Hamsters need to eat a variety of food to maintain a well-balanced meal. A domesticated hamster eats the same food as its counterparts in the wild. You can feed your hamster wheat, barley, and oats. On occasion, you can give your hamster an insect. But can hamsters eat mealworms?
If you are reading this, you are most likely looking for an alternative food source for your hamster. You may be wondering, can hamsters eat mealworms? Is it safe for them? Let us find out the answers!
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Can Hamsters Eat Mealworms?
Absolutely yes. Hamsters can eat mealworms. It is safe for you to feed them worms. Moderate amounts of mealworms are a nutritious addition to their diet.
What are Mealworms?
Mealworms are the larvae form of beetles. They measure an average of 2 1/5 centimeters in length.
Mealworms are a staple food for fish, birds, reptiles, and other animals. They are tasty and nutritious treats. They can be collected in the wild or bought at any local pet shop. Here are the benefits of mealworms collected from an accredited web page and from verified medical posts.
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Benefits of Eating Mealworms
Mealworms are an environmentally sustainable meat alternative. They can be to a variety of animals like birds and rodents.
Live mealworms contain 62% water, 20% protein, 2% fiber, and 13% fats. Dried ones contain 5% water, 53% protein, 6% fiber, and 28% fat.
Aids in Growth
Medical websites have posts that state that mealworms are a fantastic source of protein. Hamsters need this nutrient for their growth and physical development. Another post claims that younger hamsters and sick hamsters need it to boost their energy.
Helps the Heart and Other Vital Organs
Potassium eases tension in the blood vessel walls lowering the blood pressure. Iron helps preserve various vital organs. The fat also prevents heart diseases and improves the mood of your furry little friend.
The monosaturated fat in mealworms helps strengthen bones and improve insulin sensitivity.
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Risks in Eating Meal worms
The biggest risk lies in overeating. While hamsters need the dietary benefits of mealworms, they should not eat t daily. Giving them too much of the same food will cause a deficiency of other food nutrients. Since mealworms are rich in fats, overeating can also lead to obesity. If you notice sudden weight gain, cut back on the number of worms.
The type of mealworm is also a factor. Giving your hamsters a wet mealworm is not advisable. They often cause throat allergies. They can also cause choking because they are sticky. A live mealworm also presents a challenge. They can bite your hamster and cause other injuries.
Mealworms should not be given to hamsters that are less than two weeks old. Small breeds like dwarf hamsters and young hamsters can easily choke on big chunky foods.
Dead and dried mealworms are often the best and safest choice.
Feeding Mealworms to your Hamsters?
Here are techniques you can use to encourage your hamsters to eat mealworms.
Feeding Live Mealworms
You might have read a post that live mealworms are harder to find and they are. Most local pet shops do not have it for the same reason that you should not buy a lot of mealworms-these animals turn into beetles. Remember, mealworms are only occasional treats and not a daily food option for hamsters.
You can release a live mealworm into the cage and let your hammy forage for its food. It will be an enjoyable activity for your hamster. When doing this, make sure that all mealworms have been eaten, or else they will burrow in your pet’s cage. They can also die and decompose inside the cage and will causing bacteria build-up. Bacteria can cause several health problems for your hammy.
Mealworms are harmless, but they can sometimes bite. Hamsters are also known to store live mealworms in the pouch located in their cheek. If this happens, the mealworm can bite the inside of your pet’s cheeks of the hamster or cause its cheek pouch to impact.
If you are worried, the answer is to crush the mealworm’s head before giving it to your pet. It can sound cruel and harsh, but it’s effective. Head crushing is also helpful for some hamsters who are afraid to eat moving food. To ensure safety, supervise every feeding session.
Mealworms can be stored in the fridge for up to a month. Any longer than that, and they will be dead or turn into beetles. They can be placed in a covered bowl or jar with air holes. They do not need food, but you can give them a little grass or dried leaves to keep them alive longer. Take note that giving them too much food will help them metamorph more quickly.
Feeding Dried Mealworms
Dried mealworms that are advertised or packaged for a bird or other animals can also be good hamster food. Dried worms are easier to chew since they are crunchy. Although some hamsters may not like it at first, you can incorporate it gradually into a hamster’s diet. The secret is to mix the worms with hamster food and other vegetables and put them in its feeding bowl. Adding colorful fruits and vegetable mix will make the meal more appealing and encourage your hamster to eat. Giving them mixed meals ensures that they get their daily dietary needs.
Since dried mealworms do not decompose, it’s okay to place them at the bottom of the cage for your pet to forage.
Dried worms can is either roasted in the oven or freeze-dried. The benefit of oven-roasted mealworms is that they are ready to eat and can be given directly to your hamster. Freeze-dried mealworms must be defrosted before being fed to your hamster, or they will be a choking hazard. Your hamster will find it hard to bite and chew a frozen worm.
Dried and roasted worms can last up to a year. Despite their long shelf life, you should never stock up on mealworms when you’re still trying them out. It’s good not to invest in a large bag when you’re not still sure that your pet hamster will like them. But if you did buy a bunch, know that local animal shelters will always welcome free food, or you can feed them to a bird.
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How Many Mealworms should Hamsters Eat?
Since pet hamsters did not grow in the wild, their digestive systems are more sensitive. They are a little choosy when it comes to their food. Feed them a small amount of new food every now. This way, you can gradually increase their familiarity and appetite.
The number of mealworms that hamsters can be fed will depend on their age and size. An adult hamster should eat an average of 15 grams of protein per week.
How Many Mealworms could a Dwarf Hamster Eat?
A Dwarf hamster is tiny. It can only eat one tablespoon of food every 24 hours. Never give a dwarf a live mealworm. Aside from the risk of injury, your pet will surely choke on it. As a safer option, feed them cut-up dried mealworms. Two to five worms a week is enough for dwarfs.
How Many Mealworm could a Syrian Hamster Eat?
A Syrian hamster is the biggest hamster. This means that they could be fed the most mealworms. They also have a strong digestive system and can handle eating three mealworms a day. Make sure to give them other types of food to meet their needs.
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What Other Foods do Hamsters Eat?
When making your pet’s dietary plan, you should consider what hamsters eat in the wild. Ideally, you should feed them the same food that wild hamsters eat.
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Fruits, Veggies, and Herbs
Fruits, vegetables, and herbs are rich in fiber and vitamins. These treats will keep your pet strong and healthy. Here are examples of fibrous foods you can feed your pets.
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Dried seeds and whole grains are one of the natural food sources for birds and hamsters. Some hamsters can be picky with their food and will only eat their favorite items from seed mixes. You can avoid this if you feed your hamster small portions at a time and wait for it to empty its bowl before adding more. Doing this ensures that they get all the needed nutritional benefits.
Commercial hamster food can be bought at any local pet store and features complete nutritional benefits. That is why they are recommended to make up the largest part of a hamster’s diet. Sometimes, a pure pellet meal will become boring for a hamster and will refuse to eat. In this case, you could alternate pellets and a mix of natural food.
This type of hay is especially fibrous and is central to hamster’s diet. It is good for digestion. Hamsters will absolutely this and will gnaw at this treat like crazy.
Human food is edible for hamsters, but it must be given with caution and in moderation. Healthy treats for hamsters include live crickets, nuts, mealworms, cooked chicken. If you like to feed your hamsters treats, steer away from commercialized honey sticks and yogurt drops.
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What You Should Never Feed your Hamsters
Here are foods that can harm your hamster.
- salty and sugary foods
- raw beans
- apple seed
- orange and other citrus fruits
- raw potatoes
- junks foods
- onions and garlic
Common Health Problems of Hamsters
Below are health problems of hamsters that are caused by an imbalance or improper diet.
Fruits and veggies have high water content and can cause diarrhea when taken in excess. Oranges and other citrus fruits can also cause diarrhea and digestive distress because of their acid content.
A proliferative ileitis is a form of diarrhea common to hamster pups. It can be a result of several factors like changes in diet and physical distress. This disease can progress quickly and can lead to fatality. Common signs of this disease are wet and matted tail and belly fur, loss of appetite, and a decrease in weight and energy.
Constipation can be caused by an unhealthy diet and insufficient water intake. Make sure to give your enough hamster drinking water which should be changed every day. Stagnant water can be home to bacteria and microscopic worms that can harm your pet.
Vitamin E Deficiency
Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It aids in protecting various cells and membranes in the body. Insufficient Vitamin E in a hamster can result in muscle weakness and degeneration, and even paralysis. A pregnant hamster that is Vitamin E deficient will give birth to a weak or stillborn pup. Its offspring will also suffer nervous system degeneration.
Malnutrition in any animal, including hamsters, will result in smaller and weaker offspring. Nursing hamsters also cannot produce enough milk for their offspring if they do not have the proper nutrition.
Hair loss or alopecia can be a result of insufficient protein. If your feeding your hamster enough worms and other insects but still has alopecia, you must consult a vet immediately.
Conclusion-Can Hamsters Eat Mealworms?
The answer is a definite yes. Associates program members advocate the use of meal worms to help hamsters reach optimum growth. Feeding mealworms to your pet hamster is safe. The nutritional benefits of meal worms make them an excellent treat for hamsters.
In giving your pets this type of treat, you must do it gradually to avoid digestional distress. It is also good to figure out first what type of mealworm your pet likes more. Some hamsters prefer to eat meal worms alive while some will prefer to eat the dead ones. Both have can give a good amount of nourishment but live worms pose a greater risk of injury to a hamster.
If you feed your hamsters a well-balanced diet they can avoid having common diseases. When it comes to meal worms and other protein-rich foods, feeding in moderation is the key to giving your hamster a healthy and happy life. Make sure to give them the right amount of worms based on their size.