Fruits like apples and bananas are very popular food items for us humans. That’s probably because they are delicious and provide us with much needed dietary fiber and vitamins. Undoubtedly fruits are an important part of a healthy human diet, but what about our pet hamsters? Can hamsters eat apples, bananas, strawberries and other fruits like we do?
In short, yes, it is safe for hamsters to eat apples, bananas and strawberries as well as many other fruits, but only in very small amounts. It’s also important to know that not all fruits are safe for hamsters, but more about that below.
Safe Fruits for Hamsters
Can Hamsters Eat Apples?
Yes, as I already mentioned above apples are safe for hamsters. Although, hamsters do not need to get vitamin-C from food as their bodies make it themselves, occasionally giving your hamster one or two small apple pieces can still benefit your pet’s health. For one, dietary fiber from apples and other fruits have proven to lower cholesterol in hamsters.
When feeding your hamster apple pieces, it’s important to not forget how tiny your pet really is. I wouldn’t recommend to give your hammy no more than one or two very small pieces. Giving your hamster more than a tiny piece of fruit is very likely to give your pet diarrhea, apples and other fruits should also be treated as occasional treats and not fed everyday.
Warning: Hamster food usually contains seeds, so you might think about feeding your hamster apple seeds as well, but don’t. Apple seeds are actually toxic to hamsters as well as other species, including humans. Because of our size consuming a few apple seeds does not cause us any ill effects, but it can cause health problems for hamsters and other small animals.
Can Hamsters Eat Bananas?
Yes, bananas are also okay for hamsters to eat in very small amounts. A lot of hamsters owners have even reported that their pets really love these fruits, so go ahead and try if your pet has a taste for bananas as well.
Just like apples, bananas would provide your hammy some extra dietary fiber, but also vitamin B-6 and magnesium. The insoluble fiber in bananas supports smooth digestion and is believed to relive constipation, so perhaps the perfect time for a small banana treat is when your hamster is constipated.
Because bananas can relieve constipation, it can also cause diarrhea, so again, only a very small amount of bananas is safe for your pet hamsters. To play it safe, I wouldn’t recommend to feed your hammy more than half a slice in a single sitting, perhaps only when he or she is constipated you can give a bit more.
Another thing you might be interested in is whether it would be safe for your hamster to eat banana peels. Well, know that is, in fact eating the peels of a banana is safe for people as well. Although, it’s not so popular in western countries, it’s something people to all over the world. Banana peels offer the same nutrients as bananas — dietary fiber, vitamins C and B-6, potassium, and magnesium. However, the peels of the bananas you can buy from supermarkets usually contain pesticide residue, so it’s best not to eat them or feed them to your pet hamster.
Can Hamsters Eat Strawberries?
Another fruit you might want to share with your hamster are strawberries, but are strawberries safe for hamsters? The short answer is yes, giving your hamster a slice of strawberry once or twice a week is totally okay.
Strawberries are not only appreciated for their sweet taste, but nutritional content as well. Besides the impressive amount of vitamin C, strawberries also contain folate, which is a very important nutrient for a hamster’s health. Folate has anticancer benefits and is important for blood health — it is required to form and grow red blood cells.
Although, strawberries are small compared to apples and bananas, a whole strawberry might still be too much for your tiny pet. An okay amount would be one or two slices or half of a small strawberry.
Can Hamsters Eat Pears?
Pears are similar to apples in that pears too are okay for hamsters to eat, but not pear seeds, which contain the same poisonous compound as apple seeds. If you remove the seeds, though, then giving your hamster a few pieces of the fruit is a good idea. Pears too contain dietary fiber and many important vitamins, but also valuable phytonutrients that provide anti-cancer benefits.
By the way, according to recent studies, the skin of pears contains at least three times as many phytonutrients as the flesh. So maybe it would be best to give your hammy some pear peels to chew on? If you decide to eat the peels yourself or feed them to your pet, remember to carefully wash the pear before you start peeling. The skin is very likely to contain some pesticide residue, which is best washed off.
Can Hamsters Eat Grapes?
Yes, hamsters can eat grapes as in grapes are not toxic to hamsters like they are toxic to dogs. However, grapes are not the best thing to share with your hammy, so we don’t really recommend it. For one, grape seeds are dangerous to hamsters. They are large enough to get stuck in your pet’s intestines. For two, grapes are high in sugar, which makes it a bad treat option for hamsters that are prone to diabetes.
If you do, though, decide that your hamster should at least get to taste a grape, then remove the skin and seeds before offering it to your pet. It’s also recommended to cut the grape into smaller pieces as a whole grape would be a bit too much for a tiny hamster.
Can Hamsters Eat Watermelon?
In very small amounts, watermelon is okay for hamsters to eat. However you might want to skip feeding your hamster this fruit as well, as this too is quite a problematic fruit for hamsters.
Watermelon is almost all water (92%) with a bit of sugar. High water content fruits have been reported to cause diarrhea in hamsters, so only a very small amount would be safe. Also, just like with grapes, you have to remove the seeds before giving your pet a piece of watermelon. Although watermelon seeds are edible for us humans, they are dangerous to hamsters. They contain an amino acid called citrulline, which would very likely cause problems in your pet’s digestive system. Additionally, watermelon seeds too could get stuck in your pet’s intestines.
Other Fruits & Berries Hamster Can Eat
- Blackberries – Blackberries are rich in vitamins and minerals, but also soluble fiber, which helps to keep blood sugar levels normal, making blackberries a good occasional treat for hamsters.
- Blueberries – Being one of the best sources of antioxidants, blueberries can be very beneficial for your pet, read more here.
- Cantaloupe – A small piece of cantaloupe would be okay for a hamster to eat, but not the seeds
- Cherries – Remove the pit and a cherry is okay for your tiny pet.
- Cranberries – A good source of vitamins A and K. Some hamsters have been reported to really enjoy a cranberry every once in a while. If your hamster likes cranberries too, then there’s no need to deny your little friend this harmless treat.
- Figs – If you like figs, then know that it’s safe for your hamster to have a small bite as well.
- Honeydew – A good source of folate and vitamin B6.
- Kiwi – Kiwi too is okay for hamsters, you can even feed your pet a piece of a kiwi peel as long as you thoroughly washed the fruit before peeling.
- Lychee – Lychees taste so good that I wouldn’t share them with anyone. However, if you are not so greedy, know that you can give a little bit of lychee to your pet hamster.
- Mango – Mango is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, a tiny piece of mango fruit would be beneficial for your hamster’s health.
- Papaya – Papaya has anti-cancer benefits and is good for heart health. It’s a safe fruit for hamsters, and many seem to love it, so you can give yours a bite as well.
- Peach – A peach can be a good source of antioxidants for both you and your hamster friend.
- Plum – A plum is an appropriate fruit option for your hamsters as long as you remove the pit and only give your pet a little piece of the fruit.
- Raspberries – Hamster can eat raspberries. A few bites every now and then would provide your pet with vitamin K, magnesium, dietary fiber and manganese.
4 Rules to Follow When Feeding Your Hamster Fruits & Berries
1. Treat Fruits & Berries as Occasional Treats for your Hamster!
Only give your hamster fruits and berries about 2 to 3 times a week and in very small amounts. Because of the large quantity of food we eat it’s easy to forget how little food our pet hamsters can have. Hamsters usually eat only one or two tablespoons of food in a day. Most of this food should come from a dried hamster food mix, which is specifically made to provide your hamster all the nutrients he needs. If you would let your hamster fill up on fruit, he couldn’t eat his regular food and would end up not getting all his nutritional needs covered. Because of the high sugar and water content, allowing your hamster to consume a lot of fruit or berries could also cause him diarrhea. Regularly eating a lot fruits and berries could also lead to diabetes in hamsters. Sugary fruit is especially dangerous for Russian Campbell Dwarf hamsters, Chinese hamsters and Winter White Dwarf Hamsters as they are prone to diabetes.
2. Never Give Your Hamster Fruit Seeds!
Because hamster food mixes usually contain a few types of seeds, you might think that it’s a good idea to feed your hamster fruit seeds as well, but it’s actually the complete opposite. A lot of fruit seeds are downright poisonous to hamsters or too large and could either choke your tiny pet or get stuck in his intestines and cause internal damage.
3. No Rotten or Dirty Fruits for Your Hammy!
Don’t think of your pet as a way to dispose of rotten parts of a fruit. Rotten fruits are very likely to cause diarrhea in hamsters. Also, the fruits you buy from the supermarket are very likely to contain pesticide residue, which can be harmful to your little pet, so always wash a fruit before cutting a piece for your hamster.
4. Not All Fruits Are Safe for Hamsters!
Although there are many fruits that you can occasionally offer your hamster in very small amounts, there are also some fruits that are not safe for hamsters to eat.
As there are hundreds of different types of fruit in the world, this is not an exhaustive list, but the following fruits are definitely not okay for hamsters:
Avocados – All parts of avocado contain persin, which is toxic to hamsters as well as all other animals.
Citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, clementine, grapefruit and tangerine) – Citrus fruits are not toxic to hamsters, but the citric acid is very likely to upset a hamster’s stomach, cause bloating, painful cramps and diarrhea.
Pineapple – Unripe pineapple is toxic to all species, so absolutely no unripe pineapple to you or your pets. The reason why hamsters cannot eat ripe pineapple as well is that pineapples too contain quite a lot of citric acid.
Tomatoes – Hamsters cannot eat tomatoes because tomatoes are very acidic and cause ill effects (diarrhea and dehydration) in hamsters. It’s also important to note that unripe tomatoes as well as tomato leaves are toxic to hamsters.
Dried fruits & Berries – The main problem with dried fruits and berries for hamsters is that they can get stuck on their teeth and cause tooth decay. Also, dried fruit and berries are extremely high in sugar, which is not good for the health of our little hamster friends. Many hamster species are actually prone to diabetes, therefore extremely sugary food like raisins or dried dates are a huge no-no for them.
To sum it up, hamsters can occasionally eat small apple, banana, strawberry and pear pieces, as well as many other fruits. Not all fruits are completely safe for hamsters, though, so it’s always recommended to check whether your hamster can eat a specific fruit or not before feeding it to him. Also, do not forget that fruits can only be given to hamsters as tiny treats and the main thing on the diet for your pet needs to be a good quality hamster food mix.
In the comment section below, you are welcome to share stories about feeding fruits to your hamster. What fruits does your hamster like the most?