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Home > Hamsters > Can Hamsters Eat Bananas? Vet-Approved Nutritional Science & Info

Can Hamsters Eat Bananas? Vet-Approved Nutritional Science & Info

Can Hamsters Eat Bananas

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Feeding a hamster can be surprisingly difficult. There are certain foods that you’d think they’d love but that you should never feed them, like almonds and citrus fruits, while other foods seem like they’d be off-limits but are fine (like fish!).

What about bananas, though? They seem like they’d be a delicious treat for your little rodent, but the last thing you want to do is accidentally harm your pet while trying to give them something delicious.

As it turns out, bananas are perfectly fine for hamsters and can even be quite good for them in limited amounts. To learn more, keep reading.


Can Hamsters Eat Bananas?

If you’re worried about whether it’s safe to feed your hamster bananas, don’t be. All varieties of hamsters can safely eat the yellow fruit, and they can even munch on the peel if you don’t feel like removing it (just wash it first, as the peels are often covered in pesticides and other noxious chemicals).

Bananas contain vitamins and minerals. These can be beneficial for your pet1.

Nutritional information of 100 grams (3.5 oz) of bananas (ripe or slightly ripe), raw
  • Water: 75.3 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrates: 23 g
  • Fat: 0.29 g
  • Protein: 0.74 g
  • Fiber: 1.7 g
  • Calcium: 5 milligrams (mg)
  • Phosphorus: 22 mg
  • Potassium: 326 mg

Bananas are perhaps best known for their high potassium content, which is always a welcome addition to a hamster’s diet. Potassium is often added to commercial hamster diet mixes.

The carbohydrate content of bananas translates to energy (in the form of naturally occurring sugars).

Bananas are also very low in goitrogens (compounds that can cause thyroid problems in excess) and oxalates (compounds that minimize calcium absorption and may lead to kidney stones). These traits are most definitely desirable.

peeled and sliced banana
Image By: t_watanabe, Pixabay

Are There Any Risks to Feeding a Hamster Bananas?

Like all fruit, bananas should only be fed sparingly. They’re high in sugar, and since many hamsters are already prone to obesity and diabetes, frequently feeding them high-calorie food is a recipe for disaster. High amounts of sugar can also lead to dental issues in hamsters.

Only give them a little bit once or twice a week at most (and if you feed them too much, they’ll probably get diarrhea, which is all the more reason to be cautious).

Also, if your hamster already has diabetes, you shouldn’t give them any bananas at all.

You should also remove any uneaten banana immediately because it rots quickly — but that won’t necessarily stop your hamster from eating it. Rotten fruit is full of all sorts of toxins and microbes that can harm your pet, and that’s true even if the fruit is just left sitting in the cage. Rotting fruit attracts bugs in addition to bacteria, so you probably don’t want it sitting around in your house.

Be sure to monitor your furry friend closely after giving them a banana. Many hamsters pocket fruit in their cheeks and leave it there for hours; doing so can cause dental issues, as well as lead to other painful or dangerous oral conditions.

sliced banana in a pot
Image Credit: Paulo Vilela, Shutterstock

Is There Any Special Way I Should Prepare Bananas for My Hamster?

The most important thing is to wash the peels if you’re not removing them and to cut the pieces into small chunks. Many hamsters won’t eat the skin, anyway, so the first part may not even be an issue for you.

There’s no need to prepare them in any special way, although some people like to give their hamsters dehydrated or oven-baked banana chips. These are not toxic for your pet, but since the water is drained out of them, the sugar content will be even higher than normal, so they aren’t recommended in this form.


Final Thoughts

As long as you’re not feeding your hamster bananas every day, then you should feel totally fine about offering them as an occasional treat. They are full of sugar, but they’re also loaded with important vitamins and minerals, so it’s basically a wash, nutritionally speaking.

Bananas shouldn’t be a cornerstone of your pet’s diet, but feel free to hand them out as a reward for being especially cute or not doing anything particularly evil that day.

Featured Image Credit: Jakub Csontos, Shutterstock

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