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What Do Hamsters Eat?

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Hamsters are some of the most adorable rodents in existence.  Their fur is softer than the softest fabrics in existence and their tiny paws can claw into your heart so fast.

These tiny animals belong to the Cricetidae family and there are 19 different species of a hamster of which the golden or Syrian hamster is the most popular as a pet.

Despite that hamsters have become popular pets, these animals still thrive as wild animals in natural habitats.  They can survive tough conditions because of their flexible diet.

What Do Hamsters Eat?

Hamsters are omnivores which mean they can survive on both plant and animal matter.  These tiny rodents can eat a huge variety of foods.  They can find something to eat in just about any location they live in.  Here is a quick look at some of the foods these cute animals love to eat.

Seeds and grains

Hamsters are quite fond of seeds and grains.  They will eat just about any type of seed or grain under the sun.  Some of their favorites are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, wheat, corn, rice, and a great many others.

Grass and plants

These omnivores enjoy eating a huge variety of plant types they find in natural habitats.  They prefer soft sprouts, stems, and leaves but are also fond of eating grass.  These tiny animals enjoy eating all sorts of garden plants such as dandelions, clovers, and many others.

Fruits and vegetables

You can certainly supply your hamster with fresh fruits and vegetables every day.  They enjoy eating most vegetable types including kale, carrots, corn, cabbage, green beans, green peppers, pumpkin, squash, and many others.

Hamsters are also fond of eating fruits like oranges, apples, pears, bananas, raisins, dates, and many others. These foods should however be offered in limited quantities because too much sugar isn’t good for hamsters at all.


Very few pet owners even realize just how much their pets need insects in their diet.  Insects like crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers, bloodworms, and dried earthworms are all very good sources of protein for your hamster.

Meat and carrion

This may come as a surprise to many, but hamsters can eat meat.  In the wild, they might feed on carcasses of other dead animals.  In captivity, you can supply your hamster with a little bit of lean meat as a treat every now and then.  Chicken is a great meat source to offer your pet hamster.


Hamsters do need to drink lots of water to stay hydrated, especially in warm climates.  It is very important to ensure that your pet hamster has constant access to lots of fresh clean water every single day.

Diet Variations

These furry friends love to taste all types of foods including human foods.  They enjoy eating cereal, porridge, cooked veggies, pasta, bread, and many other foods.  It is perfectly safe to offer your pet hamster a little bit of these foods but you should avoid offering food that contains lots of spices, salt, and sugar.

How to Feed Hamsters

Hamsters are very easy to feed because they have such healthy appetites.  These little creatures are constantly on the lookout for something tasty to munch on and they are also gatherers.  You will sometimes see them stuff their cheeks with food even though there might never be a food shortage in their cages.  It is their natural instinct to take food back to the den.

The best way to feed a pet hamster is by offering it a balanced diet that includes a variety of food types.  Your hamster should receive lots of seeds and grains, lots of vegetables, few fruits, and a little bit of protein every day.

What do Hamsters Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, these tiny animals will chew on just about anything they find.  They enjoy eating all parts of a plant and often choose to live close to farms where they can get their paws on lots of seeds and grains to eat.  These animals will make use of just about any food source imaginable including dried grass and natural vegetation.

What do Hamsters Eat in Captivity?

Hamsters in captivity are usually offered a balanced diet.  They can be fed on hamster pellets that include various nutrients and vitamins. In most cases, pet owners prefer to offer their hamster’s seed mixes.  These seed mixes usually include a wide range of seeds and grains as well as other foods like dried fruits and vegetables.  Most hamster owners love to spoil their beloved pets with fresh vegetables every day and occasional sweet fruit and insects as a snack.

What do Baby Hamsters Eat?

Baby hamsters are called pups.  When the pups are born, they are completely blind, naked, and deaf.  Their hair and teeth will start developing when they are about one week old.  These mammals rely on their mother’s milk for survival during the first few weeks of their lives.

The pups will start to eat solid food when they are just 10 days old and will gradually increase the amount of solid food they eat until they are fully weaned at about three weeks old.  Hamster pups usually eat the same basic foods as adult hamsters but they do sometimes find it hard to chew hard seeds like corn.

How much do Hamsters Eat?

As a rule of thumb, an average adult hamster only needs about one or two tablespoons of food per 24 hours.  Dwarf hamster species do however eat considerably less.   Pet owners usually choose to leave a lot of food in their cage because these animals will only eat their fill and will then place the remaining food in storage.  Their storage area is usually chosen in one of the corners of the cage.

If you want to avoid your hamster wasting food by storing it in the cage bedding then you should be careful not to offer more food than your beloved pet can eat in a day.  It is also best to remove fresh food after 24 hours to avoid pesky insects in your hamster cage.

How often do Hamsters Eat?

Hamsters do prefer to eat every day.  They also need food every 24 hours or their energy levels will drop too low.  This is one of the reasons these animals love to gather and store food.  If they have a little bit of food stashed away, they can return and feed whenever they need to.

Do Hamsters Bite?

Yes, hamsters can bite and their bite can be quite painful.  Some of these animals can also carry diseases.  Hamsters usually bite when they feel threatened or if a pet hamster wasn’t timed well before handling it.  These animals might also choose to bite you if your fingers smell like something tasty to eat.

One of the best ways to avoid hamster bites is by washing your hands before handling your pet.  It is also important to handle your pet regularly and affectionately so it will be used to all the cuddling and affection you might want to offer it.

Do Hamsters Eat Cheese?

Hamsters can eat cheese but this is hardly a favorite food for these furry friends.  They also shouldn’t eat too much cheese because a lot of cheese might make them feel ill.

Do Hamsters Eat Their Own Babies?

Yes, hamsters might eat their own babies if they feel threatened by other hamsters in the cage.  Male hamsters are especially likely to attack and eat the babies if it feels stressed by the newcomers.  It is always best to remove the pregnant female and place her in a separate cage well before the pups are born so she can remain calm and grow accustomed to her new surroundings before giving birth.

Do Hamsters Eat Meat?

Yes, hamsters do eat meat.  They are omnivores and crave protein to help them stay healthy.  If you don’t want to offer your pet hamster some meat, then you can also offer it an alternative protein source like insects.

Do Hamsters Eat Lettuce?

Hamsters do love to munch on lettuce but lettuce isn’t the best leafy green to offer your pets because it has very little nutritional value.  You can offer lettuce as a treat but not as the main food source.

Do Hamsters Eat Grapes?

Yes, hamsters do enjoy eating grapes.  Grapes and raisins are a healthy and safe food to offer your hamster. It is important not to offer too many grapes.  Grapes contain a lot of sugar that can upset their tummies or cause diarrhea.

Do Hamsters Eat Insects?

Yes, hamsters do enjoy eating a wide variety of insects.  They are omnivores and need protein in their diet.  Insects like mealworms, earthworms, flies, crickets, termites, and others are terrific sources of protein to help keep your pet hamster as healthy as possible.

Do Hamsters Eat Hay?

Pet hamsters are mostly supplied with fine sawdust as bedding but this is hardly your own option.  You can also add hay to your hamster’s cage as bedding.  Hay isn’t just a good bedding material, it is also an additional food source for hamsters.  Chewing on hay is very good for your hamster because it helps them keep those long teeth nice and short.

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