Personally I really like clementines because not only are they refreshing and taste great, they’re also packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants, so they’re good for you too.
But are they any good for hamsters? Can hamsters eat clementines? Well, here’s my answer:
No, hamsters cannot eat clementines. Clementines are citrus fruits and are too acidic and sweet for hamsters. Hamsters will try to eat anything they see as edible and by eating clementines, they can cause distress to your hamster’s stomach and potentially cause diarrhoea.
Also, if you look at the nutritional breakdown of a clementine, you’ll notice that clementines also contain a lot of sugar, which again, isn’t good for a hamster’s stomach.
Can hamsters eat fruit?
Hamster’s are omnivores and in the wild, hamsters eat a mixture of plants and insects. So it’s important that your hamster’s diet is as close to what they would eat in the wild as possible.
But they also eat fresh veg, mealworms and small amounts of fruit.
In fact, a lot of hamster mixes, like this on Amazon (#CommissionsEarned) have tiny bits of fruit in them.
This particular mix contains dehydrated cranberries, banana chips, dehydrated apples and dehydrated pineapple.
So there’s a good chance that your hamster is used to eating fruit on a daily basis.
Most fruit that is safe for humans are safe for hamsters too, but because fruit naturally contains sugar, it should be considered a treat and you should only feed your hamster fruit every now and again, as it can cause problems for your hamster.
What kind of fruit can hamsters eat?
Hamsters can eat many different kinds of fruit, just stay away from citrus fruits like clementines, oranges, lemons(!) etc.
There’s an exhaustive list of citrus fruits here if you’re interested.
- Apples (no seeds)
- Grapes (no seeds)
Preparing fruit for your hamster
Before you dive in and give your hamster a full apple, be sure to give it a good wash under the tap, remove the seeds if there are any (very important) and then cut it into small pieces.
We’ll cover onto how much fruit to give to your hamster in the next section, but cut fruit into very small pieces, so that they won’t hoard it, because fruit tends to ‘go off’ very quickly and you don’t want your hamster to eat any mould.
If there are any leftovers in the cage after a couple of hours or so, then it’s a good idea to remove them, for the same reason.
If you never feed your hamster fruit, or your hamster mix consists mainly of nuts and seeds, then you may want to introduce fruit slowly into your hamster’s diet, because you won’t know in advance how they might react to it.
Take a small quantity of fruit, such as a tiny sliver of apple and give it to your hamster, then observe your hamster over the next day or so to see how they react to it.
If there are no signs or diarrhea and you don’t notice any changes in their toilet habits, then you’re all good.
If you do notice something that’s not quite right, stop feeding your hamster fruit immediately and if things don’t improve in the next day or so after that, it’s time to see a vet.
How much fruit can hamsters eat?
Although fruit provides a lot of important natural vitamins and nutrients, you should only feed fruit to your hamster in very small amounts.
Feeding a hamster everyday is considered too much, aim for no more than about half a teaspoon of fruit about 2-3 times per week to be safe.
Remember, the stomach on a hamster is only very small, so only a tiny bit is needed.
When we feed Richmond, we offer him only a very tiny slice of apple once per week at the most.
Consequences of too much fruit in hamsters
So we’ve discussed that giving your hamster too much fruit is bad for them, but in what way?
Well, because fruit is very high in sugar, natural sugar that is, too much of it can lead to diabetes.
Notice, I said “lead to”. That is because sugar does not cause diabetes by itself.
Rather, it is the overconsumption of junk foods and sugars that causes obesity which then can lead to insulin resistance. When you become resistant to insulin, you are much more likely to become diabetic.
If you notice that your hamster is drinking more than normal, or excessively, peeing excessively, lost/gained weight all of a sudden, sleeps more often than usual or is hungrier than normal, then your hamster may have diabetes.
In which case, you should contact your vet immediately so that your hamster can continue to live a normal life.
If there’s one word to describe how much fruit to give to your hamster, it’s ‘moderation’, and that goes for us humans too!
As a general rule of thumb, you should only feed your hamster what it can eat in a day because if there is any left over, your hamster will store it away and fruit and veg can become mouldy.
This is also bad for your hamster’s health.
What fruits can hamsters not eat?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, stay away from citrus fruits because they’re harmful for a hamster’s gut.
Another type of fruit that you shouldn’t give to your hamster is starfruit.
This is because there are substances in starfruit that can affect the brain and cause neurologic disorders and can also have a harmful effect on people that have kidney disease.
However, having dug around a little on this, there isn’t any research to back up that this is harmful to hamsters, but given that it can have some adverse effects on humans, I would keep them well away from you and your hamster.
In addition to citrus fruit, you should avoid giving your hamsters fruits that contain a lot of seeds. Apple seeds and grape seeds in particular are poisonous to hamsters.
Let’s face it though, there are lots of alternatives that you can treat your hamster with, so let’s look at one of them.
Recommended fruit treat
Hamsters love bananas and they’re good for them too. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and contain vitamin B6, fibre and carbohydrate and some vitamin C.
Bananas come loaded with a ton of micronutrients, including potassium, which helps to regulate heart function and keep blood pressure under control.
They can also help to protect against heart disease and strokes.
But again, remember that word ‘moderation’. Bananas are also high in sugar.
Remember when I said that fruit and veg can go mouldy? Well, if you use treats like dried banana chips, then they won’t, and so they’re ideal for hamsters.
Richmond loves banana chips (Amazon, #CommissionsEarned) probably because they’re crispy and crunchy and something that he can get his teeth stuck into.
Because banana chips are dried, they’re not quite as sweet as a regular banana, but still, use them as a treat once or twice a week.
Just make sure that you give your hamsters the plain banana chips and eat the cinnamon and strawberry flavored banana chips yourself, that way you can both enjoy a treat!
Hamsters in the wild don’t get their food presented to them on a plate, or a bowl for that matter, rather they have to go out and search for it.
So again, to try and mimic their native environment, you could hide some of their fruit treats (make sure it’s dried fruit though) around their cage.
This is a great way to alleviate some of the boredom that your hamster may experience.
Your hamster will enjoy searching for the food and if you have children in your family, then hiding some treats for your hamster in their cage is a great activity for them to get involved in.
To sum up, hamsters can not eat clementines. They’re simply too acidic and contain too much sugar for your hamster’s stomach to cope with.
But that doesn’t mean that all fruit is banned for hamsters, far from it, in fact they eat fruit in the wild, so why not introduce some fruit to your hamster every now and again?
Fruits definitely contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients which will bring a lot of health benefits to your hamster. However, due to the high sugar content in fruit, too much can lead to obesity and put your hamster at risk of developing diabetes.
When offering your hamsters fruit, as a treat, stick to things like a cube of apple, banana, mangoes, that kind of thing and stay well away from citrus fruits like clementines, oranges, lemons etc.
I’ve also mentioned that star fruit should be given a wide berth since there are plenty of warnings about the adverse effects it can have on humans, so I would advise against giving any to your hamster.
Finally, use a little common sense when you’re feeding your hamster. If you’re introducing a new food to your hamster, have a look online first to see if it’s safe for them to eat. Hamsters will literally eat anything they can get their little paws on!
Also, don’t forget that your hamster is only very tiny and their stomachs are even smaller, so bear this in mind when you’re feeding him/her treats.
Look after your hamster and give your hamster a good, healthy diet that they deserve!