Do hamsters eat veggies ? Do they even like them ? Did their mothers scold them because they didn’t eat their peas and broccoli ? Jokes aside, hamsters eating vegetables is a big topic, and a very important one when it comes to what you can safely feed your hamster friend.
So do hamsters eat vegetables ?
Yes, they do. Hamsters do eat vegetables, and they actually like them.
In the wild hamsters forage for grains and vegetables, so that’s a large part of their diet. They do catch the occasional cricket or worm, but veggies and grains/seeds are the biggest part of their diet.
Not all vegetables are safe for hamsters – you can find a list of safe and unsafe foods for your hammy here. We’ll cover the veggies your hamster can eat in this article, and the ones he should be kept away from as well.
Hamsters can eat leafy greens
This is what you will find most common for your hammy. Like spinach leaves, watercress, lettuce, kale, iceberg, arugula, even a bit of cabbage.
Easy on the cabbage though, since it’s got a large fiber content which can upset your hamster’s stomach. I gave my Teddy (Syrian hammy) a whole cabbage leaf, to see what he would do. He just sat there, munching on it. I took it out after a few minutes, since it was much too large for him.
Hamsters can eat lots of leafy greens. Pretty much whatever you put in your salad is fine for him as well. With a few exceptions, which we’ll cover in the rest of this article.
Some kinds of roots and berry-types are okay for hamsters
Some root types are okay for your hammy, like for example carrots are good. But watch out if you’ve got anything other than a Syrian hammy.
The Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) are very small and need very very tiny pieces of carrots. They’re prone to developing diabetes, so it’s best to keep them away from sweet-ish veggies.
The same goes for sweet potatoes and corn. Those, if you even feed your hammy, should always be boiled/cooked.
Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin are all okay, although it’s best to cook the pumpkin before your give it to your hamster.
All kinds of broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus are alright for your hammy – but at least steamed. They have a high fiber content, even if it’s less than cabbage.
Make sure you feed your hammy only the upper parts, like the heads or tips. The stalks are too tough for their stomachs.
What veggies to never feed your hamster
There are a few veggies you should keep you hammy away from. For example regular potato, especially raw, is not recommended. The same goes for eggplant, rhubarb, and celery.
The same goes for most legumes like peas, beans, if they’re not cooked. Even if they are cooked, they should still be given in a very small amount. As in, only one single bean. They have a tendency to create gas and your hamster’s gut can’t handle that very well.
Very acidic veggies are a no-go, like onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, and tomatoes are a no-go. This is because the hamster’s stomach and gut does not react well to acidic foods, of any kind.
The same goes for spices. Whatever you feed your hammy, make sure it’s never seasoned, not even with salt. It needs to be either boiled in plain water, or baked plain, by itself. No added oils, spices, sauces, or whatever you’d like to add to your own food.
Commercial hamster food has plenty of vegetables and vitamin sources
You can also feed your hamster a pre-made food mix that already has enough vitamins and fibers. This is what your hamster usually would find in the veggies you give him.
Still, you can give your hammy a few vegetables aside from the commercial food mix.
I’d recommend 2 teaspoons/day for a Syrian hammy, and just 1 teaspoon for a Dwarf type.
This mix, along with the occasional veggie from you, and maybe a bit of boiled egg white or piece of cooked chicken will give your hammy a very happy, balanced diet.
You can check the listing on Amazon for this food mix, and read the reviews as well.
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Can vegetables substitute your hamster’s water source ?
There’s times when your hamster will need to get his water from a very stable source. One that will not drip or spill over.
For these times, like when you’re transporting your hamster to the vet, or you’re taking him somewhere, a couple of veggies will give your hamster enough water for a few hours.
For more info on how to safely transport your hamster, you need to check out this article. You’ll find out how to transport him, as well as what kind of cage you need, and how to make sure he isn’t scared on the road.
As for the kind of veggies your hamster can get water from, cucumber is the best option. It’s got a whole lot of water content, and a couple of slices, kept fairly cold, are going to provide your hamster with enough water for a few hours.
You can substitute cucumber with some iceberg lettuce, which again has a very high water content. However those have a bit more fiber than cucumber, so do not rely on those entirely.
How to see if your hamster reacts well to a new veggie
Whenever you give your hammy a new food, of any kind, try it out in small pieces. So if you want to introduce carrot into your hamster’s diet for example. start this way.
Give him a very small piece, about the size of your pinky finger’s nail. Make sure that is the only bit of new food he gets for 24 hours. You can still feed him his usual food, but do not give him more that a very small piece of the new food.
After 24 hours, if you see he’s still well, has no wet stool, and is not lethargic, then you can introduce the new food in larger amounts. Do remember that the pieces of veggies you give your hammy should never be larger than an inch/2.5 cm.
A word from Teddy
I hope you know now if us hammies can eat different kinds of veggies. For example I love munching on a bit of carrot from time to time. And maybe your friend likes spinach leaves.
If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on how large a cage we need, how much water we need in a day, and even why we sometimes eat our poop.