Can Hamsters Eat Bananas: How to Safely Offer This Tasty Treat
For people, bananas are known to be packed full of nutrients with clear health benefits.
So eating bananas might seem like a no-brainer….for you. But can your hamster eat bananas too?
Hamsters are smart and social and quickly catch on to where all those tasty treats are coming from. So if your hamster sees you chowing on a banana, they will probably start begging for a taste.
In this article, we walk you through everything you need to know about whether hamsters can safely eat bananas.
Can Hamsters Eat Bananas
As Doc Jess from Vet Explains Pets outlines, hamsters can eat bananas.
However, it is important not to over-feed your hamster bananas because they are high in sugar. Read on to learn everything you need to know about whether hamsters can safely eat bananas, how often, how much, and more.
Watch a Tiny Hamster Eating a Banana
As this absolutely adorable YouTube video demonstrates, hamsters absolutely can eat bananas. They love bananas!
But how often can you offer bananas to your hamster? Is there anything you need to know about how much banana is safe or how to prepare bananas for your hamster to enjoy?
Let’s find out!
What Nutrients Do Bananas Offer
Bananas are a truly remarkable source of nutrition in every way.
As Healthline explains, here is a basic outline of all the different nutrients a single medium-sized banana will offer.
Nutritional overview of one banana
- 89 calories.
- 75 percent water.
- 12.2 grams of sugar.
- 22.8 grams of carbohydrates.
- 0.3 grams of fat.
- 1.1 grams of protein.
- 2.6 grams of dietary fiber.
Medical News Today outlines the vitamin and mineral content in one banana.
Vitamins in one banana
- 76 IU of Vitamin A.
- 10.3 mcg of Vitamin C.
- 23.6 mcg of Vitamin B9 (folate).
Minerals in one banana
- 422 mg of Potassium.
- 11.6 mg of Choline.
- 1.9 mcg of Selenium.
- 26 mg of Phosphorus.
- 31.9 mg of Magnesium.
Other nutrients in one banana
- 30.7 mcg of Beta carotene.
- 29.5 mcg of Alpha carotene.
What does all this mean in terms of your hamster’s daily nutritional needs? After all, one medium-size banana is larger than your hamster!
Clearly, we need to break this down further to understand how to feed bananas safely to your hamster.
A Typical Adult Hamster Weekly Menu
As the Hamster Society points out, hamsters are omnivorous like people. This means hamsters can eat animal protein and plant matter.
According to the veterinary team at PDSA charity, an adult hamster should have a number of different types of foods in their weekly menu rotation.
For general purposes, the PDSA veterinarians recommend sticking to the following food groups:
- Hamster pellets (commercial pet food).
- Freshwater (always).
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Protein (mealworms, nuts, boiled eggs).
- Timothy hay.
Banana fits into the fruits and vegetable category. However, hamsters should be offered a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables so they take in many different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
And overall, fresh produce should only comprise about 10 percent of a hamster’s total daily nutrient and caloric intake. This means the total quantity of bananas you might feed to your hamster per week will be quite small.
Feeding Hamsters Banana Can Lead to Hoarding and Food Caching
In addition to the need to adjust portion sizes to the size of the diner, there are some other dangers you will need to watch out for when you feed bananas to your hamster.
This is especially true for the very first feeding.
According to Hamster Club, an adult hamster can weigh anywhere from 15 grams to 200 grams depending on species.
The average medium-size banana weighs between 119 and 184 grams (depending on whether it is peeled or unpeeled).
So clearly there isn’t a hamster on the planet that could safely eat a whole banana in a single sitting!
The danger with hamsters isn’t that they will try to consume too much banana, however. It is that hamsters are known, hoarders.
In fact, according to Business Insider, the typical adult hamster’s cheek patches can easily hide up to 20 percent of the hamster’s own body weight in hoarded snacks!
And since banana is so tasty, it is quite likely that a hamster who is stuffed to the gills will try its best to pack off the rest of the fruit and cache (hide) it around in their habitat.
This may lead you to think your little fur buddy has eaten the whole thing when in reality it is cached here, there, and everywhere under bedding and in little corners, where it is already starting to reek and rot.
How to Safely Start Feeding Banana to Hamsters
There are several rules of thumb to consider when you give your hamster banana for the first time.
- Only offer a single peeled round of banana for the first feeding.
- Put the banana in a sturdy dish that won’t tip.
- Watch your hamster until you are sure they are done feeding.
- Remove any uneaten banana right away to discourage caching and hoarding.
- Wait 24 hours without offering any other food besides their staple pellets.
- Examine their stool and behavior to be sure the banana didn’t cause digestive upset.
If all goes well in this first 24-hour period, you can start adding banana to your hamster’s weekly fresh produce rotation.
Can Hamsters Eat Banana Peels
At this point, you might be wondering if it is okay to leave the peel on when you feed banana to your hamster.
The answer is yes and no.
Organic banana peels are okay to feed to hamsters
If the banana is organically sourced and you have washed the peel to remove any debris or toxins, it is okay to leave the peel on when offering the banana to your hamster.
However, even though the tougher peel is great for chewing and gnawing, your hamster may ignore it in favor of the tasty fruit.
Commercial banana peels are okay to feed to hamsters
If the banana is not organically sourced, always remove the peel before feeding it to your hamster.
Non-organic produce will be treated with pesticides and other toxins that could harm your tiny hamster.
How Often Can You Offer Banana to Hamsters
Hamsters can eat lots of types of fresh produce safely. So you don’t want to over-feed bananas and risk them missing out on the vitamins and minerals in other types of produce.
Plus, banana is packed with carbohydrates and sugar. Over-feeding bananas could easily lead to weight gain in a tiny hamster.
The best approach is to offer banana once per week, no more than one thin round (peeled or un-peeled as noted above here) at a time.
After the first feeding, when you are sure your hamster tolerated banana without digestive upset, you can increase the feeding to twice per week if you want to.
If your hamster is like most, they will probably adore bananas and be eager to eat this tasty, sugary treat fruit as often as you want to feed it.
So it will be your hard job to make sure your hamster gets all the benefits and none of the side effects of enjoying bananas regularly.