Can Hamsters Eat Basil?

Hamster June 23, 2020
Anne

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Can Hamsters Eat Basil?

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Can Hamsters Eat Basil?

Basil is easily one of the world’s most popular herbs – after all, it’s versatile, delicious, and easy to find! Whether you’re growing your own or picking up a bunch at the grocery store or farmer’s market, you’re probably wondering whether it’s OK to give basil to your hamster friend.

You’re not alone!

We’re always hearing questions like: Can hamsters have basil? If so, how much can they eat, and how often can I give it to them?

The quick answer to the first question is “yes!” Hamsters can eat basil. But there’s a lot more to learn about the subject, which is why we’ve taken time out to put together a complete guide.

Keep reading and in a matter of minutes, you’ll know all about basil for hamsters.

Basil Nutrition Stats

Love the fresh, delicious taste of basil? you’re in luck. Basil has tons of flavor and some helpful nutrients that you and your hammy will appreciate.

A generous ¼ cup serving of fresh basil leaves offers approximately:

  • 5 calories
  • .6 g carbohydrates
  • .1 g fiber
  • .2 g protein
  • 0 g fat

Basil Nutritional Facts

Basil contains lots of vitamin K, a nice helping of vitamin A, and a little bit of vitamin C. That same heaping ¼ cup serving of basil leaves, gives you about:

  • 317 iu vitamin A
  • 9 mcg vitamin K
  • 1 mg vitamin C
  • 1 mcg folate
  • 8 mg magnesium
  • 6 mg calcium
  • 7 mg potassium

Can Hamsters Have Basil?

Yes – you can give a hamster basil! Just be sure to wash it really well before you offer it to your little buddy and remember that what seems like a tiny bit to us is really a pretty large serving size for such a tiny ball of fluff.

Is Basil Good For Hamsters?

Even though it’s important to offer just a little at a time, basil is great for your hamster’s health. It’s super-low in sugar, which is one sign that a treat is going to be good for your hammy, plus it’s brimming with antioxidants that can help support your fuzzy pal’s well-being. Granted, small servings mean small amounts of nutrition, but every bit helps!

Do Hamsters Like Basil?

Here’s something you might not have heard. Hamsters have distinct personalities and what makes some hammys squeak for joy bores others to tears. We have never met a hamster that didn’t approve of basil but this doesn’t mean that they’ll all enjoy it.

Try giving your hamster basil (just a nibble!) and see how they respond. It’s the fastest way to determine whether your pet will appreciate this herb or if they’d rather have something else.

How Much Basil Can A Hamster Eat?

Since basil contains lots of powerful scent compounds, you’ll want to give your hammie just a small amount to prevent them from being overwhelmed! Here’s how much basil to feed a hamster:

AgeAmount
Baby hamsterNone
Adult hamster3 or 4 average sized leaves

If your hamster has never had veggies or leafy greens, a colorful bit of basil might be the perfect introduction to fresh flavors. If your pet is a well-established foodie who’s tried lots of interesting fruits and vegetables, they might appreciate something new and interesting.

Either way, it’s important to start small. Give your little friend just one basil leaf and let them enjoy it.

Watch your hamster for signs of discomfort or diarrhea for the next 12 hours or so, and if everything remains normal (as it most likely will!) you can give them the full serving next time.

How Often Can A Hamster Eat Basil?

If your hamster likes the flavor of basil, they can have it a bit more often than many other treats. After all, it’s low in sugar and high in nutrients. Feel free to offer them a few leaves up to four times per week (every other day).

The Correct Diet Is Important

Behind that cute, cuddly face is a fairly fierce predator. No, we’re not kidding: Hamsters are omnivores! They’re capable of catching other small creatures including beetles and crickets. This is just one reason to make sure that you’re offering them a serving of good-quality hamster food every day – it’s formulated to meet their unique dietary needs.

If you like, you can give your hamster protein-rich supplements such as freeze-dried mealworms and crickets, or you can stick with basil and other yummy treats that have a far lower “ick” factor.

Besides an appropriate hamster food, here’s what else to feed your hamster every day:

  • Wild hamsters eat lots of grasses so give your hamster a little bit of hay. They’ll nibble on it, mix it in with their hamster bedding, and use it to create reinforced tunnels that satisfy their natural urge to dig and burrow!
  • Clean, fresh water is a must for your hamster’s health. Give their drinking bottle a good rinse and refill it every day.
  • Birdseed is a fun treat that helps your hamster live their best life. It’s fun to nibble and hide, and the natural fats in the seeds are great for your pet’s skin and coat.
  • Tiny bits of fresh fruit and vegetables are ideal treats for hamsters. Sure, there are lots of photos showing adorably hammies feasting on big piles of veg, but the truth is that small amounts are best. Too much moisture-heavy food can lead to digestive issues, so only offer fresh treats once a day or once every other day.
  • Hamster toys aren’t food, but they’re essential since they prevent your pet’s teeth from becoming overgrown. Plus, it’s fun to watch your hamster enjoying life in their habitat!

What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Basil In A Hamster’s Diet?

Basil is an all-natural hamster treat but there are plenty of other options to choose from! Here’s a list of some veggies and herbs hamsters like to eat:

  • artichoke
  • spinach
  • red lettuce
  • broccoli
  • broccolini
  • baby corn
  • carrot
  • carrot tops
  • bibb lettuce
  • buttercrunch lettuce
  • escarole
  • green beans
  • basil
  • celery
  • cucumber
  • winter squash
  • pumpkin
  • parsnip
  • summer squash
  • zucchini
  • tomato
  • sweet potato
  • okra
  • watercress
  • cauliflower
  • sweet corn
  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • beets
  • beet tops
  • yu choy
  • bok choy
  • romaine
  • potato (cooked only)
  • sprouts
  • arugula
  • rocket
  • endive
  • swiss chard

Even though there are tons of safe herbs, veggies, and fruits to feed your hamster, it’s important to spend a few minutes looking for information about each new item you plan to offer.

This is the best way to keep your little friend safe from potential toxins and determine what how much of each item they should have.

For now, how about giving your hamster a bit of basil? It’s always fun to see them try something new!

FAQ

Is basil safe for hamsters?

Yes! It’s safe to give basil to a hamster – just be sure to give them the right amount and wash it well before you hand it over.

Can basil make my hamster sick?

Basil isn’t likely to make your hamster sick – in fact, it’s very good for them. Do remember that it’s never a good idea to overfeed any kind of fresh food (basil included). Overdoing it – even on healthy treats – can give your hamster diarrhea and a seriously upset tummy. Start small and remember to watch for signs of trouble just in case!

Anne

Anne is a wellness writer with a lifelong love of animals large and small. As a former veterinary technician, she has a passion for your pet’s well-being. Anne rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. She shares her farm with lots of critters including horses, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens.
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