Hamsters make wonderful pets. From their cute appearance to high energy, it’s easy to see why. Small children are particularly fond of them, as they teach love and care for pets and animals at large. These rodents come in different breeds and have a lifespan between 1.5 to three years. At all times, take special care with hamsters. A safe, clean environment is necessary for their health and wellbeing. The right foods are also essential, and especially, fruits and veggies in the right amounts keep your hamster healthy. However, the wrong fruits can harm your furry friend. Bananas are one of those fruits that leave opinions of hamster owners split. Are they harmful? Can hamsters eat bananas? Let’s help decode the mystery.
The Health Benefits of Bananas
We should note bananas are great for animals and humans. They have a host of health benefits. Bananas contain vitamins like Potassium, Vitamin B6, Biotin, and Copper, and the fiber in them is particularly helpful to animals.
Bananas help in keeping hearts healthy by reducing cardiovascular disease. They also help reduce cholesterol. An active component called phytosterol helps clear clogged blood vessels. From kidney health, stomach health, and energy, it’s clear why the fruit has its advocates.
Like most food items, excess amounts can cause problems. It is indeed, for this reason why some refuse to give them to hamsters. To better answer the question about bananas, it’s important to classify the animals.
The Type of Hamsters
There are a few types and breeds of hamsters. Let’s consider each breed before concluding if the fruit is safe.
Syrians are the most popular breed. They are the largest breed, growing to about 6-7 inches long.
They come in a range of colors like brown, grey, and black, and live to a maximum of 2 ½ years. These hamsters enjoy a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables and even the occasional insect.
Should I feed bananas to it?
Yes, you can feed bananas to them. A small slice two or three times a week is fine. They enjoy the taste, yet they should eat it in moderation due to its high sugar content.
Chinese Hamsters are another popular breed. They are noticeably smaller and known as rat-tailed hamsters because of their long tails and grow to 4-5 inches. Chinese hamsters are often confused with Dwarf Hamsters but are slightly different.
They live to a maximum of 3 years and are social and can be grown with other Chinese hamsters. These hamsters are a bit harder to manage as they are quick.
Should I feed bananas to them?
Technically, they can eat them but be safe, avoid feeding Chinese hamsters bananas. The smaller size means that the health of these is volatile.
Introducing foods with high sugar content can cause complications like diabetes, thereby reducing their lifespan.
These are smaller hamsters that come in several types. The most known breeds are Winter Whites, the Campbell’s, and Russian Hamsters (called Roborovskis).
Most dwarf hamsters are between 3-5 inches and have a lifespan between 1 ½ to 2 years. These breeds also interact well with others, yet are hard to handle as they are fast and agile.
Should I feed bananas to them?
Consider the same position as Chinese hamsters. Dwarfs tend to suffer from diabetes and heart issues.
Excess sugar in foods like bananas is often the root cause of disease. They can eat bananas alright, them but you should avoid offering the fruit to them.
Banana Dos and Donts
If you decide to feed them bananas, remember that the fruit has high sugar content. It can be a sweet snack but not a staple in their diet. For Syrians, twice weekly is fine and for other breeds, even less.
Make sure that the bananas are fresh as rotten bananas can make hamsters sick. Store fresh bananas in a fruit bowl at room temperature. If the hamster is not in the mood for the fruit, don’t force them to eat it. Remove the banana after one day as rotting fruit can make them sick.
What About Banana Peels?
Banana peels contain the same health benefits of the fruit. Many cultures around the world consume the peels, and in fact, your furry friend will enjoy it as much as the fruit. Small pieces of banana peels are a great alternative, as it has lower sugar content.
If you are feeding banana peels to hamsters, make sure they are fresh peels. Organic peels are safer. Most contain pesticides that impact the hamster’s long-term health. Again, we encourage moderation for Syrians and if possible remove from the diet of other breeds.
What Happens If They Overeat?
Excess consumption causes a host of health issues as it affects the weight of the pet. Increased weight causes lethargy and fatigue, and as you probably already know, it hurts not to see a happy, active hamster. Excess bananas can create heart problems, ultimately decreasing their lifespan. Diarrhea is another common ailment.
Dwarf hamsters can get diabetes from excess consumption, and you can manage this by changing up their diet. Remove bananas and other high sugar items, or reduce to once or twice monthly. Introduce more leafy greens, grains like brown rice, and consult your vet. They can prescribe medication to manage the disease.
Importance of Fruits and Veggies for Hamsters
Despite the verdict on feeding bananas, you should not suspect that all fruits and veggies can cause the same issues. There are several high sugar fruits, but most are fine. It’s tempting to pick up the bag of hamster food in the pet store. Yet, most of these brands lack the essential vitamins and minerals your pet needs.
The right mix of grains, fruit, and veggies can improve their health. It provides energy, manages their weight, and protect their heart, kidney, and other vital organs. Feed them carrots, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower. Sunflower seeds are also fine. If you’re avoiding bananas, choose fruits like mangoes, peaches, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
In short, bananas have several health benefits for animals, hamsters are no exception. Yet, the high sugar content can be a problem if consumed in excess. Syrian hamsters can tolerate them more so you can feed them occasionally.
Dwarf and Chinese breeds are more delicate. Avoid bananas and other high sugar fruit, as they can get sick. You and your family can grow fond of your hamster, so make sure you guarantee its health. Feed it the right foods in the right amounts.
You May Also Interested In:
- 5 Best Hamster Foods and Treats (Reviews and Ultimate Guide)
- Can Hamsters Eat Blueberries?
- Can Hamsters Eat Apples?
Photo by Roborovskihamsters (talk) – http://roborovskihamsters.webs.com/, CC BY 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24575212
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