Can Hamsters Eat Cucumbers?

Written by Sarah Psaradelis
Published: August 13, 2023
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As omnivores, hamsters eat a wide range of foods, including certain fresh fruits and vegetables. However, not every fruit or vegetable is safe for hamsters. It is important to determine which ones are safe, so you don’t put your hamster at risk. Cucumbers can be a tasty snack for hamsters when fed alongside a balanced hamster pellet or seed mix.

If you are looking to increase your hamster’s water intake or supplement his diet with tasty fruit, this article is for you.

Are Cucumbers Safe for Hamsters to Eat?

a hamster eats a cucumber

Cucumber is a nutrient-dense fruit that is low in calories and high in water that hamsters enjoy eating.

©amelameli/Shutterstock.com

Yes, cucumbers are completely safe for hamsters to eat in moderation. Cucumbers are a type of fruit that belongs to the same family as watermelons. They are distinguished by their bright green coloration and slightly watery yet bitter taste.

Hamsters can safely eat small pieces of cucumbers in addition to their main diet. Your hamster should be getting most of their nutrition from a balanced and species-appropriate diet, rather than from fruits like cucumbers.

According to experts at VCA Animal Hospital, fruit should make up a small portion of a hamster’s diet. You want to limit the number of fruits you feed to your hamster since they often have a high water and sugar content. The high-water content in cucumbers may cause your hamster to experience a bout of diarrhea, especially if they eat too much. Their stool consistency should return back to normal after one to two days.

You want to limit the amount of cucumber you are feeding your hamster if they are experiencing loose stools after eating it. Some hamsters have more sensitive stomachs than others and cannot tolerate certain fruits and veggies in their diet without having digestive troubles.

How Much Cucumber Can Hamsters Eat?

The typical portion size of cucumber for a hamster is a quarter of a teaspoon. You should never give your hamster an entire cucumber, even if it is the mini version. This will be way too much cucumber for any hamster to safely consume.

As a general rule of thumb, Syrian and Chinese hamsters can get half to a quarter teaspoon of cucumber, while the dwarves and Roborovski hamsters should only get a quarter teaspoon.

Species of HamsterPortion Size
Syrian hamster:½ to ¼ teaspoon
Campbell dwarf hamster:¼ teaspoon
Winter white dwarf hamster:¼ teaspoon
Roborovski hamster:¼ teaspoon
Chinese hamster:½ to ¼ teaspoon
Hybrid dwarf hamsters:¼ teaspoon

Can Hamsters Eat Cucumber Skin?

All parts of the cucumber are safe for hamsters to eat. This includes the skin, seeds, and fleshy part of the cucumber which all five domesticated species of hamster (even hybrid dwarfs) can eat. The skin of a cucumber is soft and thin, and most hamsters enjoy eating cucumber that still has pieces of skin on.

Cucumber skin is safe for hamsters to eat, but it needs to be washed first.

©iStock.com/Kateryna Bibro

You will need to wash the skin thoroughly since it is likely to have a buildup of dirt, debris, and even traces of chemicals like herbicides and pesticides that are harmful to hamsters. It is better to feed your hamsters organic cucumbers that have been grown without harmful chemicals to ensure eliminate the risk completely.

How Often Can Hamsters Eat Cucumbers?

Hamsters should not eat cucumbers very often, ideally only one to three times a week. This is because cucumbers have high water content and are not a complete source of nutrients for hamsters.

Most hamster owners only offer cucumber as a hydration food during hot days or during short car rides when their hamsters have no access to a water bottle. Cucumbers should not make up a large percentage of your hamster’s diet, and they do not need to eat them daily. Your hamster needs to eat a staple diet of pellets and seed mix specifically formulated for hamsters, so fruits and veggies should only be offered as an occasional treat.

Benefits of Feeding Cucumbers to Hamsters

Feeding a small piece of cucumbers to hamsters occasionally is beneficial in the following ways:

  • Hydration
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fiber

Fruits like cucumbers have a high-water content, which makes them beneficial for rehydration purposes. However, they should not be fed to a severely dehydrated hamster as they rather need to be taken to an exotic veterinarian immediately.

These green fruits also supply hamsters with essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamins K and C, and zinc. The cucumber’s nutrients are not incredibly beneficial to hamsters who are already getting them from a proper hamster food mix, but cucumbers are still a healthy treat.

What Other Fruits and Vegetables Can Hamsters Eat?

Safe FruitsSafe Vegetables
Apple (no seeds)Zucchini
CucumberBroccoli
BananaCarrots
StrawberriesCauliflower
WatermelonKale
BlueberriesSpinach

Fruits and veggies hamsters should not eat include:

  • Any citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruit).
  • Rhubarb
  • Raw potatoes
  • Onions
  • Iceberg lettuce
Cute hamster eating banana on white background

Aside from cucumbers, hamsters can eat other safe fruits like ripe bananas.

©Jakub Csontos/Shutterstock.com

Veterinarians at PetMD advise that sudden changes in a hamster’s diet can cause gastrointestinal upset. Any new foods like cucumbers need to be gradually introduced into your hamster’s diet. You want to ensure that you are not feeding your hamster too much fruit and veggies too often, especially if they have never eaten the food before.

It is always a good idea to check with your hamster’s veterinarian before feeding them any new foods. Some hamsters may have allergies, underlying health conditions, or sensitive stomachs and cannot handle new foods like watery fruits and vegetables in their diet.  

Can Hamsters Get Diabetes from Cucumber?

No, hamsters cannot get diabetes from eating cucumber. Dwarf hamsters are the only species of domesticated hamsters that can develop diabetes. There is no current link between water fruits like cucumbers to diabetes in dwarf hamsters. The condition itself is believed to be linked to genetics. However, cucumbers should not be fed to hamsters that already have diabetes unless stated otherwise by your veterinarian.

In Summary

All species of domesticated hamsters can eat all parts of the cucumber fruit as a snack. Only feed cucumbers to your hamster one to three times a week, and no more than ¼ teaspoon for most species of hamster. You want to slowly introduce cucumbers into their diet since any sudden dietary changes may cause diarrhea.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © amelameli/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Sarah is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering aquatic pets, rodents, arachnids, and reptiles. Sarah has over 3 years of experience in writing and researching various animal topics. She is currently working towards furthering her studies in the animal field. A resident of South Africa, Sarah enjoys writing alongside her pets and almost always has her rats perched on her shoulders.

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