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Can Hamsters Eat Bananas? Everything You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

February 16, 2021

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 poison 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.

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Can Hamsters Eat Bananas?

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Credit: t_watanabe, Pixabay

If you’re worried about whether it’s safe to feed your hamster bananas, don’t be. All species 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 are full of important vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and B-6. Those can help fight free radicals in their bloodstream, improve kidney health, and boost their digestive systems. The nutrients even help your hamsters maintain strong, dense bones.

There’s also plenty of dietary fiber in the fruit, especially if the peel is left on. Fiber helps promote a healthy gut and prevents constipation, ensuring that everything keeps moving through the digestive tract. Not only will this make your little critter happier and healthier, but it can also help them keep weight off.

Are There Any Risks to Feeding a Hamster Bananas?

Yes, 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 a high-calorie food is a recipe for disaster. 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.

These fruits can be choking hazards as well, especially if the peel isn’t removed, so make sure you cut them into bite-sized pieces.

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 banana. Many hamsters pocket fruit in their cheeks and leave it there for hours; doing so can cause their teeth to rot, 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 totally safe for your pet, but since the water is drained out of them, the sugar content will be even higher than normal, so feed them sparingly.

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So, What’s the Verdict? Can My Hamster Eat Bananas?

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 about handing them out as a reward for being especially cute or not doing anything particularly evil that day.

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.