The hamster’s diet: what food to offer him?


You have chosen a hamster as your pet. You probably know that they are solitary animals, that they live at night, like dark corners during the day when they need peace and quiet. Taking good care of your hamster means respecting its needs. On the food side, here is what food to offer him.

Characteristics of the hamster to take into account to feed it well

First important anatomical element: the dentition hamster.

Like all rodents, its teeth are constantly growing. He therefore needs to gnaw to wear down his teeth and limit their length. It is vital for these animals.

The hamster has a total of 16 teeth which are divided into 2 incisors above and below and 6 molars above and below. No canine … does that mean meat should be avoided? This is what we tell you below.

Second important anatomical element: the cheekbones hamster. They are really characteristic of this animal. They are like pockets inside the cheeks that allow it to carry food in large quantities.

Indeed, the hamster is a vulnerable animal that cannot afford to eat in open ground. The strategy he therefore adopted is to store his food. It does this by carrying as much food as possible on each trip in its cheekbones which, once full of food, can extend to its sides. It can store a little more than a tenth of its own weight in it.

In nature, the reserves of food that it constitutes can be very important: enough to hold between seven and nine months in a row. The accumulation seems limited only by his physical capacities and the time available to collect food. In captivity, it will reproduce this behavior and you will need to be sure to regularly remove food that could to rot.

What food can you offer your hamster?

You are the guarantor of the food of your rodent: it is up to you to make sure that it is healthy and balanced. You can’t trust him for that. This is why you will avoid hamster seed mixes as they will sort out what they like the most, risking deficiencies. Prefer the granules and take the time to compare their composition.

The hamster is an omnivore and is vegetarian for only three quarters of its diet.

The protein represent 15 to 17% of what he eats. Many of them are of plant origin, but in nature the sources of protein that it consumes can also consist of beetles, fly larvae or spiders. If you find them in your home, don’t hesitate to capture them to enhance the diet of your favorite rodent!

The fibers constitute between 2 and 8% of its total diet. Fruits, vegetables and hay will provide it with the vitamins and other nutrients it needs for its balance. The recommended fruits and vegetables are: banana, pear, apple, strawberry, broccoli, cucumber, carrot and endive.

The hay is also intended to participate in the dental hygiene of the hamster: of rather hard consistency, it is by gnawing the hay that the hamster wears its teeth. Your hamster will also appreciate it if you provide them with clover, dandelion, or lion’s tooth.

Prohibited foods

There are many foods and plants to eliminate from your hamster’s diet. So do not be too inventive in this area and stay as much as possible within the framework of the foods that we have indicated above. If you want to get out of it, always learn about the non-toxicity of the food for your hamster.

The list of prohibited foods includes chocolate, milk, honey, onion, garlic, citrus fruits, parsley, celery, oregano, basil, radish, cabbage, beans, etc.

Regarding the contribution of meat, this is not necessary as soon as your hamster’s diet incorporates the proportion of protein it needs. The problem with meat is its proportion of fat: the hamster should not ingest more than 4%. Meat is therefore not prohibited but must remain exceptional.

The question of sweets

Our tendency towards anthropomorphism leads us to consider that our pets are as greedy as we are and that they need extras in their diet. This is far from true because the main concern of an animal is to ensure its subsistence.

Treats ultimately carry the risk of unbalance the diet of your rodent, to promote obesity and therefore to put a strain on its life expectancy.

So, yes, you can use them to promote proximity with your hamster but integrate them into the calculation of the diet and use them sparingly.