Can Hamsters Eat Grass?

Hamster May 13, 2022
Written by | Updated Jun 30, 2024
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Can Hamsters Eat Grass?

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Can Hamsters Eat Grass?

Grass is a food many animals enjoy – and it’s one that lots of animals need to survive. This leads many people to wonder whether hamsters can have grass.

The quick answer is “yes.” But before you run out to the yard to pick a handful of grass for your hamster, there are quite a few things you’ll need to know. For example, too much grass can make your hamster sick, and the wrong kind of grass can be disastrous, too.

Keep reading and in a few minutes, you’ll be well-informed on the subject of grass for hamsters.

Can Hamsters Have Grass?

Yes, hamsters can eat grass – but they can’t spend all day “grazing” on it the way many other animal can. While rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, and horses thrive on grass, a hamster’s digestive system isn’t designed the same way.

If you decide to give your hamster grass, you’ll want to offer just a little bit and you’ll want to be very careful about where it comes from.

Is Grass Good For Hamsters?

Not really. Grass does have some nutrients but it isn’t noteworthy – and there’s quite a bit of potential for harm.

Do Hamsters Like Grass?

Hamsters do love hay, which is made with certain species of dried grass that hasn’t been treated with chemicals. They might also like to nibble a little bit of fresh grass but this could cause problems particularly if it comes from a lawn that has been fertilized and sprayed to keep weeds from growing.

How Much Grass Can A Hamster Eat?

While you can give your hamster an unlimited amount of hay, fresh grass needs to be severely limited.

Here’s how much grass to give a hamster:

Age Amount
Baby hamster None
Adult hamster 3 or 4 stems

When picking grass for your hamster, make certain that you choose it from an area that has not been treated with chemicals of any kind since toxins can lead to sickness or even cause death. In addition, make sure that no neighborhood animals have used that particular area as a restroom.

Whatever you do, don’t try to make grass a big part of your hamster’s diet.

Because a hamster’s digestive system is not equipped to unlock the nutrients in the grass, everything will pass right through them. Hamsters can’t live on grass – it’s physiologically impossible.

How Often Can A Hamster Eat Grass?

If you have a good source of clean grass and your hamster enjoys nibbling on it, it’s ok to offer a few little bites on a daily basis. Just don’t overdo it, because too much fresh grass can give your hamster a serious case of diarrhea, which can sometimes be fatal.

The Correct Diet Is Important

Since hamsters can’t survive on grass, it’s important to learn what hamsters can eat. While we’ve put together a complete guide to hamster nutrition, here’s the short and sweet version.

  • Hamster pellets should be the cornerstone of your pet’s diet. They’re nutritionally complete, with all the protein, vitamins, and minerals your hamster needs.
  • Unlimited amounts of fresh water. Rinse and refill your hamster’s drinking bottle every day so it stays clean.
  • Birdseed, just a teaspoon per week. This is a good source of supplemental fat, plus it’s fun for your hamster to stash all around their habitat.
  • Tiny bits of fresh vegetables and fruit, either once per day or once every other day. You’ll find lots of inspiration on the list below.
  • Occasional bits of extra protein (optional). Did you know that hamsters are omnivores? In the wild, hamsters actively hunt for small creatures to round out their diets. They love freeze-dried mealworms, little bits of hard-boiled egg, and even tiny bits of cooked skinless chicken.
  • Unlimited amounts of Timothy hay and plenty of fresh, safe bedding, along with hamster toys for chewing and nibbling. These aren’t exactly food items but they keep your hamster comfortable and mentally stimulated while preventing their teeth from becoming painfully overgrown.

Also Read: What Do Hamsters Eat?

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

Since grass doesn’t do much for your hamster, what can they have instead? Great news: There are tons of other treats to give your hamster. Here’s quick list to help you start planning.

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

It’s likely that your hamster will enjoy many of the same fruits and vegetables that you do, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for you to share a nibble with your adorable little fluffball.

Before you give them anything though, take a couple of minutes to make sure that the items you’re considering are OK, and find out how much your hamster can have. In most cases, you’ll need to provide a gradual introduction to new foods, since sudden changes can really shock your hamster’s digestive system and cause serious problems.

For now, try giving your hamster grass if you’ve got a safe, clean place to pick a few pieces. Just a nibble won’t hurt, so long as your pet is eating the right things the rest of the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is grass safe for hamsters?

Yes and no. Clean grass is Ok, but avoid feeding your hamster grass that has been treated with fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, and don’t give them grass that comes from a place where other animals go to the bathroom.

Can grass make my hamster sick?

Grass can give your hamster diarrhea if they eat too much at once. If you try to make a hamster live on grass alone, they’ll develop nutritional deficiencies and become very ill, or even die. Remember, give them just a few little stems at once. That’s all the grass your hamster can handle.

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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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