When I first got my Teddy I wondered if he can eat meat, and what I should feed him. As it turns out, hamsters can eat many different things. Some of them are actually in your pantry or fridge !
In this article I’ll be talking about whether hammies can have meat, and if so what kind, any why, and how much, and so on.
So can hamsters eat meat ?
Yes, hamsters can definitely eat meat ! Not much though, since in the wild their diet consists of grains, seeds, veggies, and meat. So, they’re not particularly carnivores, like cats, or dogs.
It might seem a bit strange, since hamsters are this cute ball of fluff and they have the cutest beady eyes, but hammies do eat meat.
And hamsters can in fact live out their entire life without ever eating meat of any kind, and be fine. However they will not turn it down if you offer them some.
However even in the wild hammies do find some sources of animal protein, so they definitely can eat meat. Just, they need it in small amounts, in order to process it properly. And they can’t have just any kind of meat.
Hamsters can only eat light meat
While hamsters can in fact eat meat, they can’t eat just every kind there is. For example very exotic meats like snake or aligator meat, aren’t good for hamsters. But even your day to day options might seem a bit much for your hamster friend.
Let’s go through a short list of what kind of meat your hamster can eat:
Hammies can have:
Chicken, fish, shrimp. This is light meat, and it’s okay for hamsters. Always make sure that the meat you give your hamster is completely bland.
So that means unsalted, unspiced meat. It needs to be either boiled, or baked. No added oils, or fried meat, or even lunchmeat or coldcuts, even if they’re made of the meats I just mentioned.
Hammies can have chicken, any meaty part of it.
The fish should be a very light fish, that was only baked, and they don’t need garlic or lemon to go with it. Be very careful to remove any small bones your hammy might choke on !
As for the shrimp, hammies can have a bit of shrimp as well, since it’s not a very smelly kind of seafood (hamsters have very sensitive noses).
Other kinds of seafood like surimi, crab meat, octopus, and calamari rings are probably not a good idea. This is mainly because no one has tried it before, so there’s no info that can be trusted, only assumptions.
Still, best to just stick with what you know is completely safe for your hamster friend, and just give him a small bit of chicken or fish or shrimp. By small I mean no larger than the nail of your thumb, think about your hamster’s minuscule size.
Hamsters can’t have:
Any kind of red meat, or venison, or large bird kind of meat. So that means that beef, pork, turkey, goose, deer, duck, pretty much anything aside from what I mentioned earlier, is not good for your hamster.
This is because a hammy’s stomach can’t process this kind of meat very well. From this point of view, the hamster’s digestive tract is different than ours.
Your hammy might want to nibble on that kind of meat if he smells you cooking with it. But make sure you give him none of that, since it’s much better for his health.
How hamsters find their protein in the wild
Hammies do eat protein in the wild. They don’t hunt down wild chicken or go fishing, though.
But they do catch the occasional cricket, or grasshopper. Sometimes, if they’re feeling sneaky hamsters might pounce on a mealworm too.
Now, this doesn’t happen often. Not because hamsters feel guilty, but because protein sources tend to move around and hide from their predators.
So pouncing a mealworm or catching a cricket is much more work than foraging for some seeds/grains. If given the chance, hamsters will snatch up the insect or worm, just like any other small rodent – for example a field mouse.
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Commercial food gives hamsters vegetable protein
Your hamster does get his protein from his usual food mix too. The commercial food mixes are made up of protein, veggies, fibers, and minerals as well.
However the protein sources those food mixes usually use are vegetable based. So your hamster is getting soy, or beans, as a protein source. Which is fine, as long as he does get his protein.
Whey or beef-based protein mixes don’t keep as long as vegetable ones, and are more expensive. However they’re more efficient at getting protein into your hamster’s diet than soy or beans.
This pre-made food mix covers all the basics your hammy will need. And it’s in a large enough bag that you can keep your hamster well fed for a couple of months, depending on how much you give him daily. More on that here.
I give my Teddy pre-made food mixes as well, and give him some extra veggies or chicken when we’re cooking.
You can check out the listing on Amazon for this food mix, so you know what to expect, and read the reviews.
You can supplement your hamster’s diet, yes.
You can give your hammy some chicken, fish, or shrimp to eat along with his usual mix. You can even add in a bit of boiled egg white, or a small piece of tofu.
Just make sure that when you do give your hamster protein separately, you give him a small amount. This is because he needs to be able to eat all of it in one sitting. Otherwise the leftovers will go bad, and start to smell, which will cause a hose of problems.
For more info on what you can feed your hammy, you should check out this list of safe and unsafe foods. You’ll find there a lot of foods you’ve already got in your pantry, and see which you can give your hammy.
A word from Teddy
I hope you know now what kind of meat us hammies can have. I for one am in love with chicken bits, and will drop anything I have in my paws if I find some chicken. Your hammy will probably enjoy some chicken or boiled egg white too, try it out !
If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out things like why we get scared of you sometimes, and how much water we need on a daily basis.