Can Hamsters Eat Shrimp?

Is shrimp safe for hamsters to eat? Yes, shrimp is safe to feed your hamster in small quantities. Let’s take a look at some of the nutritional benefits of shrimp for your hamster and how much you should feed them.

What Is Shrimp?

Shrimp, also known as prawns, are a type of small marine crustacean. Shrimp have long bodies and broad, flattened bodies with two pairs of jointed legs.

Most marine shrimp are covered with a protein-calciferol crust which repels water and allows them to swim in open water. Unlike crabs and lobsters, shrimp have gills instead of lungs. Most species of shrimp also do not have claws on their legs, but they still sometimes use them when catching prey.

Shrimp can be red, white, brown or pink and its shell can be greenish gray, purple or bright orange. Some types of shrimp also have spots on their backs and tails that help camouflage them from birds and fish looking for a meal. The size of the shrimp depends on the type but most range from one to six inches long . Because of extensive fishing in the last few decades, some types of shrimp are now endangered.

Shrimp can be found all over the world . Most species of shrimp live in saltwater but a few species have been found to tolerate brackish water or even freshwater conditions.

Shrimp are a very healthy food choice. One serving of shrimp contains around 100 calories while providing the consumer with over twenty grams of protein [20g]. Shrimp also contain omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked to heart health benefits.

There are many different ways to prepare shrimp. After being caught, shrimp often need to be deveined by removing their digestive tract . Shrimp can then be cooked in water or oil and spiced with salt, pepper or other spices before being eaten alone or added to another dish for more flavor. They are used in all types of dishes including casseroles, sandwiches, soups and salads.

Can Hamsters Eat Shrimp?

So can hamsters eat shrimp? Yes hamsters can eat shrimp. In fact, shrimp is a good treat for hamsters to enjoy every once in a while. However, do note that giving your hamster too much of any seafood (or crustacean) could make them sick!

Benefits Of Shrimp For Hamsters

Shrimp is a good source of healthy proteins, fats and other nutrients that your hamster can benefit from.

  • Protein: Shrimp contain around 20g of protein in every 100 calories . That’s around 50% more than beef and chicken. Protein plays an essential role in making new cells and tissues for your hamster so they need to get enough each day.
  • Fats: Shrimp are also rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids . These are great for reducing joint pain, improving the immune system, support cognitive function, and lower cholesterol. They are great additions to your hamster’s diet!
  • Vitamins And Minerals: Shrimp contain several important vitamins , including vitamin A, B12, B3, B2, D and E. They also contain iron , iodine and other important minerals for your hamster’s health.

Your hamster may enjoy shrimp as a treat but it is very high in protein so too much can make them sick!

Risks Of Shrimp For Hamsters

The biggest risk is feeding raw or undercooked shrimp. Feeding raw or undercooked shrimp to hamsters can also result in food poisoning. So make sure the shrimp you feed them are thoroughly cooked .

Just like dogs, cats and other animals, your hamster’s body may not be capable of digesting all of the ingredients in shrimp which can make them sick.

Shrimp are very high in protein. This is great for your hamster because protein contains amino acids that help maintain new tissue cell growth. However, if your hamster eats too much protein their kidneys will have to work extra hard to process it all which can lead to renal failure over time.

Too much shrimp could also make your hamster fat! Shrimp contain lots of healthy nutrients but they are high in calories too so only offer the tiniest amount on rare occasions.

Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.

If any shrimp are left uneaten in your hamsters cage, they could rot, start to smell and attract insects.

Your hamster may also store uneaten shrimp in their cheek pouches, and it’s not uncommon for hamsters to develop abscesses, which can be sore for your pet.

That’s why it’s advisable to monitor your hamster when giving them shrimp and immediately remove and discard any uneaten shrimp from their cage.

How To Feed Shrimp To Your Hamster

Since shrimp can be dangerous if under-cooked, you could try feeding your hamster pre-cooked shrimp. Try offering them precooked shrimp that have been shelled and deveined so there are no sharp pieces left over. You can try putting it in their food bowl with veggies to see if they will eat it!

If you are going to cook raw shrimp make sure that the shrimp are cooked through and no longer pink inside . Raw seafood of any type can contain dangerous bacteria which could make your hamster sick!

Do not cook the shrimp in any kind of seasoning, it should be plain unsalted shrimp.

As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster shrimp, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.

How Much Shrimp Can A Hamster Eat?

You should only feed only a tiny amount at first ! Only give extra treats when you know how your hamster reacts to it. A little bit will go a long way so don’t overdo it on the first try.

When feeding your hamster new foods, you should always start with a tiny amount to ensure that they like it, and that they don’t encounter an allergic reaction. So if you want to try feeding your hamster shrimp then we would recommend giving a very small portion size, about the size of a teaspoon.

Another good way to work out what is the right amount of shrimp to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.

Other Than Shrimp What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?

We have looked at if your hamster can eat shrimp.

Other than good quality hamster food, what else could you be feeding your hamster?


Grains are a staple food for hamsters. You should give about a tablespoonful each day. Grains can be found in commercially prepared hamster mixes, providing protein and carbohydrates. Avoid overfeeding fatty nuts (peanuts and sunflower seeds), as they can cause obesity.


Fresh, organic vegetables are the best choice for your hamster.

If you’re not using organic produce, be sure to clean it properly to get rid of any pesticides.

Whilst most vegetables are generally safe for hamsters, dark green vegetables are the best choice, so things like;

  • Artichokes
  • Broccoli spears
  • Carrot tops
  • Dandelion greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach

Avoid iceberg lettuce and other high-water veggies or fruits (such as watermelon) to avoid stomach problems.


Like vegetables, most fruit is OK for hamsters in small portions, as a supplement to the usual diet.

Some good choices are;

  • Apples (with pips removed)
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Strawberries

Remember always remove any uneaten veggies or fruits from your hamster’s cage within 24 hours to avoid them going off.

Timothy hay

Often overlooked for hamsters, hay is a wonderful gnawing food that can keep your hamster’s teeth clean.

Fresh water

Your hamster should always have access to fresh water, changed daily.

What’s The Best Diet For Hamsters?

If you have a hamster, you need to make sure that you are feeding them the best food possible.

We’ve discussed if hamsters can eat shrimp, and whilst hamsters can eat a wide variety of things, their primary diet should consist of good quality hamster food.

There are a lot of options available for your hamster, but not all of them are good! If you want to learn more about the best hamster food, you can read our full review of the best hamster foods here.

If you just want to know what we recommend, it’s Kaytee Pro Health Hamster food.

The Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Food was created by animal nutritionists to ensure that your hamster gets the correct nutrition within their diet.

To support digestive health, Forti-Diet Pro Health includes probiotics and prebiotics. This food is high in natural antioxidants for general health and immunity protection, as well as some bigger, crunchier pieces to promote dental health through natural chewing action.

Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Pet Hamster & Gerbil Food, 3 Pound
  • Larger, crunchy pieces supports dental health through natural chewing activity
  • Prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health
  • Naturally preserved for ideal freshness
  • A nutritionally complete diet for hamsters and gerbils
  • All natural


Hamsters can eat a variety of things including shrimp in moderation. Their primary diet should be good quality hamster food that is high in protein and low in carbs, but they can also have fruit, vegetables and meat in small portions too.

Once you know what to feed your hamster, you need to make sure that it is safe for them. If you are giving your hamster something new for the first time, we would recommend starting with a tiny amount and seeing if there’s any adverse reaction before gradually increasing the portion size over several days/weeks to get their full nutritional requirements met.

Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster shrimp. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of shrimp to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.

If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating shrimp, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

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