Question: Can Hamsters Eat Cherries? Yes, in very small amounts as they contain high amounts of sugar. The pip must always be removed as it can be toxic and a choking hazard.
What are cherries?
Cherries are the fruit of several species of tree in the genus Prunus, and are a member of the rose family.
The most common type of cherry is the sweet cherry but sour cherries also exist. The name ‘cherry’ derives from Old English ‘cere’.
The term “sweet/sour” refers to the taste of cherries. Most sweet cherries available on the world market are hybrids because they have been selectively bred to achieve large size and sweetness. Sour cherries mostly originate from North America, northern Europe and western Asia, with some native to southeastern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa.
Cherry trees usually begin to bear fruit three to four years after planting, and will continue regularly producing yields for 20–40 years or more.
Can Hamsters Eat Cherries?
Hamsters love to eat fresh fruits, and cherries may be a perfect treat for your pet. However, these treats may be too rich for your hamster, and they may end up with indigestion or diarrhea if they consume too many cherries. Unless your hamster is already accustomed to eating fresh fruit, try introducing them to dried cherries initially. Unlike fresh cherries, dried cherries won’t develop mold and therefore you can use them as a play treat with your hamster by hiding them around your hamsters cage.
Cherries contain useful amounts of Vitamin C, dietary fiber and antioxidants. They also contain moderate levels (compared to other such foods) of calories and sugar which make them feasible treats for rodents. If your pet hamster is already obese or overweight then this should be avoided due to the high sugar content in the fruit.
Fresh cherries can be a healthy supplement for your hamster’s diet. Depending on its breed, they can even enjoy small portions of these tasty treats. However, you should be aware that cherries should only be given as a supplement to a hamster’s regular diet, and should never be given as the main staple.
Although hamsters love cherries, they are not recommended for a pet’s diet. Their high sugar content can trigger diabetes or worsen an existing condition. Some breeds of hamsters are prone to diabetes, so you’ll want to check with your vet before feeding your pet this sweet treat. If you’re unsure, give your hamster a very small portion of cherry and see how they react.
Risks of Cherries for Hamsters
Although hamsters aren’t prone to developing diabetes, they can develop the disease if they eat too much sweet food like cherry. The high sugar content can also cause your hamster to overeat and can become overweight if they consume too much cherry.
You should never feed your hamster cherries in large amounts. The sugar in cherries can trigger obesity and worsen diabetes, especially in some breeds. It is best to limit your hamster’s exposure to cherries to a small amount of fruit each day. Additionally, you should always consult your veterinarian before giving your hamster cherries. It is essential to follow their advice before introducing them to a new food.
Before feeding your hamster fresh cherries you should wash them thoroughly to avoid pesticides or other agricultural chemicals which can seriously negatively impact your health.
In general, the fruit is harmless for hamsters. However, there are some risks associated with giving your hamster cherries. Since the flesh is non-toxic, your hamster can consume them in moderation. Furthermore, cherries contain high levels of anti-inflammatories and vitamins that boost your hamsters health.
However they do contain a large pip/seed which could be toxic to your hamster and also a potential choking hazard. Therefore you should always destone cherries before feeding them to your hamsters. While hamsters can eat cherries, they should not ingest the pits. The pits of cherries contain small amounts of cyanide, which can lead to toxicity. This is why owners should remove the pits before feeding their hamsters.
Benefits of Cherries for hamsters
Cherries are high in fiber, polyphenols, potassium, Vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory chemicals. The pit can be toxic to hamsters, and feeding them the pit may lead to digestive problems. To avoid this, be sure to peel and remove the pit.
Aside from the antioxidants that cherries contain, they are also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory chemicals. Cherries are a great food supplement for your hamster, but you should still avoid giving them large amounts of the fruit. Too much can cause problems such as diarrhea, stomach upset, and a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Eating cherries can be a good source of Vitamin C for your hamster. It is also widely considered beneficial in treating or preventing upper respiratory infections, making it an important part of your pet’s diet.
Dietary fiber helps the movement of food through the digestive system to prevent constipation and reduce cholesterol, both which are very beneficial towards your hamster’s health.
Antioxidants are molecules that can protect cells from damage by free radicals, compounds that are thought to contribute to the aging process. These antioxidants are said to have anti-inflammatory properties which may prove useful when eating fruits high in this nutrient type for long periods or when your pet is ill or stressed.
This is the only real downside to eating cherries for your hamster; although they are definitely not “bad” or harmful in any way, they do contain a fair amount of sugar that should be monitored carefully. For this reason, using them as treats rather than part of regular diet will help keep your pet healthy and fit.
They provide great benefits when given sparingly as an addition to a varied diet, but regular use can potentially lead to obesity which can become problematic if left unattended over time.
How to feed cherries to your hamster
When you begin feeding your hamster cherries, start off by giving it small amounts at a time. This way, you’ll be able to see if your hamster enjoys them and doesn’t have any adverse reactions. It’s best to start out slowly and see how your critter reacts, if you notice anything unusual remove the cherries and contact your vet.
As the pit of a cherry can be a choking hazard, it is best to cut the flesh of the cherry into tiny pieces so that your pet can easily eat it. You can use a tea spoon to measure out your portions of fresh fruit and veg as a general guide for portion control.
When introducing a new food to your pet, you should always consult a veterinarian or health care professional before making the change.
There are different methods on how to feed cherries to your hamster. Some owners choose to feed their hamsters with fresh fruit, whilst others prefer to feed them dried fruit.
If you decide to use this method you mustn’t give too many cherries to your hamster at once, as they are quite rich in sugar and may cause potential health problems if fed regularly or in large amounts.
You must also remove the pip.
It is advised by many owners that no more than 5-6 pieces would be appropriate for a Syrian hamster, 2-3 small pieces per day amount for a Chinese one and just 1/4-1/2 of an ounce weekly for any smaller breeds.
It is also advisable that you remove any ripe or overripe fruit from the cage immediately to prevent your pet from eating them as they may have a laxative effect on rodents, causing diarrhea.
Feeding dried cherries to your hamster may be more convenient, particularly as you don’t need to remove the pip and there’s less chance of dried food rotting and going moldy in your hamster’s cage.
Like feeding fresh cherries, it is advised only to give small amounts to your hamster.
Other than cherries, what else can you feed your hamster?
Aside from cherries, hamsters can also eat other fresh and dried fruit such as:
Apples (without the seeds and core)
Berries of all kinds, but avoid grapes which can be toxic to small rodents.
Bananas (ripe only)
Melon (no seeds/pips or large amounts)
Pears without any seeds or cores
Hamsters also enjoy fresh vegetable treats such as:
Carrots (no seeds or large amounts)
Cucumber without any seeds or pips
Fresh green beans
Lettuce, spinach and celery are also good to give your hamster but should only be fed in small amounts.
All fruit and vegetables must be washed well before being fed, ideally with water.
What do hamsters eat in the wild?
In the wild hamsters will eat a variety of different foods that they can find, but their diet mainly consists of plant seeds and roots. Although they are omnivores, in the wild they usually only eat a small amount of meat such as lizards or insects which they would have to catch themselves.
In the wild, hamsters might also find grains such as wheat or rye growing on the surfaces of the ground and would feed on these too.
Hamsters can eat cherries, but they should only be fed as a treat and the amount to feed should be limited. They are good for providing antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body.
Giving dried fruit such as cherries is more convenient as less preparation (removing pips) and rotting food is likely.
As with introducing any new food to your hamster, if you notice anything unusual please contact your vet immediately.
Does your hamster like cherries? Let us know in the comments below.