Can Hamsters Eat Dried Shrimp?

By Dawn | Hamster Food
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It is known that hamsters can eat meat, so there is often the question of whether these little furry friends can eat dried shrimp. Of course, in the wild, a hamster wouldn’t be eating shrimp because they wouldn’t be underwater, but surely a bit of dried shrimp wouldn’t hurt as a treat for captive hamsters?

Hamsters can have very small amounts of dried shrimp and other seafood, BUT you should keep in mind that many hamsters may develop an allergic reaction after eating foods like this. 

With that in mind, it pays to do some deeper exploring on whether dried shrimp is a suitable snack for your hammy or whether you might be better looking at other meat-based foods. 

Is Dried Shrimp OK For Hamsters?

One of the more popular choices for a treat for pet hamsters is dried shrimp. You may find this strange to begin with since this would never form part of their natural diet in the wild.

However, many people give a biscuit to their hamsters, and I’m pretty sure that there aren’t any hamster bakeries in the wild either. 

Dried shrimp can be used as a treat for hamsters, but there are a lot of things to think about before you go throwing a portion into their cage. 

As with any type of pet food, it is essential to think about where you source the shrimp. You should avoid collecting food from the wild as there is a very high chance that it could contain bacteria that may be harmful to your pet. However, if you must source your shrimp this way, it is vital that you do the following:

  • Never use saltwater shrimp as the salt content will be far too high and could make your hamster seriously ill. Freshwater shrimp can be found in rivers all over the world, and these make a much safer option. 
  • Never feed your hamster raw shrimp. The food should always be thoroughly cooked (and cooled) before offering it to your pet, even if you intend to freeze dry it.

A better option would be to purchase dried shrimp from your local pet store. These can often be found in the bird food section and are not expensive. 

Buying from a pet store will give you the confidence that these shrimp were prepared for pets and will be safe to eat. What’s more, it’ll save you the hassle of having to go fishing for shrimp.

You may wish to mix the shrimp into a mix of other foods or offer it on its own. But whichever you choose, it is important to remember that this should be given as a treat and not as a regular part of your pet’s diet. 

One of the most important things to consider is that a lot of hamsters have been known to have an allergic reaction to seafood. So it is vital that if you do use dried shrimp, you keep a close eye on your pet afterward to make sure that they haven’t had an adverse reaction. 

How Do I Know If My Hamster Is Having An Allergic Reaction?

It can be concerning to see your pet uncomfortable, and while allergies are unlikely to be fatal, they can certainly be unpleasant for your pet. 

It is common for hamsters to develop allergies at any point in their lives; these could be to food, bedding, or products used in and around the cage, such as detergents. 

If you have never given your hamster dried shrimp before, it is wise to offer a small amount and monitor your pet over the coming hours. 

If they don’t react, you can be confident that they will be fine eating this type of food. However, if you notice any of the following, it is best to avoid this food in the future:

  • Scratching
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Swollen feet
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Hair loss

What Other Meats Can Hamsters Eat For Snacks?

If you have determined the dried shrimp isn’t going to work well for your hamster or do not want to risk an allergic reaction, there are plenty of other foods that you can use for your hamster as a treat. 

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that while hamsters do eat meat in the wild, this is not the only part of their diet. It is important that when you offer meat, you do so in moderation.

With that in mind, you might want to offer your pet some chicken. This is great as a snack, but because of the high level of protein, it should be offered in very small quantities. If you prefer beef on your roast dinner, then it is entirely possible to offer some small pieces of beef or steak to your hamster, but be mindful that it is not too tough.

In the case of any meats, it is essential that they are cooked properly before being given to your pet. 

You may also feed your hamster a selection of insects and worms. Again, it is vital that you do not source these from the wild but rather buy them from a pet store. Some of the most popular choices for hamster owners are mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers.

Related Questions

Can hamsters eat cheese?

Cheese is safe for hamsters to eat, but as with many other human foods, it pays to be mindful of how much you are giving to your pet. Cheese is quite a fatty food, and too much could cause your hamster to become overweight, which can cause a variety of health problems. It is also a good idea to stick to mild cheeses rather than potent ones. The best choices are typically cottage cheese or very mild cheddar cheese.

Do hamsters like to swim?

With a love for shrimp and other water-based foods (even frogs in the wild), you could be forgiven for thinking that a hamster will swim. Yes, hamsters can swim, but they don’t necessarily enjoy it. For many animals, hamsters included, the ability to swim is more of a survival tool than it is an enjoyable form of exercise. They live in naturally dry climates and generally do not like being in the water, or even getting wet.  Water can also strip their fur of its essential oils.