Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

Can Mice Eat Hamster Food? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Some mouse owners may be wondering if mice can eat hamster food? Yes, mice can eat hamster food, but the nutrition needs of the two animals are different, and this kind of diet would not provide all the necessary nutrients in a balanced way.

A hamster diet is designed to meet the needs of a hamster. Hamsters need plenty of vitamins and minerals, and this may mean that their food contains higher levels of sodium, protein, calcium, and phosphorus than rodent or mouse foods do. Mice are also known to eat almost anything to adapt their eating habits to get more of these nutrients.

divider-mouse

What Do Both Animals Eat in the Wild?

Both mice and hamsters are omnivores who eat both plant- and animal-based foods. The animals will eat whatever best meets their nutritional needs at any given time, but even more likely, whatever they can get their tiny claws on! A mouse or rat may be more likely to choose a nice piece of cheese than a slice of cucumber, but they can easily survive on a vegetarian diet. The key is to make sure the animal gets all of the nutrients it needs to be healthy and strong.

Mice

Mice eating cucumber_Roger Wissman_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Roger Wissman, Shutterstock

Rodents such as mice and rats are known for eating a wide variety of foods in the wild. These rodents have short digestive systems, which means that they can eat food quickly and search for more food to keep up with their high metabolism rate. They also tend to seek out fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, or insects when available. A mouse may prefer a nice juicy piece of cheese, but if this is hard to come by, then other types of food such as bread, cereal, nuts, and fruit would be a suitable alternative. It is also common for wild mice to eat the eggs of their prey as well.

Hamsters

hamster_IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock
Image Credit: IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock

Although wild hamsters are quite rare to find these days, they tend to live in a territory that is rich in plant matter. It has been estimated that as much as 50 percent of their diets come from plants, including a wide variety of different food sources. Hamsters usually eat grasses, grains, legumes, tubers, roots, fruits, and even flowers. They are also known sometimes to eat insects too.

What Do Mice Need to Be Healthy?

Rodents such as mice and rats need more than just proteins to be healthy. As omnivores, rodents need plenty of nutrients, including Vitamin A, iron, zinc, calcium, and protein, but overall, they have higher fat levels than hamsters do. This means you will want to feed your mouse a high-quality mouse food that has plenty of the appropriate nutrients included.

The Verdict: Mice Can Eat Hamster Food

Even though a mouse or rat may choose foods different from what is provided in a hamster food diet, it should not mean that these animals cannot survive on this kind of food. A mouse will take any chance it gets to search for more food, even if this means going into its owner’s pantry or kitchen, where they can find plenty of snacks. This could lead the animal to look for something like cheese which is rare in the wild but commonly found at home.

Mice living in captivity may have little choice other than to eat whatever kind of food they come across. If a pet owner wishes to feed their mouse something closely related to what would be found in the wild, then it may be best to stick with fresh fruits, vegetables, and insects.

Why Hamster Food May Not Work for Mice

Even though a mouse can survive on hamster food, this does not mean that the diet will provide all of the animal’s nutrients to be healthy. The main reason this could cause problems is that a mouse has higher fat levels than hamsters do, which means mice need more Vitamin E. Another essential nutrient that most hamster foods are low on is fiber which mice need even more of when compared to hamsters. Fiber helps keep rodents’ teeth from being overgrown, which is a common problem for many mice who eat a low fiber diet.

mice eating
Image Credit: Piqsels

What Should You Feed a Pet Mouse?

The ideal diet for a domesticated pet mouse or rat consists of high-quality house pet food formulated specifically for small rodents. Just like rats and mice living in the wild, domestic pets need plenty of protein to maintain their body weight but should also be provided with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods. They can also eat seeds, nuts, bread and grains.divider-mouse

Conclusion

While it may seem strange to provide your pet mouse with hamster food as this is not what they eat in the wild, it could still make a good diet if combined with high-quality mouse food. Fresh fruits and vegetables should also be included in the diet whenever possible as these foods are rich in a wide variety of essential nutrients.


Featured Image Credit: Milada Vigerova, Pixabay

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.