Can hamsters eat bananas? The Squeaks and Nibbles team investigates whether it is safe for a hamster to eat a banana.
Hamsters should eat a diet rich in carbohydrates and vitamins. Bananas are a great source of these nutrients and are non-toxic to hamsters. But bananas alone are not enough.
A hamster should eat a variety of food. How much banana can hamsters have? And should it be fresh, dried, peeled or cut?
Are bananas safe for hamsters?
Simply put, bananas are safe for hamsters – in moderation. And there are some important considerations when it comes to a hamster’s diet.
Bananas are a type of large edible berry. Yes, you heard that right. They are technically a berry. They have been cultivated since at least 5000 BCE and are native to much of Central America.
However, bananas quickly caught on when they were discovered and brought to Madagascar, Africa and Asia. Eventually they made it to Europe and the rest of the world.
Bananas, like many berries, are high in carbohydrates. They actually contain mostly carbohydrates – 93%, only 3% fat and 4% protein. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.
But what does this mean for our hamsters? Let’s take a closer look at bananas for hamsters.
Hamsters And Bananas
In the wild, hamsters are omnivorous, eating a variety of foods from nuts to roots to insects. Once domesticated, hamsters can live exclusively on commercial hamster food, as long as it is nutritionally complete.
The best diet for a home hamster is as close to nature as possible. However, many owners like to give their hamsters tasty vegetables and fruits.
Since hamsters are omnivores, this is not necessarily a bad thing. They are designed to eat fruits and vegetables.
In fact, some vegetables and fruits offer many benefits to hamsters and can help keep their diet reasonably varied. As we have seen, bananas contain almost exclusively carbohydrates. One study found that hamsters should eat about 62% carbohydrates to be as healthy as possible.
Obviously, hamsters should be consuming mostly carbohydrates, which is good news since bananas are almost entirely carbohydrates. Hamsters also benefit from the many nutrients in bananas.
Do hamsters like bananas?
As any hamster parent will tell you, hamsters love to nibble on just about anything they can get their hands on. And bananas are no exception!
Of course, we all like to share our treats with our animals, especially when it seems like they are begging for a treat. But it’s very important not to assume that your hamster can eat something just because you can.
Are bananas bad for hamsters?
Bananas are not toxic to hamsters and can contain bananas in moderation. However, the key word here is definitely “moderation”.
Hamsters are very small animals and should not eat themselves from any food. To achieve a healthy hamster diet, they should only have small amounts of good food. Too much of a good thing is still too much.
Are bananas good for hamsters?
We have already covered how the carbohydrates in bananas are good for hamsters. There are other benefits as well.
Fiber is also good for hamsters because it helps their digestion to stay regular. But because hamsters are so small, they don’t need as much fiber as their human counterparts.
In addition, different fibers work better for hamsters than others. According to one study, the fiber found in bananas is not particularly beneficial for hamsters and does not lead to the health benefits of other forms of fiber.
However, this does not mean that it is not completely useful. Fiber is still fiber, even if it performs a little worse than other forms.
Hamsters and vitamin C
Like many rodents, hamsters also need vitamin C in their diet. Hamsters do not store vitamin C and therefore need to consume it regularly to stay healthy.
Hamsters are prone to scurvy, which is simply a vitamin C deficiency. If the hamster does not have enough vitamin C, problems such as reduced clotting and collagen production can occur.
These problems can then escalate into walking problems, joint swelling, subcutaneous bleeding, and internal bleeding.
As you can see, hamsters need vitamin C even to function normally. Bananas provide this necessary vitamin easily and are therefore very suitable for a hamster’s nutritional needs.
Hamsters and vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 deficiency can also be a problem for hamsters. Hamsters do not produce their own vitamin B6, which means they must get it from their diet.
If they don’t use enough of it, their growth will stop after they run out of supplies, in about two or three weeks. If the deficiency persists, they will die within 13 weeks.
Hamsters simply cannot function without adequate amounts of vitamin B6. Fortunately, bananas are rich in vitamin B6.
A medium banana contains about 0.4 mg of B6, making it a good source of this nutrient for hamsters.
Can Syrian hamsters eat bananas?
In fact, there are several different species of hamsters that are commonly kept as pets. However, Syrian hamsters are one of the most common.
So if you’re wondering, “Can hamsters have bananas?” then you’re probably wondering about Syrian.
The answer is yes, Syrian hamsters can have bananas – but in appropriate amounts.
Can dwarf hamsters eat bananas?
Dwarf hamsters are another common pet. They too can eat bananas and have similar dietary needs to Syrian hamsters.
But remember that dwarf hamsters are small, and their portion sizes should be extra small.
Do not feed a dwarf hamster as much banana as you would feed a Syrian hamster. Again, the most important thing is to dose correctly.
Can a hamster have banana chips?
How about dried banana chips? Can hamsters have bananas that have been dried?
One of the most important things to remember about banana chips and dried fruit in general is that there are often additives in the drying process.
If you want to give your hamster banana chips, look for all natural chips with no additives. Better yet, make them yourself!
Remember to limit portions to small amounts.
Can hamsters have banana peels?
Just like the bananas themselves, there is nothing toxic about the banana peel to hamsters.
And since hamsters like to nibble on anything in front of them, they can be just as happy to get a small piece of peel as they are to get the banana itself.
But the same general rule still applies: only in moderation and best as a treat!
Can a banana treat constipation in hamsters?
Constipation can be a real problem for hamsters. It could be because the hamster has eaten its bedding, or it could be a sign of something more serious, such as tapeworm or intestinal symptoms.
Some may recommend eating fruits like bananas to treat constipation. However, it is always recommended to contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice signs of constipation.
It is very important to identify the cause of constipation in hamsters so that it can be treated in time.
Can baby hamsters eat bananas?
What about baby hamsters? Hamster puppies should eat solid food in the third week after birth. Until then, they rely mainly on their mother’s care.
When the puppies are old enough, you can try adding a little banana to their complete food diet.
However, remember that bananas should not replace the other foods they need, especially when they are still growing.
Can hamsters eat bananas every day?
Since bananas contain so many vitamins that hamsters need, you might consider giving your hamster large amounts of bananas, even every day.
Although bananas are non-toxic to hamsters and contain many beneficial vitamins, they do not contain everything a hamster needs to live.
A hamster needs a complete, balanced diet to live a healthy life. Bananas alone don’t provide that.
Instead, bananas should only be given as a treat and in very small amounts.
Although they contain many useful ingredients, we must remember that hamsters are very small. A banana should really only be a snack, a very small amount for a hamster.
Since you are very clear about giving bananas to your hamster as a treat, what type of banana do you choose?
- A fresh cut banana
- Banana with peel still on
- Dried banana chips
- Baby bananas
- Fruit salad with bananas
Alternatives to bananas for hamsters
Or maybe you’re more interested in other, non-banana options for your hamster. Here are a few to consider.
All of these follow the same rules as bananas for hamsters – they are safe in small, appropriate doses, do not replace a complete nutritional diet, and can be given as a treat.
Can Hamsters Eat Bananas Summary
The answer to the question “Can a hamster have bananas?” Yes, it is!”
As we have seen, eating a banana for your hamster is not a problem as long as it is dosed appropriately. Bananas contain many nutrients that hamsters need, and they fit into their diet quite well.
However, bananas do not contain everything a hamster needs, and they should only be given in small amounts.
Have you given your hamster bananas? You can tell us about your experiences with hamsters and bananas in the comments below.
References and additional information
- Musser, G. Hamster. Encyclopedia Britannica.
- Zeller, F. (2005). Herkunft, Diversitat und Zuchtung der Banane und Kultivierter Zitrusarten. Beiheft Nr. 81 zu Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics. Kassel University Press, GmbH.
- SELF Nutrition Data, Bananas, Raw Nutrition Facts and Calories.
- Martinez-Flores, H (2004). Effect of fiber-rich products on blood lipids and lipoproteins in hamsters. Nutrition Research, 24(1).
- Shwartzman, G. and Strauss, L (1949). Vitamin B6 deficiency in the Syrian hamster: ten characters. The Journal of Nutrition, 38(2).
- Disorders and diseases of hamsters. Merck Veterinary Manual