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Can Hamsters Eat Pecans? What You Need to Know!

Emma Stenhouse

May 24, 2021

Hamsters love to eat, and it can be fun to enrich their regular diet with a blend of healthy fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Adding interest and variety to your hamster’s meals is a great way to keep them interested in their food. Besides things like carrots and lettuce, there are plenty of other options that you can include. But are pecans safe for hamsters? Nuts can contain plenty of beneficial vitamins, so you may be interested in adding some of them to your hamster’s food.

Just because something is safe for us to eat, doesn’t mean the same is true for your small furry hamster! But the good news is that in moderation, pecans can be added to some hamsters’ diets. They’re not recommended for certain hamster varieties, though, so keep reading as we look at which hamsters can eat pecans and how many they can have.divider-hamster

Good things about pecans

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Image credit: putalittlemustardonit, Pixabay

Pecans contain many beneficial vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins C, K, and B6. They also contain dietary fiber and protein.

  • Vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of cells within your hamster’s body.
  • Vitamin K is important for helping maintain calcium in the bloodstream and helping with blood clotting. It’s also used to build healthy bones, teeth, and cartilage.
  • Vitamin B6 helps build and maintain healthy and strong red blood cells and skin, as well as being essential for the nervous system.

Fiber helps your hamster’s gastrointestinal system function correctly, while proteins help them build and maintain healthy lean muscle.

Bad things about pecans

Pecans might be packed full of beneficial ingredients but they do contain things that aren’t so good for hammies.

Pecans have large amounts of sugar and fat, which can lead to your hamster gaining too much weight if they eat these nuts too often. This can eventually lead to weight-related health issues like obesity, arthritis, and diabetes.

Hamsters often love the sugary taste of pecans and will happily eat more of these nuts than is good for them! This can lead to them developing diarrhea, constipation, and bloating as they struggle to digest their haul.

We all know that hamsters love to hide food for later, but pecans can spoil and start to go moldy if left in your hamster’s cage for too long.

Some pecans intended for human consumption come seasoned with salt, sugar, or other flavorings. Don’t be tempted to feed these to your hamster.

The sugar levels in pecans mean they’re not safe for dwarf varieties of hamsters to eat.divider-multipet

Which varieties of hamsters can eat pecans?

Dwarf hamster varieties are at a much higher risk of developing diabetes than other hamsters. This means they should never be fed pecans, as the sugar content can trigger diabetes.

Campbell’s Dwarf hamsters, Chinese Dwarf hamsters, and Winter Whites Dwarf hamsters are all sensitive to sugar, so they should never be fed pecans.

Robowski and Syrian hamsters are larger and better equipped at digesting sugars and fats. Even so, they should only be fed a small number of pecans as occasional supplements to their regular diet.

Hamsters Eat Pecans_Joanna K-V_Shutterstock
Image credit: Joanna K-V, Shutterstock

How to feed your hamster pecans safely

Before you do anything else, we recommend checking with your vet that it’s okay to feed pecans to your variety of hamster. If you’re not sure what type of your hamster you have, it’s best to ask your vet to confirm this for you.

If your hamster is a Syrian or Robowski, then we suggest feeding them a ¼ of a pecan to start with. Watch your hamster’s behavior over the next two days to see if they seem to be behaving normally.

Signs that may indicate that your hamster is having trouble digesting their new food include:
  • Diarrhea. Loose stools can be a clear sign that your hamster’s digestive system is struggling with a new food. It doesn’t take long for diarrhea to cause dehydration, so if your hamster’s poop doesn’t go back to normal within two days, call for veterinary support.
  • No appetite. If your hamster is having issues digesting a pecan, they probably won’t feel like eating much else in the meantime. So, if they’re leaving their regular food untouched, it can be a sign that whatever else they’ve eaten is causing them discomfort.
  • Pica. This is defined as eating any non-food item with no nutritional value. It includes your hamster’s bedding and even their poop! Pica can be a way for your hamster to try and soothe their stomach, so it can often be seen in hamsters with a digestive issue.
  • If your hamster is usually energetic and they’re suddenly showing signs of having no energy, their digestive system could be struggling to cope with the new food.

Only ever feed Syrian and Robowski hamsters small pieces of unseasoned and shelled pecans.

We recommend giving your hamster their treat of pecan nuts after they’ve been offered their usual food. This means they’re not tempted to head straight for the tasty (and sugary!) pecan nuts rather than fill up on their nutritionally balanced hamster food.

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How many pecans can my hamster eat?

Syrian and Robowski hamsters can have between one to two pecans once a week. You may decide to break each pecan up into quarters and feed these with other healthy fruits and vegetables. These two varieties of hamsters can have up to a teaspoon of vegetables every day, and you may decide to offer them a small number of pecans with their veggie ration a few times a week.

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Image Credit: LisaRedfern, Pixabay

Can hamsters eat pecan shells?

Hamsters should never be offered pecan shells. The shells don’t contain any nutritional benefits, and if your hamster does manage to break a piece off, it could cause an intestinal blockage.divider-food2

Wrapping it up

Offering your hamster different foods can add interest and variety to their diet. Dwarf hamsters should never be fed sugary foods like pecans, so for these tiny guys, it’s best to stick to their regular pelleted food and healthy vegetables.

Syrian and Robowski hamsters can have one to two pecan nuts per week, but don’t overdo it! Offering them a small piece to check that they can digest it is essential to do before you give them more. It’s also best to mix other fruits and vegetables into their weekly or daily rations as well.

Pecan nuts should never be used to provide nutrition in place of your hamster’s regular food. If you do offer fresh nuts, fruits and vegetables, make sure you check that your hamster doesn’t store them away where they could start to rot.

Pecan nuts can be a great treat, and if your hamster loves them, let us know in the comments below!


Featured image credit: tseiu, Pixabay

Emma Stenhouse

Emma is a freelance writer, specializing in writing about pets, outdoor pursuits, and the environment. Originally from the UK, she has lived in Costa Rica and New Zealand before moving to a smallholding in Spain with her husband, their 4-year-old daughter, and their dogs, cats, horses, and poultry. When she's not writing, Emma can be found taking her dogs for walks in the rolling fields around their home...and usually, at least some of the cats come along, too! Emma is passionate about rescuing animals and providing them with a new life after being abandoned or abused. As well as their own four rescue dogs, she also fosters dogs for re-homing, providing them with love and training while searching for their forever homes.