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Can Hamsters Eat Cilantro? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Cilantro is a tasty annual herb that is leafy and bright green. If you’re wondering if cilantro would make a delicious treat for your hamster, don’t worry. Your hamster can safely eat small amounts of cilantro.

Do hamsters usually like cilantro? How much is too much? Continue reading to learn more. Ensure your pet’s safety by keeping all these aspects in mind when giving them tasty treats.

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Can Hamsters Eat Cilantro?

Like many fresh herbs, hamsters can safely eat small to moderate amounts of cilantro. It is an herb that is easy to grow at home and quite common for people to use in recipes. It can also be called coriander, Chinese parsley, or dhania, depending on where in the world you are.

If your hamster is a part of the family, you might want to drop some cilantro into their food, so they can get a taste of the dish that you prepared for the rest of the household.

Cilantro has many benefits for hamsters, but you need to practice a bit of care because it is relatively acidic. One of the dangers of cilantro in a hamster’s diet is the upset stomach that increased acidity can cause.

As with any treat, it is essential that you carefully monitor the amount that you give your pet.

Do Hamsters Like Cilantro?

Some hamsters love it and will happily gobble down whatever quantity you decide to give them. However, others will take one sniff and be happier to walk away.

Cilantro has a lemony taste profile. To some people, it adds a unique zing to the right dishes. To others, it tastes like soap.

A hamster’s taste buds are just as subjective. Try feeding cilantro to your hamster, and if they don’t even take a bite or just leave it alone, take it out of the cage.

cilantro
Image Credit: ReStyled Living, Pixabay

How to Feed Cilantro to Your Hamster

Quantity and consistency are the essential factors when feeding your hamster cilantro. Too much can cause adverse health reactions to counteract the small good it does.

Too much cilantro in your hamster’s system can cause digestive troubles. It is better to err on the side of giving very little than too much, especially considering the limited number of nutritional benefits it has.

When it comes to baby hamsters, avoid giving them any cilantro at all. It can cause digestive issues in their more sensitive tummies much faster.

An adult hamster should be allowed a pinch of cilantro, which is about an inch of cilantro from a section with leaves. It is better to avoid feeding them any kind of cilantro if they are not already accustomed to eating fresh produce. Get them used to eating milder foods, like cucumbers, before introducing a zingy herb to their diet.

Once they are accustomed to getting fresh produce in their diet and you have tested cilantro on your hamster with success, how much is too much? You should only feed them that pinch of cilantro once a week, without offering them any other acidic foods that day.

hamster eating cilantro stem
Image Credit: Ashley, Flickr

Nutritional Benefits of Cilantro for Your Hamster

In a ¼ cup of cilantro, there is only 1 calorie, no fat, and 1 gram each of carbohydrates and fibers. It does more by adding flavor to our food than give nutritional sustenance. Cilantro does have a few vitamins and minerals, which is more impactful on small hamsters than larger humans.

When looking at the same ¼ cup serving, you will find vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, iron, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Even for a small hamster, though, the amounts of each of these are not dramatic. The small amount of cilantro that hamsters can digest without any impact on their health won’t contribute much to their overall health.

Potential Dangers of Feeding Cilantro to Your Hamster

Although too much cilantro won’t become toxic for your tiny hamster friend, it can end up killing them because of digestive issues.

The most common side effect of too much cilantro is an upset stomach. If it gets worse, they may start exhibiting signs of diarrhea. It isn’t worth the little nibble of this food if they seem to experience either of these, even on a limited basis.

coriander
Image Credit: Hans Braxmeier, Pixabay

Other Herbs That Hamsters Can Eat

In the wild, hamsters are widely opportunistic omnivores. They can typically handle eating all kinds of natural foods. However, domesticated hamsters have lost some of this capacity because they generally don’t start putting their digestive systems to the test until they are much older.

If you want your hamster to try other herbs to add a little more color and flavor to their lives, try these:
  • Dill
  • Thyme
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Basil

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, it does give you safe choices to start with. Always feed your hamster in limited amounts, and test small quantities first to ensure that your hamster is not allergic or has adverse reactions.

Image Credit: shimown, Wikimedia Commons

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.