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Can Hamsters Eat Blackberries? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Hamsters are a popular choice for a small pet, especially those living in small homes and apartments. Relatively easy to care for and considered a low-maintenance pet, hamsters have big appetites and love to eat. While they love to eat fruit, it’s essential to understand what is safe and unsafe before feeding it to your hamster.

Thankfully, blackberries are a safe and healthy fruit for your hamster to eat! Portion control is essential since fruit is sugary in general, but blackberries can be a great addition to your hamster’s diet. If you are considering adding blackberries to your hamster’s meals or as a snack, read on to know how much safe, the benefits, and how to prepare them:

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Can All Breeds of Hamsters Eat Blackberries?

Yes, all breeds of hamsters can safely eat blackberries, including dwarf hamsters. Blackberries are a sweet yet tangy fruit that most hamsters will enjoy. However, portion control is important with small animals to prevent obesity and other health problems. Blackberries are acidic and high in sugar, which can cause digestive and weight issues, but they’re still great in moderation. Hamsters, in general, enjoy most fruits and will undoubtedly enjoy having blackberries once in a while.

Are Blackberries Healthy for Hamsters?

Blackberries can be a healthy addition to your hamster’s diet since they’re rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, K, E, calcium, and fiber. These nutrients are important for immune, bone, and gut health. Blackberries also have a low glycemic index, which means they will not spike your hamster’s blood sugar like other fruits might. The key is in portion control since blackberries are naturally sugary and acidic, so it’s crucial to balance your hamster’s diet out evenly. Feeding a diet with too much fruit can lead to obesity, a severe problem with hamsters due to their tiny bodies. To avoid a diet high in sugar, balance out your hamster’s diet with more vegetables, or save blackberries as a treat instead.

How Many Blackberries are Safe and How Should they Be Prepared?

While blackberries may seem small to humans, they’re huge in comparison to hamsters. A half-teaspoon (which is about the size of one blackberry) a few times a week is considered safe. We recommend starting very slow and cutting the blackberry into quarters, serving one quarter at a time to ensure there are no bad reactions. Look for any signs of indigestion or allergic reactions, as these both can be fatal if not treated. Indigestion can lead to diarrhea, which causes severe dehydration in hamsters. Before feeding fruit to your hamster, make sure it has been thoroughly rinsed and dried.

blackberry fruit
Image Credit: FruitnMore, Pixabay

What are Blackberries, and Where do They Come From?

Blackberries are the edible fruits from the blackberry flower, Rubus fruticosis. They’re in the Rosaceae family, which has over 4,000 known species. Blackberries are related to raspberries, but they differ due to the middle core staying inside the fruit after being harvested, unlike their red berry cousins. Blackberries originated in multiple areas of the world and are still widely popular today, considered to be one of the healthiest fruits to eat. History dates back raspberry consumption to over 2,500 years ago, though earlier counts have been noted.

Are Blackberries Related to Raspberries? Are They Also Safe?

Yes, blackberries are related to raspberries and come from the same scientific family. The main difference between raspberries and blackberries is that the core of the raspberry is removed when picked and stays on the stem.

Raspberries are considered to be higher in sugar and more acidic, so they’re generally only safe for Roborovski and Syrian hamsters. Dwarf hamsters can’t tolerate the high acidity and should be fed fruits lower in acid and sugar to avoid serious health complications.

hamster eating blackberries
Image Credit: ChocoladeHam, Flickr

What Should Not Be Fed to Hamsters?

There are plenty of things that hamsters can safely eat, but there are food items that should never be fed as well. Many of these food items are toxic to hamsters and are often fatal, so it’s crucial that your hamster is never able to consume them. Sometimes, some parts of food can be safe, but the stems and seeds can be toxic. Regardless, it’s important to check before feeding anything to your hamster. Here are some of the most toxic foods that hamsters should never eat:

  • Leaf/stems/Green parts of a tomato
  • Garlic, Onions, Peppers, Hot spices
  • ALL citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc.)
  • Almonds
  • Chocolate
  • Apple seeds
  • Raw beans
  • Raw potatoes
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Eggplants

Before feeding anything to your hamster, even commercial hamster pellets, always read the label to ensure it contains nothing toxic. Double-check that any fruit, vegetable, or seed, is safe for your hamster to eat and always feed with caution if it is new. Introduce new food slowly to check for signs of indigestion, allergic reaction, or toxicity.

About Hamster Diets

Hamsters need a wide variety of nutrients in their diets, just like in the wild, so it’s vital that your hamster reflects this variety as well. A mixture of hamster pellets or a lab block, a seed mix that has pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fruits, vegetables, and hay are all crucial aspects of your hamster’s diet. Hamsters are usually herbivores but will eat insects if the opportunity arises, so protein is also an important aspect of their diets.

Another thing to consider is your hamster’s species, as this will change what they’ll prefer and how much they eat. Syrian hamsters have a different preference for dwarf hamsters, which will change portion sizes and types of food. Identify your hamster’s breed to get a better sense of portion sizing and food preferences. When in doubt, consult with a small animal vet specialist about hamster diets and what to feed your hamster.

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Final Thoughts

Hamsters enjoy eating and love to snack throughout the day, so it’s crucial to provide them with a complete and balanced diet. One component of their diet should be fruit, which can include blackberries. Not only are they a healthy addition, but most hamsters enjoy their sweet, tangy taste. Start off with small pieces throughout the week, sticking to no more than a half teaspoon’s worth per serving. As long as your hamster enjoys them and isn’t showing any signs of a reaction, blackberries can be an excellent source of vitamins and a great treat to enjoy once in a while.

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.