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What do hamsters eat?

 
By Ameera Mills. Updated: July 17, 2018
What do hamsters eat?

Hamsters are burrowing rodents who are also considered to be lovely pets. It is true that these little animals are easier to care for than other pets like dogs or cats, however, this does not mean that they need no care. Hamster owners need to pay attention to their basic needs, especially their diet. A hamster's diet is very important in order to avoid any arising health problems which could affect their quality of life.

For this reason, in this AnimalWised article, we have decided to discuss what hamsters eat. We will be taking into account the different specific needs of different hamster breeds, such as: The Chinese hamster and the small Roborovski.

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How to feed a hamster?

Before going into of what hamsters eat, we must consider how to feed a hamster. Take a look at these recommendations:

  • Hamsters are omnivorous animals, so in their diet one must include, in addition to fruits and vegetables, meat. In the wild, hamsters eat insects, frogs and even lizards.
  • We must offer them food a significant distance away from where they defecate or urinate.
  • You must feed your hamster in small quantities. This is to avoid any leftovers. If your hamster has leftover some food, we suggest removing it from their cage.
  • Hamsters are accumulators, which means that they tend to collect food in their nests. They are nocturnal animals, so they sleep most of the day. They do however wake up several times during day to eat some of their collected food.
  • The fruits and vegetables that we offer our hamsters must be very well washed and dried. They should be at room temperature and not directly cold from the fridge..
  • In addition to food, your hamster always must have water at its disposal. Drinkers which hang from cage bars are very useful as the hamsters cannot overturn them. Their water must be changed daily.
  • You can find a large variety of hamster feed on the market. However, make sure that you choose a good quality feed which contains all of the vitamins and nutrients which your hamster requires.
  • You can offer your hamster some snacks sporadically. Some great hamster snacks include; cereal bars, ore blocks, sepia bones for parakees, toast, dog food or biscuits. When you choose to give your hamster these snacks, remember to be careful with the quantity and break the food into bits so that it is easier for the hamster to consume. You can also hang the food from the cage in order to give your hamster a way to challenge its energy in a fun way.
  • The administration of any extra supplement should be consulted prior with a veterinarian.
  • We discourage giving your hamster sticky sweets which can remain attached to their teeth.

We suggest taking a look at this list of forbidden food for hamsters.

What do hamsters eat?

Although there are several different hamster breeds, generally, they can all eat the same food. But, in some cases, there are some particularities, which we will expand on in the next couple of sections. In order to understand a hamster's diet we must look into how they feed in the wild. As we have already mentioned, they are omnivorous animals, which means that their diet is varied, feeding on both vegetable and animals. A balanced hamster diet should be modeled on the following:

  • Approximately half of a hamster's daily food intake should be constituted by special hamster feed. The necessary protein a hamster needs is 16%. If the feed does not cover this percentage, you should offer your hamster products such as fresh cheese or turkey.
  • 45% of a hamster's diet should correspond with raw vegetables.
  • The remaining 5% should be fruits.

If you choose not to feed your hamster with quality feed but instead, naturally, you can offer it a mixture of seeds, grains and nuts in raw. Limit fruits with too much caloric content to avoid problems with weight gain, specifically with Russian hamsters.Be careful with citrus fruits, as they can sometimes prove to be too acidic for hamsters. Albino hamsters have no particularities when it comes to their diet, so if you are wondering what an albino hamster eats, follow the above recommendations.

What do hamsters eat? - What do hamsters eat?

How to give hamster food

One must be careful with how they present food to a hamsters. As mentioned before, food needs to be given to a hamster in a small amounts. This amount is not only to allow them to feed more easily, but it also allows you to see how your hamster reacts to the specific food. If after a couple of days, you see no adverse reaction to this feed, you can give your hamster a larger quantity. You can follow this process accordingly, until your hamster is eating the full ration it requires.

As for the daily amount of food needed for hamsters, these small animals tend to distribute their food themselves. Therefore, establishing a solid quantity is difficult. We recommend offering moderate quantities to avoid discarding too much food. In addition, you should pay attention to your hamster and when it prefers to eat, as it will depend on each individual.

What do Chinese hamsters eat?

Generally, Chinese hamsters follow the same diet indications mentioned above. However, due to the fact that Chinese hamsters are at a higher risk of sufferings from diabetes and osteoporosis, some alterations need to be taken into consideration. Thus, in addition to looking at their food composition, it is important to occasionally provide a Chinese hamster with fresh cheese and vegetables rich in calcium, such as spinach.

What do hamsters eat? - What do Chinese hamsters eat?

What to feed a Roborovski hamster

When feeding a Roborovski hamster, their small size needs to be taken into consideration. For these hamsters, commercial food may be too big, therefore, the pellets need to be cut by their owner into smaller pieces. When feeding a Roborovski hamster, one must also be careful with fats, as these hamster do not tolerate them very well. Finally, when feeding them natural foods, such as: fruits, vegetables or cheese, they should be chopped accordingly to facilitate easier chewing.

If you want to read similar articles to What do hamsters eat?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.

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