Hamsters are undeniably some of the cutest little animals in the world. If you’re anything like me, your heart instantly melted when you first saw your new little fur ball sit up and hold a treat in their little paws. There truly is no joy quite like watching your pet’s eyes grow wide as you hand them a little tidbit that quickly becomes a favourite treat! Our hamster, Bonnie, has been in our family for just over a year now and we still find new favourite treats every day. I have yet to tire of watching her nibble away on a tasty morsel, so to inspire all of you to make your little hamsters’ day today, here are Bonnie’s five all-time favourite treats.
1. Boiled Egg
Bonnie’s number one favourite has to be boiled egg. A small chunk of egg yolk always gets her excited, but she’ll happily nibble away on the white too. Egg is not only tasty but it is also a great source of calcium. Egg is normally very appreciated in all its forms; if you’re willing to scramble your hamster up a separate little bit without any milk or butter, this will surely be very well received. As with any food, especially treats, moderation is always key, but a little bit of boiled egg around every three days is guaranteed to be met with excitement. Not to mention this treat is worth listening to as it produces some of the cutest little nibbling sounds you’ve ever heard!
2. Romaine Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce can be dangerous for hamsters as the water content is too high and can cause wet tail, but leafy greens are not totally off the menu – romaine lettuce, for example, is perfectly safe for hamsters! This treat shouldn’t be given often, perhaps once every week as part of a rotation of yummy treats. Bonnie gets extremely excited for her romaine, which really helped when she was new to our family and needed to learn that being held wasn’t such a bad thing after all. Other greens can be a good snack too – a little bit of spinach is a firm favourite in our house.
Both garden and sweet potato can be given to hamsters in small quantities as long as they are cooked! Once a week it is fine to give your hamster about a teaspoon of mash or a chunk of roasted potato. Just make sure that it is not cooked in excessive oil or butter. We normally pop one in the corner of a separate baking tray for the pets. Sometimes we even go as far as to make a whole little roast dinner for them: peas, a small amount of chicken, a bit of carrot, green beans, cauliflower and broccoli are all good to share with your hamster (but obviously hold the gravy for your furry friend’s dinner). It’s not just dinner that hamsters can have either, some breakfast foods are good to share; a little bit of unsweetened porridge is a healthy snack for a hammy. Very rarely, a single cheerio can act as a cheeky sweet treat. I like to think of them as mini doughnuts for hamsters.
While mealworms gross a lot of people out, they’re an excellent source of protein for many pets if you can stomach it. Despite how adorably cute they are, hamsters are omnivorous, which means they eat both plants and meat. It is shocking to watch our sweet little Bonnie becoming a savage predator as she jumps on a locust or mealworm, but this is an important natural behaviour and a very healthy eating habit that should be encouraged. Both dried or live mealworms can be fed around every other day. For a Syrian, two mealworms is plenty; for dwarf species, best to stick to just one.
You may have heard of Whimzees as a dog treat and dental snack, but did you know they’re also a firm favourite of many rodents, too? Hamsters and rats both go crazy for these potato-based treats and they keep their little teeth busy too, which is vital as, just like rabbits, a hamster’s teeth never stop growing. Whimzees can be purchased in a number of sizes so I often buy a nice big one to leave in Bonnie’s cage – that way, she can come to it and give it a gnaw whenever the mood takes her. Being potato-based, Whimzees, unlike some other dog treats, turn soft and mushy when chewed, which means they are not going to splinter or develop sharp rough edges that could hurt your hamster’s mouth.