as long as possible. A hamster’s diet should consist mainly of the same commercially produced pelleted rodent diet that mice and rats eat. 

Pet parents also have the option of buying a commercially available hamster seed diet. Be aware, however, this diet should not be your hamster’s primary source of food, as it may cause nutritional deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. 

What Do Hamsters Eat?

A healthy pelleted rodent diet for hamsters should contain approximately: 

  • 15-25% protein 

  • 35-40% carbohydrates 

  • 4-5% fat and 

  • 5% crude fiber 

Work with your veterinarian to determine your hamster’s caloric needs based on their size and health, but most hamsters require ⅛-⅓ cup of pellets per day. Because they are nocturnal, the majority of hamsters eat at night. 

Some hamster diets are mostly made up of seeds. These foods should only be used to supplement a pellet diet, or not given at all. Hamsters fed only seed will have nutritional deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamin E and calcium. Seed diets also contain a lot of sugar and fat, which may lead to diabetes and obesity. You can also supplement your hamster’s diet with vegetables and small amounts of fruit as treats. However, their primary food should be pelleted rodent food. 

Fresh water should be provided to your hamster every day. Hamsters drink approximately 10 milliliters of water per 100 grams of body weight per day. It is best to provide water in a bottle with a stainless-steel sipper tube.

What Human Foods Can Hamsters Eat?

All human foods should be fed in moderation and are not necessary if you’re feeding your hamster a well-balanced pelleted diet. Foods that are safe for hamsters include: 

  • Sugarless breakfast cereals or grains 

  • Greens 

  • Seeds 

  • Carrots 

  • Apples 

  • Raisins 

  • Peas 

  • Pepper 

  • Cucumbers 

Avoid giving your hamster dried fruits and vegetables, as they are high in sugar content. 

Foods for Hamsters FAQs  

Can Hamsters Eat Grapes? 

Yes, but in moderation or just as an occasional treat because they are high in sugar. 

Can Hamsters Eat Bananas? 

Yes, but in moderation or just as an occasional treat because they are high in sugar. 

Can Hamsters Eat Apples? 

Yes, but in moderation or just as an occasional treat because they are high in sugar. Do not feed your hamster apple seeds or skins. 

Can Hamsters Eat Carrots? 

Yes, but in moderation or just as an occasional treat because they are high in sugar. 

Can Hamsters Eat Celery? 

Yes, celery can be fed occasionally, but not too much to prevent diarrhea. 

Can Hamsters Eat Lettuce? 

Yes, leafy greens can be fed, but not too much to prevent diarrhea. 

Can Hamsters Eat Broccoli? 

Yes, broccoli can be fed occasionally, but not too much. 

Can Hamsters Eat Oranges? 

No, it is not recommended to feed oranges or other citrus fruits to hamsters. 

References

1. Brown, Susan. Veterinary Partner. Hamsters as Pets. January 2000.  

2. Mitchell, Sandra. Veterinary Partner. Husbandry and Medical Care of Hamsters. April 2020.  

3. Pollock, Christal. LafeberVet. Basic Information Sheet: Hamster. February 2010. 

4. Quesenberry, K., Orcutt, C., et al. Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 4th ed. Elsevier; 2020. 

5. Suckow, M., Stevens, K., et al. The Laboratory Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, and Other Rodents. Elsevier Academic Press; 2012. 

Featured Image: iStock.com/fantom_rd


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