Can Hamsters Eat Peanuts?

Hamster May 12, 2022
Written by | Updated May 15, 2022
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Can Hamsters Eat Peanuts?

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Peanuts make a satisfying snack, and they’re fantastic as a topping for your favorite salad. Not surprisingly, many animals enjoy them as much as we do!

They’re fine for us, but here’s the question: Can you give a hamster peanuts? If so, how many peanuts can your hammy have? Is there such a thing as too many peanuts? Can hamsters eat peanut butter? The quick answer is “Yes!” Hamsters can have peanuts and a tiny dab of peanut butter if it’s offered the right way.

There are certain peanut products that aren’t OK for hamsters, so stick with us.

We’ve curated a complete guide with all the answers to your questions about peanuts for hamsters.

Peanuts Nutrition Stats

You probably know that peanuts are great for you and if you’re anything like us, you can’t wait to share with your hamster. Moderation is key, because these little legumes contain lots of calories.

A 1/4 cup serving of roasted peanuts gives you approximately:

  • 165 calories
  • 6 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g fiber
  • 9 g fat
  • 6 g protein

Peanut Nutritional Facts

Peanuts might be a fantastic snack, but don’t let that fool you: Just like other plants, they provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, which positions most options safely off the “junk food” list.

That same 1/4 cup serving of plain dry roasted peanuts, gives you about:

  • 184 mg potassium
  • 1 mg calcium
  • 3 mg magnesium
  • 6 mg iron
  • 100 mg phosphorus
  • 6 mcg folate
  • 9 mg vitamin E
  • 8 mg phosphorus
  • 5 mg choline
  • 6 mg manganese

Can Hamsters Have Peanuts?

Yes – But here’s the thing: Hamsters should only have plain peanuts without a lot of salt, added oil, or added flavoring. It’s fine to give your hamster fresh peanuts still in the shell or offer them dry roasted peanuts with no salt.

Are Peanuts Good For Hamsters?

Since peanuts are high in protein and offer plenty of natural plant based fat, they can be a healthy addition to your hamsters diet so long as you offer them in moderation and not too often. Remember that only natural peanuts are good for hamsters. Additives and too much salt can be harmful.

Do Hamsters Like Peanuts?

While there might be a few hamsters that don’t really like the taste of peanuts, most hammies enjoy these crunchy legumes, particularly when they also have the opportunity to extract the peanuts from their shells.

How Much Peanut Can A Hamster Eat?

Peanuts are good for hamsters, but that doesn’t mean they can enjoy them with reckless abandon.

Here’s how much peanut to feed a hamster:

AgeAmount
Baby hamsterNone
Adult hamster1 whole peanut with shell or 2 to 3 peanuts out of their shell.

Give a hamster a peanut and you’re likely to see one happy hammy nibling away!

Because all new foods need to be offered gradually, start by giving your hamster one peanut kernel outside the shell. Watch for signs of digestive distress over the next 12 hours or so, and so long as everything is alright, go ahead and offer your hamster two peanuts outside the shell next time they’re on your pet’s menu.

The third time you offer your hamster a peanut treat, go ahead and offer them a whole peanut with a shell if you happen to have it on hand. Just make sure that it hasn’t been treated with salt since too much sodium can cause problems for your furry friend.

If you notice any signs of digestive distress, stop giving your hamster peanuts and switch back to a diet of plain hamster food. If problems continue, call your vet for next steps.

How Often Can A Hamster Eat Peanuts?

Your hamster can eat peanuts once or twice per week, but no more often than that . If you’re also offering them peanut butter, count the peanut butter as a peanut treat. All together, these treats should be given twice weekly at a maximum.

You might be tempted to offer your hamster peanuts more often, particularly if you enjoy them yourself, but overdoing it will cause more harm than good, leading to problems including obesity. This might not sound like a big deal and we don’t want to scare you, but being even a little bit overweight is very stressful on a hamster’s body and can shorten your pet’s life significantly.

The Correct Diet Is Important

High-quality hamster pellets are designed to be nutritionally complete. Because of this, it’s perfectly fine to feed your hamster nothing but a diet of food specially formulated for the species. At the same time, it’s likely that your pet will be far happier with a varied, interesting diet that includes special treats like the occasional peanut.

Here’s why we recommend variety:

A hamster’s natural diet is chock-full of different foods including grass, lots of leafy little plants, veggies, perhaps even a few nibbles of fruit here and there, and (this one might surprise you!) animal-based protein including beetles, little amphibians, crickets, and worms.

Be sure to check your hamster’s food package for details about the correct serving size based on their size and lifestage.

Besides a daily serving of ready-made food, here’s what else to feed your hamster:

  • Unlimited amount of fresh hay such as Timothy for nibbling, tunneling, and nesting
  • Unlimited amount of fresh water; rinse and refill your hamster’s drinking bottle daily
  • Birdseed – no more than about a teaspoon per week
  • Little bits of fresh fruit and vegetables once a day or every other day
  • Occasional protein snacks: Dried mealworms and crickets are a very popular option and hamsters really enjoy them
  • Chewable hamster toys and treats designed to keep your hamster’s teeth from becoming overgrown: Coconut shell, hay cubes, unbleached loofah, and untreated softwood are top options

Since hamsters instinctively stash part of their food away for later enjoyment, give them only as much fresh food as they can eat right away. Watch to ensure that they finish up and remove any uneaten extras  to prevent spoilage and mold.

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

Peanuts are a favorite treat with hamsters everywhere but there are all sorts of other items to keep them occupied on days when crunchy legumes just aren’t in the cards. The good news is that there are tons of veggies to enjoy!

Here’s a short list of some top hamster-approved vegetables to get you started:

  • 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

As you can see from these examples, many popular veggies are fine to share with your hamster. There are plenty of great fruits for them to try, too! At the same time, quite a few common foods are toxic to hamsters or might cause harm for some other reason.

Take time to research each new addition to your pet’s diet, and you’ll avoid painful mistakes. For now, giving your hamster peanuts is a great way to make their diet a whole lot more exciting. Give it a try!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are peanuts safe for hamsters?

Yes! It’s safe to give a hamster peanuts. Just remember to offer the right amount, and avoid added salt, oil, and flavorings.

Can peanuts make my hamster sick?

Yes, peanuts can make a hamster sick, but this normally happens when too much salt, added oil, or flavorings are consumed. Overeating peanuts can also make your hamster sick, so be sure to offer only the recommended amount.

Can my hamster eat peanut butter?

Yes! Hamsters can have peanut butter, but you should only offer natural varieties that have no added oils, salt, or sugar. If you give your hamster peanut butter, be sure to offer them no more than 1/4 teaspoon at a time. Spread the peanut butter on something chewable, such as a hay cube. This will prevent your hamster from consuming too much sticky peanut butter at once, which can get stuck in their pouch.

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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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