One of the main reasons hamsters are so widely kept as pets is because of how simple their food is to maintain. Hamsters are sociable rodents that are easy to maintain as pets because of their herbivorous diet and low dietary requirements. Both in the wild and in captivity, grains, seeds, and nuts make up the bulk of the hamster’s diet. However, dark greens and other vegetables should also be included. Though hamsters adore fruit, too much of a good thing might cause diabetes in these rodents.
Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol are all found in human meals but should be avoided. Even though processed hamster feed and blocks can aid in providing a well-rounded diet, many hamster owners instead opt to provide their pets with human food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. As long as you’re not giving your hamster any of your own food, a spoonful or two of dry chow every day should suffice. Dwarf hamsters have a lower caloric intake than Syrian hamsters.
Timothy hay is beneficial for the teeth of both Syrian and dwarf hamsters, but not because of its nutritional value. Hamsters in the wild have a more involved dietary structure. Although most hamster owners do not feed their pets live animals, wild hamsters are omnivores, with meat making up only a small portion of their diet. Many hamsters thrive on a diet of nuts and seeds because they provide the proper balance of protein (16%) and fat (5%) for their tiny stomachs. However, wild hamsters can get enough protein from foods like mealworms and insects to meet these needs.
There are 18 types of hamsters in total, but the most common pets are the Syrian and dwarf varieties. They are all omnivores, eating fruit and vegetables and the occasional bit of meat, but their diets can vary greatly from one location to the next. Pieces of a boiled egg are sometimes given to these omnivores in captivity to help them meet their protein requirements.
What Do Hamsters Eat?
Hamsters require a diet of pelleted rat food that consists of roughly:
35-45 % sugars
The composition of the average human diet is 4-5% fat and 5% crude fiber.
Most hamsters need 18 to 13 cups of pellets daily; however, this might vary depending on your hamster’s size and health, so it’s best to consult your vet for specific recommendations.
Most hamsters, being nocturnal, eat when they sleep.
Seeds make up a significant portion of certain hamsters’ diets. We recommend supplementing a pellet diet with these items, or not feeding them at all. Vitamin E and calcium are two nutrients that will be lacking in hamsters that are exclusively fed seed. The high sugar and fat content of seed-based diets has been linked to metabolic syndrome and obesity. Vegetables and tiny amounts of fruit can be added to your hamster’s diet as a supplement. But pelleted rodent food should make up the bulk of their diet.
Make sure your hamster always has access to clean water. The average daily water intake for a hamster is about 10 milliliters or 1 gram of water for 100 grams of body weight. Water bottles with stainless steel tubes for sipping are recommended.
Can Hamsters Have Human Food?
Any human food given to a hamster is unnecessary if you are providing a balanced pelleted diet. Safe foods for hamsters include the following:
Sugar-free breakfast grains and cereals
Cucumbers with Pepper
Things to chew and gnaw
Tools for chewing and gnawing Hamsters have a strong need to constantly be gnawing on something. It’s a normal habit that prevents their teeth from getting too long and helps them stay healthy. It prevents your hamster from getting bored by providing a stimulating environment.
Hamsters enjoy tearing and chewing on:
Cases of coconuts
Stacked cubes of hay
A pumice stone
How do Hamsters Find Food?
While hamsters tend to eat the same things, their hunting and foraging techniques might be dramatically different. While some uncommon African hamsters have been seen hunting insects as a group, the vast majority of hamster species are solitary foragers that are more likely to stumble upon a carcass by accident than by design. The vast majority of hamster species have adapted to living in deserts, where they construct complex underground homes. They spend the hottest periods of the day in their dens, emerging only when it is dark and colder. Hamsters typically try to spend as little time as possible outdoors. The majority of animals limit their time in the wild to the few hours immediately following sunrise and sunset.
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Thankfully, hamsters have perfected a peculiar habit that allows them to drastically reduce the amount of time they spend outside. This not only protects them from any danger but also helps them stay warm during the chilly desert nights. When a hamster stuffs its mouth with food, its cheeks can expand like a balloon because they are made to be both tough and pliable. Hamsters may store up to 20% of their body weight in their mouths, allowing them to bring back to their burrows a substantial amount of food for later consumption. Stuffing nuts, fruits, and vegetables are more required than convenient because the average wild hamster needs to eat every two hours and has a little window of safe time to forage.
Although mothers have been known to consume their young in times of extreme stress or hunger, hamsters are normally exceedingly protective of their young. Mother hamsters will occasionally conceal their young within their cheeks so they can be whisked away to safety. Infant hamsters require their mothers’ care for a period of two to three weeks. Thereafter, hamster offspring can survive on a diet similar to that of adult hamsters, however, mothers will typically continue to forage for their young for some time.
Foods You Should Not Feed Hamsters
- The Nuts and Bolts of Apple Seeds
- Raw beans
- Crude potatoes
- AlmondsPersimmons, Oranges, and Other Citrus Fruits
- Garlic, Onions
- Rhubarb, either cooked or raw; chocolate
- Anything with a lot of sugar or salt
- Typical fast food
Best Foods for Hamsters
A pelleted diet with a variety of other safe and human meals is appropriate for a hamster’s diet. Adding a seed mixture to your hamster’s pelleted diet or switching to a seed diet that already includes pellets may help get their attention and get them to eat.