We’ve all heard that goldfish will eat until they burst. That’s why it’s so important to feed our fish appropriately. However, do hamsters have the same trouble? We all know they are hoarders, taking all the goodies to stash away in private.
But do they munch on a smorgasbord of snacks until they disappear, regardless of how full they might be? They absolutely stop eating when they are too full, but that doesn’t mean they keep themselves from gorging. So, keeping our fluffy rodent’s diet well-portioned and healthful is crucial.
How a Hamster Eats
Hamsters, like many other rodents, are hoarders by nature. They will stockpile as much food as possible, storing up for a rainy day. Even though they have a faithful human giving them meals daily, the instinct remains intact. That is because they don’t always know when their next meal will be in the wild.
In nature, hamsters avoid starvation by constantly gathering edible items. This is an evolutionary response—and one that doesn’t fall far from the tree. If you look in after giving your hamster a meal and see the empty food bowl, don’t be fooled. They certainly have snacked, but they’ve also saved some.
So, that’s why if you pull up their bedding or look in their hideaway hut, you’ll find some pieces of food stashed and hidden. Because they instinctively collect, it’s imperative to properly clean their cages to prevent any bacteria, mold, or build-up that could fester and later make them sick.
Hamsters Are Cherry-Pickers
Many hamster foods exist on the market. But any experienced owner will tell you that solid blocks are likely the way to go. These blocks have evenly distributed nutrients that create a well-balanced diet.
Often, hamsters are like children—they pick all the sugary, carb-filed goodies first and leave the rest for later. So, you must be mindful about what you’re giving them—and how much. Hamsters can easily store away less-than-desirable goodies while packing in the sweets, and you might not know until it’s cleaning time.
This could cause an imbalance in their diet and be the prime reason why they’re getting extra “fluffy.” Obesity can play a major role in future health issues, so it’s best to nip it in the bud when you notice it’s becoming a problem.
How Frequently to Feed Hamsters
Hamsters comfortably eat approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons of food daily—and they usually do most of their snacking at night. So, it’s best to get on a routine where you give them their daily rations toward evening.
Commercial pellets you offer should have between 15% to 20% protein and 5% fat. Commercial foods give your hamster just the right balance of nutrients, so save snacks for after mealtime.
Remember that rations might differ depending on the type of hamster, the age, and the activity level. For example, a very active hamster will need more than a sedentary adult.
Fresh Foods for Hamsters
While hamster-specific feed should be the staple in any hamster diet, you can (and should) give your hamster a variety of fresh fruits, veggies, grains, and lean meat. They thrive on these fresh items—and it will likely become some of their favorites, gobbled up long before their dry pellets.
However, they also stash what they don’t need. So if you overfed a little, make sure to scour the cage at the next mealtime to prevent decay.
If you’re looking to spruce up your hamster’s diet a little, here are fresh fruits and vegetables to try:
Even though your hamster is sure to appreciate all of the fresh foods you give them, you need to do so in reasonable portions. If you find a lot of leftovers in your hamster’s cage the next day, cut back on portions next time.
Hamster Fun Fact
Something unique about a hamster is that it can hold a substantial amount of food items in its mouth, like its squirrel cousin. It is estimated that a hamster can hold as much as its own body weight of food in both of its cheeks. Typically, they store it to hoard it for later. Pretty impressive if we do say so ourselves.
Hamsters can’t eat until they burst, but they certainly hoard food. It’s very commonplace for them to pick a part of their cage to stash all the goodies. So, always ensure to properly ration your hamster’s food and clean out any fresh items the day after you give them.
Also, ensure they have their commercial diet first and foremost, so they are not cherry-picking all of the sugary foods first.
Featured Image Credit: mordilla-net, Pixabay