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Can Hamsters Eat Pumpkin? What You Need To Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

February 19, 2021

As a member of the squash family, pumpkin is considered a healthy and somewhat nutritious snack for humans. Hamsters, too, can enjoy the naturally sweet goodness of pumpkin. They can eat it with or without the skin and enjoy it raw or cooked, although raw is the preferred option for feeding it to pet hamsters.

Not only is pumpkin considered safe for hamsters, but it offers some health benefits and is also considered good for their dental hygiene. Preparing some homemade pumpkin-based snacks, or simply feeding a modest amount of this squash to your hammy could benefit him in the long run. The seeds are also a popular addition to a hamster’s diet and may become a favorite with your little rodent, potentially even rivaling the sunflower seed.

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Is Pumpkin Safe?

Pumpkin is not toxic to hamsters, which means that it can be fed safely and without fear of it poisoning your little one. However, as with all foods, some precautions need to be taken, and you should always feed pumpkin in any form in moderation.

Health Benefits Of Pumpkin

There is a range of health benefits for hamsters when it comes to eating pumpkins:

  • They are filled with antioxidants, which can help prevent signs of aging and prevent cancer and some other diseases.
  • They contain dietary fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive system.
  • Zinc is another ingredient that helps strengthen the digestive system and is found in this squash.
  • Magnesium, which is found in pumpkin seeds, encourages strong and healthy bones.
  • Chewing pumpkin seeds can also help to strengthen and maintain the strength in your hamster’s teeth.

As you can see from the list of healthy ingredients, pumpkins are especially beneficial in helping to maintain a strong and healthy digestive system, but also help maintain bones and teeth while staving off some potentially threatening diseases.

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Image Credit: Marius Ciocirlan, Unsplash

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How To Prepare Pumpkin

Hamsters can eat pumpkin in a variety of forms. They can eat raw or cooked pumpkin, but will especially enjoy and benefit from eating the seeds of the pumpkin. This is also the section of the squash that you are least likely to eat, so while you enjoy the flesh of the pumpkin, you can leave the seeds for your hamster to enjoy.

You can toast the seeds before feeding them. There isn’t any real benefit to doing this, but if your hamster prefers them toasted, then there’s also no harm in doing so. Simply roast the seeds at 250 °C until they are a golden brown color, let them cool off, and then offer them to your hammy.

Can I Put A Pumpkin In My Hamster Cage?

Hamsters can also enjoy the fruit flesh of the pumpkin, rather than just the seeds. Typically, this means cutting a small piece of the squash and feeding it. It is possible to simply put a pumpkin in your hamster’s cage, but even the smallest pumpkin will be too large for your rodent to eat before it starts to go bad. This means that you will have to remove the rotting flesh before it starts to smell and before it starts to make your hamster ill. As such, while it is possible to put a whole pumpkin in your hamster’s cage, we suggest only feeding as much as he will be able to eat over the space of a day or two.

hamster eating pumpkin
Image Credit: springhawk, Flickr

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Alternatives To Pumpkin

Approximately 80% to 90% of your hamster’s diet should consist of high-quality hamster pellet food, available from good pet stores. This food contains all of the necessary ingredients, vitamins, and minerals that will keep your hamster fit and healthy. The remainder of its diet can be made up of seeds and some fresh fruit and vegetables.

Hamsters are especially keen on seeds, and they enjoy sunflower seeds. You can combine these with pumpkin seeds, and you can even make your own fresh and healthy seed-based snacks for your hamster. Simply dip a small piece of non-toxic stick in honey and then roll the honey-basted stick in seeds that include pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Let the stick sit for an hour so that the seeds will stick, and then feed to your hamster.

Do Hamsters Like Fruit?

You can also include fruit in your hamster’s diet. This means that you can feed a small portion of pumpkin every few days. This can help give some variation in their diet to prevent your little one from getting bored of eating the same food day in, day out. You can incorporate other types of fruit and food into their diet, too.


Can Hamsters Eat Bananas?

hamster eating banana
Image Credit: Jakub Csontos, Shutterstock

Hamsters can eat bananas but this food should be served in moderation. You can feed approximately a quarter of a teaspoon of banana, once or twice a week, if your hamster enjoys it. You should ensure that the banana is not left in the cage because it can go bad and may cause distress for your hamster.


Can A Hamster Eat Carrots?

Similarly, carrots can also be fed in moderation, but you may want to avoid feeding them to dwarf hamsters. Carrots are high in natural sugar and dwarf hamsters are prone to diabetes, so feeding too much of this sweet treat can cause problems for your little rodent. Always remember that hamsters are very small and only need a small amount of food to satisfy their hunger.


Can Hamsters Eat Apples?

hamster eating apple
Image Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer, Flickr

Dwarf hamsters should also avoid other fruits like apples. If you do feed an apple to your hamster, do ensure that you remove the seeds first, because these can be dangerous. The skin, or peel, is not only safe for your hamster, it is considered nutritionally rich and one of the most beneficial parts of the apple.


Can A Hamster Eat Orange Peel?

Hamsters cannot eat any type of citrus fruit, which includes oranges and grapefruits, and it includes the flesh of the fruit as well as the peel. The acidic nature of citrus fruits will cause stomach pain in your hamster and can make them very sick.


Can Hamsters Eat Grapes?

hamster and a piece of grape
Image Credit: Krezodent, Shutterstock

Grapes are safe for hamster consumption, and this includes the skin of the grape. However, it may be better to remove the skin. Some grapes are covered in pesticides, and removing the skin removes the potential threat of feeding these harmful chemicals to your hamster. It also makes it easier for your hamster to get to the flesh of the fruit and enjoy the grape itself.

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Is Pumpkin Safe For Hamsters?

Although your hamster’s diet should primarily consist of high-quality hamster food pellets, you can also feed them a good selection of seeds, fruit, and vegetables.

Pumpkin is considered safe for your hamster. It can be fed raw and you can feed the flesh of the fruit as well as the seeds, which can be baked or fed raw. Not only is pumpkin considered safe for your hamster, but it is also a nutritional addition to their diet that can help maintain good digestive health and promote healthy bones.

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.