What do hamsters eat? And what type of food should you feed your hamster? Find out in our guide to what hamsters eat…
In the wild a hamster’s diet is suited to the area where it lives; this is usually in a dry place, often close to the edge of a desert. Wild hamsters eat seeds, grain and grasses as well as some insects. Hamsters are omnivores which means that, much like humans, they exist on a mixed diet of vegetation and meat.
It’s important that domesticated hamsters have a similar diet to that of their wild cousins. It’s also important that you don’t overfeed your hamster.
It’s a common sight to see a hamster, with cheek pouches full, still begging for more food. Although hamsters don’t necessarily eat all of the food in their cheeks straight away; they often store it under the bedding in their cage. It’s still a good idea to be careful of the amount of food you’re providing.
What do hamsters eat?
You can buy hamster mix from a pet shop; either muesli or pellets. It’s a good idea to buy food that looks natural as highly coloured foods are normally full of additives.
Hamsters love fruit and vegetables, but you need to be careful about the amount you are giving them. Hamsters are obviously only small creatures and too much fruit and veg in their diet can cause diarrhea. A small cube of apple, carrot or cucumber is enough. Hamsters normally especially love carrots but remember they are high in sugar so don’t give your pet too much. Other fruit and vegetables your hamster may like are; chicory, cauliflower, broccoli, pear, peach and banana. You should never give your furry friend any citrus fruit or onion as they are high in acid and your hamster could end up with an upset tummy.
If you want to give your hamster a treat then once a week you can provide a little hard-boiled egg, or some meal worms. These are both a great source of protein.
It’s easy to provide a healthy diet for your hamster but one thing it’s very important to remember is that no matter how tempted you might be, never give a hamster any food that is sharp or sticky, as it can become stuck inside their check pouches and cause real damage. Other than that, as long as you provide a balanced diet, fresh each day, your hamster should be a very happy pet.
How much should you feed your hamster?
The PDSA suggests that you should feed a Syrian hamster 10g of dry hamster food twice a day. Of course you are going to need to take note of what your hamster eats as they don’t all have exactly the same appetite. Surprisingly, when it comes to the question of how much do dwarf hamsters eat, the answer is, about the same as Syrian hamsters. The metabolism of dwarf hamsters is a lot faster!
When should you feed a hamster?
There is some disagreement as to when you should give your hamster its food, with a lot of people thinking that it’s best to feed a hamster in the evening when they are active. That’s not necessarily true. In the wild hamsters come out of their burrows at night, and this is when they search for food. However, this is mainly for protection from daytime predators.
Much like domestic hamsters in their cage, wild hamsters collect food in their cheek pouches then store it to eat later. Hamsters wake several times during the day to snack on the food they have stored. Even though they are not in the wild, your hamster will also enjoy snacking throughout the day, so make sure they have enough food to do this.
When feeding, it’s important to remember that you should never leave uneaten food to rot; provide fresh food at each feeding time. You should also provide fresh water each day and make sure the drinking bottle is cleaned thoroughly at least once a week. If your tap water is high in chlorine then it’s a good idea to give your hamster filtered water to drink.