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Can Hamsters Eat Papaya? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

papaya slices

Vet approved

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you have some extra fruit in your home, it’s only natural to wonder if you can give some to your hamster. If you’re thinking about giving them some papaya, it’s good to know papaya is a fruit that hamsters can enjoy in small amounts, just don’t overdo it! But how much is too much, and what else should you feed them? Not only that but what are some foods you should avoid giving them? We’ve answered those questions and more for you here.

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How Much Papaya Should Hamsters Eat?

While hamsters can eat papaya, you should only feed it to them in small quantities. No more than a small piece once or twice a week. Only feed fresh papaya and prepare it by removing the skin and seeds, before offering it to your hamster. Papaya contains vitamin C which can help support the immune system, as well as other antioxidants including vitamins A and E. It is also a  good source of potassium.

However, eating too much papaya can cause health issues for your hamster. Papaya, like all fruits, is high in sugar. Too much sugar can cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, as well as causing weight gain if fed regularly. Hamsters that are obese are more at risk of other serious health concerns including diabetes.

papaya slices
Photo Credit: akepong srichaichana, Shutterstock

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The Ideal Hamster Diet

While a bit of papaya is fine for your hamster’s diet, it’s far from the only thing they need. Hamsters are omnivores and in the wild will eat a mixture of plants and insects. With that in mind, we’ve highlighted a few things you need to know about a well-balanced diet for hamsters. Always introduce any new foods gradually and monitor for any issues. Hamsters are hoarders and like to take food to hiding places to eat later, so you should remove uneaten fresh food from a hamster’s cage quickly before it rots. Fresh water should of course always be provided.

Pellets

It can be tough to meet all your hamster’s nutritional needs, and that’s why you should give them a commercial pelleted diet specifically formulated for them. This should make up the bulk of their diet and should contain 15-25% protein. You’ll need to introduce your hamster to pellets early, though; otherwise, they can be too picky and refuse to eat it.

Hay

While you don’t need to give your hamster fresh hay each day, it’s a healthy option that can help with digestion. Hay has plenty of fiber, giving them lots of stimulation without overloading them with calories.

hamster in a hay
Photo Credit: gashgeron, Shutterstock

Vegetables

To spice your hamster’s diet up a bit, we recommend giving them small amounts of vegetables and herbs such as carrots, broccoli, basil and parsley. They’re packed full of nutrients and provide variety to your pet’s diet, making them a great treat from time to time.

Fruits

Fruits aren’t the best choice for your hamster due to their high sugar content. Small amounts are fine though and they contain some health benefits. Don’t feed citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons to your hamster, and don’t overdo it by keeping fruits at no more than about 5% of their overall diet.

hamster eating apple
Photo Credit: Simol1407, Shutterstock

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Foods to Avoid Giving Hamsters

Now that you know about what you should feed your hamster, it’s time to dive into a few things you should never give them. Just keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so always double-check if a food is safe before giving it to your pet.

Avocado

While avocado is a fruit, it’s one you should absolutely avoid feeding your hamster. Avocado is toxic for hamsters, and it doesn’t matter which part of the avocado you’re thinking about giving them—the entire thing is potentially toxic as well as being high in fat.

Chocolate

Chocolate is a food that is a terrible choice for just about any pet, and a hamster is no exception. Not only is it high in sugar but the theobromine it contains is toxic too. Due to a hamster’s small size, even a little chocolate can be toxic, so keep it far away from them.

Alliums

Alliums include everything in the onion family, and they’re all toxic for hamsters. It also includes garlic, so don’t give this to them either. Alliums can lead to red blood cell damage in hamsters, making them potentially fatal.

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans might seem like something you can sprinkle into the rest of their food, but this simply isn’t true. Raw kidney beans are toxic for hamsters, so keep them far away.

Raw Potato

While a potato is a root vegetable, it’s one that you shouldn’t feed your hamster. Raw potatoes contain solanine which is toxic for your hamster. Just pick a different safe root vegetable and move on.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know about papaya and your hamster, all that’s left is for you to cut some up and offer it to them. Just don’t overdo it; otherwise, you can wind up getting your hamster sick because there is too much of a good thing. Just make sure it’s only an occasional sweet treat and does not replace their regular balanced diet.


Featured Image Credit: Food Shop, Shutterstock

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