Can Hamsters Eat Cantaloupe? The Surprising Truth
A sweet, tasty slice of cantaloupe is quite refreshing any time of year and especially during summertime.
Like all other melons, cantaloupe is bursting with nutrients and has high water content, which makes it desirable fresh for humans.
This is also the reason why many people assume that this melon is ideal for their pet hamsters. But can and should hamsters consume cantaloupe?
Yes, hamsters can eat cantaloupe. But there are exceptions. Cantaloupe indeed offers many benefits for hamsters, but without moderation, your hamster may suffer side effects like stomach pains, constipation, and diarrhea.
Nutritional Value of Cantaloupe for Hamsters
|Nutrient||Amount per 100g|
It’s important to note that cantaloupe should only be given to hamsters in small quantities as a treat, as too much fruit can cause digestive problems. A good rule of thumb is to offer a piece of cantaloupe about the size of the hamster’s thumb, once or twice a week.
Here are other pointers you ought to consider before feeding your hamster cantaloupe:
Is Cantaloupe Healthy for Hamsters?
Veterinarians approve cantaloupe as an OK fruit for hamsters to eat. As you know, your hamster will benefit from supplemental Vitamin C, and cantaloupe is one excellent way to get it.
Not only that, this musky, orange-fleshed melon has more essential nutrients.
Cantaloupe contains the following vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, B6, C, and K and potassium, manganese, magnesium, thiamine, copper, calcium, folate, pantothenic acid
To put everything into perspective, here’s how all the nutrients and vitamins in cantaloupe benefit hamsters:
– Vitamin A
As you may know, hamsters are nocturnal as they prefer to be awake at night. You’re probably wondering what this has got to do with Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is responsible for the activation of rhodopsin, which is a pigment found in a hamster eyes rod cells. Now rod cells are the eye-photosensitive cells that help in picking up dimmer light.
In other words, sufficient Vitamin A is crucial for the proper functioning of your hamster’s eyes. Vitamin A also helps with improving the immune system.
– Vitamin B6
Studies show that Vitamin B6 deficiency in hamsters leads to low water intake, halt of growth, loss of appetite, degeneration of lymphoid tissue, stunted bone growth, muscular lethargy, as well as halted or delayed sexual maturation. What’s more, prolonged deficiency eventually leads to death.
– Vitamin C
Just like in guinea pigs and humans, hamsters too are susceptible to scurvy, which Vitamin C helps to prevent. Scurvy in hamsters causes weakness, sluggish movements, oversensitive skin, bleeding gums, etc.
Fibers are crucial for hamsters as it helps to combat digestive tract-related problems and constipation.
The info above underpins the fact that cantaloupe is healthy for hamsters. However, this fruit is also quite acidic and sugary.
Meaning that overfeeding certain species of hamsters with cantaloupe can be quite dangerous. To understand this better, check out the info below:
How Much Cantaloupes Can You Feed Your Hamsters?
As mentioned earlier, you should feed your hamster cantaloupe in moderation as it’s one of the highest sugar-concentrated fruits you can find.
Since it’s mainly sugars/ carbohydrates, and barely contains proteins, cantaloupe shouldn’t atone for a significant part of your hamster’s diet.
Just like you shouldn’t stuff yourself with excess chocolate, hamsters shouldn’t eat excess cantaloupe.
For an adult hamster, 1 teaspoon of cantaloupe once or twice a week is enough. Not to mention that baby hamsters shouldn’t have any cantaloupe.
And apart from sugar, another reason why you should avoid feeding your hamster too much cantaloupe is the high water content.
Hamsters, in the wild, eat a rather dry diet and drink water merely as needed. As such, sweet, watery fruits can easily cause diarrhea in these animals, especially when overeating.
Feeding Cantaloupe to Your Hamsters
When it comes to types of hamsters, small kinds like the winter white dwarf, the Russian Campbell dwarf, and Chinese hamsters should never eat cantaloupe since they’re extremely prone to diabetes.
In contrast, the bigger ones such as the Syrian and Roborovski hamsters can safely eat cantaloupe, but as an occasional treat.
If it will be your first time feeding cantaloupe to your hamster, avoid giving too much at once. As you know, your hamster will eat anything and everything you offer it.
So to reduce the risk of diarrhea, it’s best to provide a hamster that’s used to eating fruits with half the recommended serving portion the first time it tries cantaloupe.
If your hamster is unfamiliar with fruits, a little lump (about the size of its paw) will suffice.
Once your hamster has had its first cantaloupe serving, keep an eye out for signs of a problematic digestive system over the next 12 hours or so.
If you spot diarrhea or anything else questionable, desist from giving cantaloupe to your pet from then on.
Though your hamster will likely continue living life as normal, meaning that cantaloupe has passed to be part of its treat rotation.
Can Hamsters Eat Cantaloupe Seeds?
Even though a hamster’s natural diet consists of many types of seeds, these furry little animals shouldn’t have any cantaloupe seeds.
If anything, cantaloupe seeds have slippery shells and a long, slim shape which makes them tough to handle. Also, cantaloupe seeds have sharp ends that can easily injure a hamster’s pouch.
And if that’s not enough, these seeds have relatively high levels of cyanide, which has poisonous qualities that can cause gastrointestinal issues for your hamster.
Can Hamsters Eat Cantaloupe Skin?
No. You shouldn’t feed your hamster cantaloupe seeds as the exterior part has bacteria and chemicals that can sicken the animal.
Cantaloupe skin is also quite hardy and can choke out your hamster or lead to constipation.
However, many hamster enthusiasts recommend giving your hamster cantaloupe skin only if you wash it (to get rid of pesticides) and chop it up into small piece. Bottom line? Be careful with cantaloupe skin.
Can Hamsters Drink Cantaloupe Juice?
Just like with all other sweet fruits, hamsters shouldn’t drink the juice of cantaloupe. Though it contains many vital nutrients, this juice is normally high in sugar, which increases the risk of your hamster developing diabetes.
Cantaloupe Alternatives for Hamsters
If your hamster doesn’t seem to rhyme with cantaloupe, there are many other alternative snacks you can offer it. These include:
- Apples – peeled and sliced
- Carrots – washed and cut into small pieces
- Blueberries – washed and cut in half
- Grapes – seedless and cut in half
- Mango – peeled and cut into small pieces
- Papaya – peeled and cut into small pieces
- Peas – fresh or frozen, and steamed or boiled
- Raspberries – washed and cut in half
- Spinach – washed and finely chopped
- Sweet potato – cooked and mashed, with no added salt or butter
Mind you, the above list is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a wide variety of treats hamsters love, though you should ensure to provide them with the right amount always.
Ensure to seek out the correct info on each new food you introduce to your hamster’s diet.
Comparing Cantaloupe to Other Fruits
|Nutrient (per 100g)||Cantaloupe||Apple||Banana||Blueberries||Grapes||Mango||Orange||Pineapple||Strawberry|
This table shows that cantaloupe is low in calories, high in vitamins A and C, and a good source of potassium and fiber. Other fruits like mango and pineapple also have high amounts of vitamins A and C, while blueberries and strawberries are higher in fiber.
Bananas are higher in carbohydrates and potassium, but lower in vitamins A and C compared to cantaloupe. Grapes and oranges have similar nutritional profiles to cantaloupe in terms of calories, fiber, and vitamin C, but have lower amounts of potassium and vitamin A.
Apples are low in calories and a good source of fiber, but have lower amounts of other nutrients compared to cantaloupe.
Overall, cantaloupe is a sweet, safe, and healthy fruit for hamsters. It contains antioxidants and vitamins that may help to protect your hamster against disease and boost its immunity.
Even so, how you feed your hamster cantaloupe will determine if it will eventually rake the benefits of this fruit.
So ensure to offer it the correct, the correct number of times (a week). If, however, your pet has insulin or diabetes resistance, consult a vet first before offering it cantaloupe or any other fruit.