Hamsters are omnivores and can eat a wide variety of foods including fresh fruit and vegetables.
But can they eat apples? Yes, hamsters can eat apples, but only in moderation, such as half a teaspoon once or twice a week at the most. Apples and other fruits and vegetables should be considered a supplement to a hamsters diet as they contain natural sugar and can lead to diarrhea if they eat too much.
Before you go off to get your hamster an apple, there are some things to be aware of. Technically, hamsters can eat all types of apples, though there are certain types that I would personally avoid and there are certainly some parts of an apple that you definitely avoid feeding to your hamster. Let’s look at this in more detail.
Supplementing your hamster’s diet with apples
Apples are a great fruit to give to your hamster and they will no doubt enjoy them too – if they’re anything like our hamster Richmond that is!
A small sliver of apple (about half a teaspoon) once or twice a week can actually be very beneficial for hamsters because they are rich in fiber and contain lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
But it’s very important that the portion sizes are kept tiny. The reasons behind this are as follows:
- Apples contain sugar and too much of it can upset their tiny stomachs and can lead to obesity and diabetes
- Hamsters hoard their food, so If your hamster takes a piece of apple to their nest and doesn’t eat it within a reasonable time, it can rot very quickly, which if eat, could cause an upset stomach and potentially diarrea
- Your hamster may not be used to eating fresh foods. As a rule of thumb, whenever you introduce any new food to your hamster, you should do so gradually and observe them over the next few days to see how they react. Rapid changes to a hamster’s diet can cause diarrhea.
If you notice that the new food has any adverse effects on your hamster, then you should discontinue feeding it. If your hamster shows any signs of having diarrhea, then you should contact your vet asap as they can dehydrate very quickly and can be fatal if it isn’t treated.
How to feed your hamster apple
When feeding your hamster apple, I recommend putting a sliver of it in your hamster’s food bowl whenever you come to topping up its food.
Although it’s beneficial to scatter feed your hamster and will encourage it to forage for its food, I would not recommend hiding the apple anywhere because if your hamster doesn’t come across it, it will break down and rot very quickly.
If within 24 hours you find that your hamster hasn’t eaten all the apple, then you should discard it. Just because the apple is no longer in the food dish, that doesn’t mean that your hamster has eaten it all!
Hamsters are hoarders and will hoard food in their nest so that it’s easily accessible to them when they wake up for a snack during the day.
Your hamster may also have a couple of food stashes in certain corners of their cage, so be sure to check those too for any left over apple.
Reasons for not feeding your hamster apples
Although under normal circumstances it is fine to feed your hamster tiny pieces of apple, there are a couple of reasons when you wouldn’t feed your hamster apples.
The first instance is when hamsters are babies and under three weeks old. Baby hamsters are initially weaned by their mother but once they are three weeks old, they will start to go onto solid food, so it is fine to give baby hamsters a very tiny amount of apple at this point.
The other reason for now feeding your hamster apples is if you have a dwarf hamster such as a Campbell’s dwarf hamster or a Roborovski dwarf hamster. These species of hamsters are prone to diabetes and therefore shouldn’t eat foods that are high in sugar. This includes fruit and even vegetables such as corn.
Can hamsters eat apples with skin?
Yes, hamsters can eat apples that have skin on them. The skin itself is also highly nutritious. But before you give it to your hamsters, it’s important that you wash the apple first to remove any pesticides that may be on the skin.
Even if it’s organic, it can still have insects or traces of dirt on them that might cause your hamster to have an upset stomach.
If you still have doubts, remember, in the wild, hamsters don’t have anyone to peel an apple for them!
What kinds of apples can hamsters eat?
Hamsters can eat any kind of apple however some of them are more sour than others and you should consider this when feeding them to your hamster. Apples that are sour contain higher levels of malic acid, commonly known as “apple acid”.
The number one tarty apple is the Granny Smith so I would avoid giving your hamster this type of apple because of the potential to cause an upset stomach.
We tend to feed our hamster sweeter varieties of apple that contain less apple acid such as Braeburn or Gala apples.
Can hamsters eat apple seeds?
No, hamsters cannot eat apple seeds. Although fruit is good for hamsters and provides them with additional nutrition, apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanogenic acid which can be lethal if they eat enough of them.
You should also avoid giving hamsters pits that are found inside cherries, apricots and grapes for the same reason.
Can hamsters eat apple cores?
Yes, apple cores are fine for hamsters to eat but the main flesh of the apple is a much better part of the apple to give to your hamster.
The flesh of an apple is tastier than the core and easier to give to your hamster. If you do insist on giving your hamster and apple core, make sure that you remove the seeds.
Can hamsters eat apple tree branches?
Yes, hamsters can eat apple tree branches and they’re excellent for helping to keep their continuously growing teeth in check.
What fruits can hamsters eat?
Hamsters can eat all kinds of fruits including bananas, grapes, pears and strawberries. However, hamsters cannot eat citrus fruits such as oranges, clementines or lemons as they are too acidic and will cause your hamster to have an upset stomach.