Watermelon is a very refreshing fruit and you can imagine sitting by the pool on a hot summers day eating on a fresh slice, but is watermelon safe for hamsters to eat? We’ll look at what watermelons are, their nutritional benefits, if and how much hamsters can eat in this article.
What Are Watermelons?
Watermelons are a type of melon, and they come from the family Cucurbitaceae. A typical watermelon can range in weight from 8 to 30 pounds and contain around 200 to 1200 seeds.
They come in a variety of colors and shapes, and some even have different colors on the inside of their rinds!
Watermelon plants love hot environments with moist soil (most fruits grow best when it’s warm).
The average growing season for most varieties of watermelons is about three months during which time you’ll need at least 2-5 hours of direct sunlight. The fruit itself takes about 2 months to fully grow.
Watermelons are usually eaten fresh, but can also be used in salads or as an additive to other dishes (such as meat). Some people swear by the benefits of watermelon juice, too.
Can Hamsters Eat Watermelon?
So can hamsters eat watermelons? Yes, they certainly can, watermelons are perfectly safe for hamsters to eat as a treat.
However, as with all fruits and vegetables, it’s important to not overfeed your hamster watermelons. They have a fairly high sugar content compared to other fruit options out there.
As a general rule of thumb, you should only give your hamster around a half a slice of watermelon per day if they’re in good health.
If they’re not used to having too much fruit at one time their stomach might be upset from the change in food. In this case, cut back on how much you give them or skip entirely until they’ve adjusted better.
Can Hamsters Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Can hamsters eat watermelon seeds? No, it is unsafe for your hamster to eat the seeds from any watermelon. The seeds can pose a choking hazard or intestinal blockage, which can be deadly to your hamster if they aren’t removed from the fruit before it enters its digestive system.
Benefits Of Watermelon For Hamsters
A common misconception among many people is that a hamster’s diet needs to consist of mainly grains and seeds.
While it’s true that these types of food are the highest in carbohydrates, which is what makes up most of a hamster’s daily energy intake, there also need to be other sources of nutrition for them as well.
In addition to the vitamin C content found in watermelon (which helps prevent infections from forming), it can also give your hamster an extra boost of hydration when they get hot from running on their wheel or playing in their cage!
- Can provide hydration for hamster
- Can help prevent infections in hamster
- Can give extra energy to hamsters
- Can provide vitamin C to hamster
Risks Of Watermelon For Hamsters
As with all treats or foods that you give to your hamster, there is always the risk of them having an upset stomach from eating too much watermelon at one time.
This can happen if they don’t normally eat fruit (or too much fruit) and their body cannot handle it. In this case, cut back on how much you give them or skip entirely until they’ve adjusted better.
Also, like many other fruits and vegetables, watermelons contain sugar which can cause hyperactivity and might contribute to obesity if given in excess (which means eating too much)
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any watermelon is left uneaten in your hamster’s cage, it could rot, start to smell, and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten watermelon 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 watermelon and immediately remove and discard any uneaten watermelon from their cage.
How To Feed Watermelon To Your Hamster
The best way to feed your hamster watermelon is fresh. If you will be giving them their treat outside of meal times or if they are not used to eating fruit, slice off a small amount and give it to them in the morning before putting the hamster back in its cage for play time.
For more experienced hamsters, wait until your pet has finished its regular evening feeding (so no extra treats) then offer them some watermelon by slicing off a piece of fruit and placing it on top of the food within their cage.
If you find that your hamster isn’t interested in eating its watermelon right away (or if any gets pushed towards the back of the cage), rearrange the pieces of food so the watermelon is easier to get at.
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster watermelon, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
How Much Watermelon Can A Hamster Eat?
While watermelon is good for your hamster, the amount of watermelon they can eat will depend on how much their body can handle.
If your hamster is new to eating fruit (or is only used to eating dry food) then it’s best that you start with small amounts and watch them carefully.
Hamsters eat a lot throughout the day, so if they want more they’ll let you know!
The general rule for feeding your hamster any type of treat or food (including watermelon), is no more than 1-2 tablespoons per day.
This isn’t very much though, so if they seem uninterested in their watermelon after 5 minutes feel free to take it away. And remember to remove any uneaten watermelon from their cage immediately after offering it to them.
As a guideline, here is the breakdown of how much watermelon each type of hamster can eat:
- Syrian hamsters – Can have up to 2 tablespoons per day
- Dwarf hamsters – Can have up to 1 tablespoon per day
- Chinese dwarf hamsters – Can have up to 1 tablespoon per day
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 watermelon 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 watermelon to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Watermelon What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat watermelon.
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;
- Broccoli spears
- Carrot tops
- Dandelion greens
- Romaine lettuce
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)
Remember always remove any uneaten veggies or fruits from your hamster’s cage within 24 hours to avoid them going off.
Often overlooked for hamsters, hay is a wonderful gnawing food that can keep your hamster’s teeth clean.
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 watermelon, 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.
- 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
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster watermelon. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of watermelon to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating watermelon, contact your local veterinarian immediately.