It’s crystal clear why hamsters are one of the most common pocket pets in any part of the world. They’re low-maintenance and they’re not hard to feed. One of the most common questions hamster owners have about their hamster’s diet is, can hamsters eat bananas?
For humans, bananas are a treat and it’s understandable why the same could be said for hamsters. However, there are still a few things owners should know about feeding bananas to hamsters—all of which will be discussed below.
So, Can Hamsters Eat Bananas?
Yes, hamsters can eat bananas in moderation. However, owners should limit the amount and frequency of bananas in meals. Make it a treat but don’t forget to include other important foods, such as hamster pellets and seed mix, to ensure a balanced diet.
Benefits of Hamsters Eating Bananas
Bananas are no ordinary fruit—even for humans. Plenty of dietitians and scientists call it the first superfood because not only is it packed with nutrients and minerals, it’s also cheap and pretty easy to source.
But, are bananas good for hamsters? In the simplest sense, yes they are—especially when fed in moderation. Regardless of variety, bananas contain different nutrients that these pocket pets can benefit from.
What are these nutrients? Let’s enumerate them below.
Vitamin B6 is a great nutrient for keeping the nervous and immune systems of pocket pets healthy. Having a sufficient amount of this nutrient can help hamsters avoid unwanted issues like loss of appetite, changes in fur and muscular weakness.
With bananas, it’s not so hard to sneak in this vitamin in their meals.
Hamsters need a lot of fiber for proper digestion and a healthy gut. This nutrient is essential to help the good bacteria in a hamster’s gut flourish. If hamsters don’t get enough fiber, serious stomach issues may arise.
But this shouldn’t worry owners, as bananas are rich in fiber. Apart from bananas, hamster pellets—which should be a staple in their diet—are also packed with just the right amount. A fiber level of 6% to 15% is considered a sufficient amount for hamsters.
Regardless of age, protein is a crucial part of a hamster’s diet. Older ones may need less protein, but the diet of younger ones requires higher levels of protein for their development and growth.
This nutrient is also quite helpful when these pocket pets have certain diseases—except for kidney diseases. If the hamster suffers from this disease, serve less protein than necessary. Ideally, a hamster’s diet should have 17% – 19% of protein.
Manganese is also a nutrient that hamsters can get from bananas. This particular nutrient aids in metabolic processes, bone development, and wound healing, which obviously makes it quite important for this tiny pet’s body.
However, unlike the protein and fiber content of bananas, a teaspoon of diced or mashed banana would only be a bit significant.
Incorporating Bananas Into a Hamster’s Diet
Regularly including bananas as treats in weekly meals can make any hamster happy, as this fruit is tasty and a delight to eat. A ripe banana will immediately get their attention and it won’t be surprising if it only takes a few minutes before there’s nothing left in their hamster cage.
However, it’s also crucial to note that serving size and frequency play important roles. Since bananas are a fun way to give hamsters a treat, it’s time to discuss just how much of it should be served each week.
Surely, owners can easily get carried away with serving size as bananas are soft and safe to eat. They pose no threat to a hamster’s tiny body, so it can get a little tricky once servings come into play.
A few common questions owners ask about serving size and frequency are answered below.
How much banana can a hamster have?
It should be clear though that hamsters do not need bananas to survive. In fact, they can easily live without it as there are other sources of nutrients out there. But should this pocket pet show even just a tiny bit of love for bananas, then a teaspoon each week shouldn’t hurt.
For owners who want their hamsters to have a taste of this sweet fruit, the maximum amount of bananas that should be given to hamsters is half a teaspoon, twice a week.
Recommended Article: Can Hamsters Eat Peppers? Bell or Chilli and Red, Green or Yellow?
Just make sure to remove unconsumed bananas—or any other food, for that matter—within 24 hours to avoid the accumulation of mould in their cages.
How to feed bananas to hamsters?
Bananas can be served two ways to hamsters, either diced and mashed. Some hamsters prefer eating diced bananas, while others have no problems eating mashed ones. The only part that should be done with caution is measuring how much banana will be served.
It’s totally up to owners on how they want their hamsters to enjoy this tropical fruit.
How Bananas Can Be Bad For Hamsters
Before diving into this, remember that bananas are not toxic or deadly for hamsters. However, it can be bad if owners don’t really pay attention to how much of this soft goodness gets into their pet’s tummy.
As mentioned, bananas are rich in a variety of nutrients that play important parts in keeping a hamster happy and healthy. The problems only start to arise when too much of a certain nutrient gets into a hamster’s body.
Too much fiber
The first one having too much fiber. Yes, hamsters need fiber in their diet but these small pets already get a sufficient amount of fiber from their pellets and hay—if they like those.
Too much fiber in a hamster’s body often leads to diarrhea that puts hamsters in a very uncomfortable situation. In extreme cases, diarrhea may even cause dehydration in hamsters, which is considered to be deadly.
Excessive sugar intake
Low-sugar diets suit hamsters best as these increase their mortality rate. With bananas being sweet, it’s only reasonable to limit banana intake. One study showed that a high percentage of sugar in hamster diets led to a low mortality rate of 22%.
Enjoying too much sugar, not just from bananas, also makes this pocket pet prone to tooth decay which can be challenging, especially when they need to eat.
Apart from Bananas, What Else Can Hamsters Eat?
There are plenty of human foods that can be fed to hamsters other than bananas, considering they’re omnivores. From crunchy greens to the occasional pears, planning for meals is a great way for owners to explore what else these small creatures like.
But owners should know which foods are staples and which foods should be served as treats. This difference is crucial to reducing the risk of feeding them the wrong kind of food which may lead to a lot of health risks.
Don’t worry though, preparing their meals will be a joy for any pocket pet owner. To plan for meals, here are a couple of foods to include:
- High-Quality Hamster Pellets – a tablespoon of pellets should be served to hamsters every day. These pellets are made with all the nutrients hamsters need to be healthy which is why it should be the center of attention. Whether it’s biscuits, cookies, or cereal, hamsters will love it.
- Timothy Hay – a staple for many pets, Timothy Hay is rich in fiber and is great for munching and proper digestion. But bear in mind that some hamsters only use hay for bedding, so if they’re not feeding on it, they’re sleeping on it.
- Seed mix – pretty much like pellets, seed mixes sold in pet stores are formulated with vitamins and nutrients that hamsters need in their diets. It’s a bonus that these rodents also like eating seeds themselves. Scattering half a teaspoon of seeds in their cage every once in a while can keep them moving and energetic.
- Crunchy Veggies – veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and cucumber are some of the best veggies for pocket pets. These green foods will help prevent hamster teeth from growing too long and, at the same time, give them the right amount of vitamins and minerals.
- Mealworms – as a treat, mealworms are like the comfort food of hamsters. Giving them at most three mealworms per week—whether dried or live—will surely make them happy pets.
- Fruits – if bananas are getting too boring, switch it up with apples, melon, peach or pears. Dice these up or mash them and limit the serving size to about half a teaspoon, twice a week. Remember, fruits should be treats, not staples.
- Unsalted nuts – veggies aren’t the only crunchy food hamsters can enjoy. Unsalted nuts, except for almonds, works as a way to keep hamsters busy. Sprinkle crushed one crush nut all over their cage to create an exciting scavenger hunt.
- Hard-boiled eggs – hamsters love eggs, but unfortunately, they can’t consume as much as humans do. A quarter teaspoon of hard-boiled eggs once a week should be enough to keep this rodent happy and full.
What can hamsters not eat?
As much as hamsters don’t necessarily overeat, they don’t actually stop themselves from eating anything in sight. This should be enough to keep owners attentive when serving food, as there are a couple of food items that sneakily cause harm to hamsters.
What are these foods? Here’s a list of them below:
- Apple Seeds – sure, hamsters can eat apples but seeds should be carefully removed, not leaving any trace of these behind. These seeds contain amygdalin which breaks down into a hydrogen cyanide, a substance toxic to hamsters.
- Garlic and Onion – tasty as these may be for humans, both garlic and onion are toxic to hamsters. Health issues like indigestion and poisoning can arise if these rodents are accidentally fed with them.
- Citrus fruits – while Vitamin C is great for their immune system, citrus fruits like oranges are highly acidic. Dental and digestive issues can arise if hamsters are fed with these fruits on the regular.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dwarf Hamsters eat bananas?
Yes, Dwarf Hamsters can eat bananas—but only as a treat and not the entire meal. Bananas should be treated as supplements to the regular diet of hay and veggies, and should only be given at most twice a week with a serving size of ¼ teaspoon.
Can Syrian Hamsters eat bananas?
Of course, they can! Syrian Hamsters can eat bananas as well as a variety of fruits like apples, pears and strawberries. However, as stated in the previous section, only feed ½ teaspoon of bananas to any hamster at most twice a week, with several meals in between.
Can hamsters eat dried bananas?
All hamsters can eat dried bananas, but these bits have to be mixed in yogurt, cheese, or fruit salads. Like Syrian and Roborovski, wild hamsters may be fed with up to two dried bananas each week. However, Campbell, White Dwarf and Chinese hamsters should eat at most small bits of dried bananas once a week.
Can hamsters eat banana skin?
Yes, hamsters can eat banana skin, but it’s not advisable as these peels are coated with pesticides which are toxic to hamsters. These peels may have the same nutrients as the sweet part of bananas, but these shouldn’t be served to hamsters.
So, can hamsters eat bananas? The short answer would be yes! Just make sure that it’s more of an occasional treat rather than a diet staple. Serve ½ teaspoon at most twice a week and make sure to pack all the other meals with hamster pellets and hay.
- PetMD, ‘What Can Hamsters Eat? Carrots, Grapes, Tomatoes, and More‘, https://www.petmd.com/exotic/nutrition/evr_ex_hm_what-can-hamsters-eat, Accessed – 01 May 2021
- PetHealthNetwork, ‘Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Hamster Health’, https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/all-pet-health/small-animal-health-care/top-10-ways-keep-your-hamster-healthy, Accessed – 01 May 2021
- Harvard T.H. Chan, ‘Bananas’, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/bananas/, Accessed – 01 May 2021
- VCA Hospitals, ‘Owning a Pet Hamster’, https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/owning-a-pet-hamster, Accessed – 01 May 2021
- The Journal of Nutrition, ‘Nutritional Requirements of the Syrian Hamster’, https://academic.oup.com/jn/article-abstract/27/3/213/4725712, Accessed – 01 May 2021