However, hamsters are really omnivores and they eat both plant and animals (mostly insects). In fact, if you look at the ingredients in many commercial hamster food, you’ll find animal proteins such as chicken, shrimp, fish, or even beef in them.
In the wild, hamsters may occasionally feed on insects, worms, and other creepy crawlies. As pets, they also enjoy a mealworm or two now and then.
Here are some non-plant foods that you can find in pet stores for hamsters
1) Dried mealworm
Mealworms are very high in protein and fat. They are good as an occasional treat. My dwarf hamsters go crazy for them but the Syrians completely ignore them. You can give your hamsters live mealworms too but I prefer using the dried ones instead because they might pouch the live mealworms and get bitten (yes, mealworms bite!) inside their cheek pouches. Also, I’m squeamish about live worms. You can get these from Amazon. The packaging says it’s for birds but hamsters can have them too.
2) Dried grasshopper
Grasshoppers are very high in protein although they do not contain as much fat as mealworm. Again, the dwarf hamsters go crazy for them while the Syrians are not interested at all. When I gave this to my hamsters for the first time, the winter whites went for the grasshopper immediately when I put it in their cage. However, the Roborovskis did not recognize this as food at first and only took a bite after I left it in their cage for a while.
3) Dried shrimp
I didn’t think the hamsters would like this since shrimps are probably not in their natural environment. But they did. Again, only the dwarf hamsters liked them and the Syrian hamsters avoided them (they actually looked away when I put it in front of their faces — I think this has a strong smell that Syrians don’t like). The ones I got were marketed for hamsters, but you can use brine shrimp for fish too.
4) Beef cube
This is a really weird treat that I got from a pet store in Japan. The ingredients show a mix of various meats including chicken and beef. There’s also cheese and some other stuff in it that I couldn’t translate. All of the hamsters including the Syrians love this but it’s not a very healthy treat so I wouldn’t get this again
Besides the above food you can get from pet stores, you can also give these to your hamster:
5) Cooked plain chicken
All my hamsters seem to really like this. It’s also a good treat for growing or pregnant hamsters since it’s high in protein
6) Cooked plain salmon
Again, another favorite food. If you give your pet salmon or any other fish, make sure there is absolutely no bones in them.
Some things to note
- These are treats and should be given sparingly.
- Contrary to what some people think, giving your hamster meat does not cause them to bite.
For more non-plant food you can give your pet as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, check out http://dwarfhamsterblog.com/dwarf-hamster-food
And if you’ve tried any of the food above or have other suggestions on what you can give hamsters, please feel free to leave a comment below