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Can Hamsters Eat Peanuts? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

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By Kerry-Ann Kerr

peanuts in nutshell

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

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

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Peanuts are safe for your hamster to eat and provide some health benefits. However, this depends on certain factors. First, the peanuts should be kept plain, so no added flavors, oil, sugar or salt. And secondly, they should be fed in moderation, alongside high-quality pelleted hamster food. In this article, we’ll examine the benefits of peanuts and how to serve them to your hamster. Let’s get started!

Are Peanuts Good for Hamsters?

If you feed your hamsters peanuts in moderation, they provide plenty of benefits. This relies on keeping them plain; salted peanuts are a tasty treat for us but can harm your hamster. Let’s check out some of the nutritional benefits of peanuts:

Nutrient Quantity per 100g raw peanuts Benefit
Protein 23.3g Maintaining and building healthy bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin.
Fat 43.3g Energy storage
Carbohydrates 26.5g Energy production and storage.
Fiber 8g This helps your hamster’s digestive system function as it should, promoting a healthy stomach, bowel movements, and gut.
Potassium 636mg Acid-base balance, nerve- impulse transmission and enzymatic reactions;
Phosphorus 380mg Skeletal structure, DNA and RNA structure, energy metabolism, locomotion
Magnesium 180mg Enzyme functions, muscle and nerve-cell membrane stability, hormone secretion and function, mineral structure of bones and teeth
Image Credit: TanteTati, Pixabay

Risks of Eating Peanuts

If you feed your hamster too many peanuts, they could develop stomach problems like bloating, abdominal cramps or diarrhea. It could also lead to obesity and diabetes 1, which hamsters are prone to anyway, because of the high fat content of peanuts.

Hamsters have a habit of hiding food, so check their cages for hidden food they could snack on when you aren’t looking. You should do this anyway to keep their cage clean and remove any old snacks, as these can go moldy quickly.

Are Salty Peanuts Dangerous for Hamsters?

Feeding your hamster salty peanuts can result in dehydration.  Excess salt in your hamster’s diet long-term also increases the likelihood of developing vascular and heart disease. It could lead to a shorter lifespan. So, it’s best to keep their peanuts plain!

How Many Peanuts Can You Give Your Hamster?

You can feed your hamsters one or two plain peanuts once a week. This will ensure they aren’t consuming more fat than needed. They can also eat a small amount of unsalted, pure peanut butter, but make sure you check the ingredients because peanut butters often contain salt and sugar

If you are giving your hamster peanut butter, be aware that it can get stuck in their cheek pouches, which causes severe problems. Spread a little on a piece of carrot to prevent that from occurring.

hamster eating peanuts
Image Credit: IRINA ORLOVA, Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Hamsters Like Nuts?

Peanuts are actually not nuts.  They are legumes like beans and lentils, and grow in a pod.  Every hamster is different from the next, but they eat a variety of seeds and legumes in the wild, including peanuts. Most hamsters like the crunchy texture, flavor, and smell of peanuts.

If this is their first time having a peanut, serve a smaller portion and watch for signs of stomach issues like bloating or diarrhea. If you notice any of these signs, it indicates that their tummy doesn’t agree with peanuts. If the signs of tummy upset continue for more than a day, seek advice from your vet.

Can Hamsters Eat Peanut Shells?

Peanut shells are easy for hamsters to remove, and they will have the best time getting into a shell and finding their prize inside! Hamsters won’t eat the shell, so make sure you clean up the mess they leave behind once they’ve had their fun.

Can Hamsters Eat Other Types of Nuts?

Hamsters also enjoy eating walnuts and cashews, but make sure you give them no more than one or two a week. Be careful about almonds; many owners stay away from them. While sweet almonds are perfectly safe, bitter almonds can kill your hamster because they contain a compound that the body metabolizes to cyanide.

female hand giving treat to a standing hamster
Image Credit: tanya_morozz, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Hamsters can enjoy peanuts in moderation, but a few factors should be considered before sharing them with your hamster. The peanuts should be plain, with no added salt, sugar, oil, or flavors. Ensure they eat them in moderation due to the high fat content of peanuts.  Hamsters that are fed a high fat diet are prone to obesity and the development of insulin resistance which over time can lead to the development of diabetes and more serious complications.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: dinosmichail, Shutterstock

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