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  • To bite or not to bite? That is the eternal hamster question.

  • Hey guys! It's Em, and today I am joined by my little hamster Wookie Latte,

  • who's a little bit shy, and we're going to be talking about hamster nutrition.

  • "Hamshter"? "Hambshter"?

  • "Hamster" nutrition.

  • [sped-up voice] He is my rescue hamster, and I say "rescued" because he was found outdoors in a park

  • in a box, by a friend of mine who walks dogs for a living.

  • [back to normal speed] Now, a lot of people think that hamsters only eat seeds and nuts

  • because that's typically what you find when you go and buy a seed mix from the stores.

  • Hamsters are actually omnivores. They can eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and even some meat.

  • Typically when you go to the pet store, you tend to find something that looks like this:

  • Basically a bag of food with a seed and mixed grain.

  • But what a lot of pet shops fail to tell you is that hamsters are actually omnivorous.

  • They eat a whole plethora of foods: everything from fruit, vegetables, to the usual seed,

  • and yes, even a little bit of meat, too.

  • So I'm here today to talk to you a little bit about hamster nutrition.

  • It is quite important to switch up the diet a little bit,

  • because if you're just feeding seeds and nuts and cereals, it can get a little bit boring.

  • And they're gonna have optimum nutrition if you give a little bit of variation.

  • Put it this way: it's kind of like living off of cereal for the whole of your life,

  • even though that you're an omnivore. Would you do that?

  • No, so please don't do it to your hamster.

  • This is for Syrian hamsters, and also for Syrian hamsters who don't have diabetes.

  • if your Syrian hamster has diabetes, please consult your vet.

  • or if you think that your Syrian hamster might have diabetes

  • or any other hamster you keep, please consult your vet.

  • So, grains and nuts. A couple of things that I keep in the house

  • that I like to feed to Wookie Latte - in small portions, mind you -

  • are his usual seed, which I scatter feed, which means I don't just put it in a bowl.

  • I kind of scatter it because it means he has to go and look for it,

  • and that gives him a bit of enrichment.

  • Kind of gives him a bit more excitement when it comes to his regular day-to-day activities

  • and always having something on a plate. He has to actually go and find his seeds.

  • I give him a mixture of sunflower seeds, he sometimes has flax seed.

  • You can also feed a little bit of pistachio,

  • you can feed a little bit of walnut.

  • Remember, walnut is very, very fattening, so only feed a little bit of walnut at a time.

  • Everything in moderation. Moderation is the key.

  • Some other grain-type foods, carbohydrates, that you can feed to your hamster,

  • which you might have around the house: little bits of cooked pasta or spaghetti.

  • Now, I know that sounds weird, but honestly, they love it as a treat.

  • As a treat! It shouldn't be every day. I give Wookie Latte, who is running on his wheel,

  • I give Wookie Latte one piece of penne pasta every three or four days.

  • You can also do the same for brown rice. You can use white rice,

  • but it's not as good and nutritious for them as brown rice.

  • So you can get them a little bit of brown rice, or the edge of a piece of toast as well.

  • Vegetation! This is where I'm going to have to run a whole load of things off pretty quick.

  • Vegetables! A couple of vegetables that you find around the house quite commonly: sweet potato.

  • They love sweet potato, but make sure that you cook it first.

  • Don't feed your potato raw. Give them a little bit of cooked sweet potato,

  • and they will thank you forever and ever and ever.

  • Corn on the cob! They love a bit of corn on the cob. Take it off the corn,

  • I just feed a little bit of sweet corn, so I get two or three pieces of sweet corn a couple of times a week,

  • And I scatter them, and Wookie Latte absolutely adores them.

  • He loves them so much that I have replaced his store-bought treats,

  • which were like a yogurt-drop-type thing, I don't know,

  • and I've replaced that with corn, and he loves corn. If he's going to calm down in my hands,

  • it's because he's eating a piece of sweet corn.

  • [imitating hamster eating sounds]

  • Who doesn't like sweet corn? Sweet corn is the best! It's so much fun going in, and it's fun on the other end too...

  • [giggles]

  • Celery! Your hamster can eat celery. Give a little bit, make sure that it is washed.

  • If you can go organic for any of these foods, that is far better to do

  • because then you know there's no harmful pesticides on there.

  • In fact, coming to pesticides, another food which is fantastic and a really great treat

  • which you might see in a dry form in your pet store is dandelion.

  • They can eat the stalk, they can eat the leaves, and they can eat the head as well.

  • But make sure if you are gonna feed dandelion, if you go out and collect it yourself,

  • please, please, make sure that the area you are collecting from is not treated for pesticide.

  • If you can grow your own dandelions, that is great. Make sure you wash any dandelions from outside

  • because you don't know if you have dogs peeing on them or pesticides,

  • just make sure you wash, wash, wash, and please try and get them as natural as possible.

  • Cucumber! Now, here's a very interesting thing about cucumber, is it's very high in water.

  • And what happens when the hamster eats lots of things with water, things like lettuce and cucumber?

  • [pooing noises]

  • Diarrhea everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Which you don't want.

  • Because if your hamster honestly gets diarrhea, it can get dehydrated very, very quickly.

  • If you suspect that your hamster has diarrhea, take it straight to the vet.

  • Don't be giving it any Imodium or any over-the-counter medicines, go straight to your vet.

  • And for that reason, if you're going to feed any cucumber, minuscule amounts.

  • Tiny. Tiny. Tiny! Amounts.

  • And they love a bit of good cooked parsnip. I like parsnips, too.

  • I like them glazed. Don't give them glazed parsnips.

  • Just bog-standard, roasted parsnip. With nothing on. Nothing at all.

  • Also watercress. Now, watercress is a fantastic food for that.

  • You can give them little handfuls of it, and you can watch them. It's really sweet.

  • They just stuff it in their mouth, so they seem to really love watercress, so watercress is fantastic, too.

  • Peas! Any peas you can really cheaply buy, shop-bought peas.

  • You can get them like peas in water, let me see if I can insert something for you.

  • Where is it gonna come up? [tongue click] Over here.

  • Shtop - shop - port... shop-bought peas!

  • I buy them in water, that's just a lot cheaper.

  • There's no nastiness in there. Not mushy peas, garden peas.

  • So you can get your peas in water. You just pick out one or two at a time.

  • You can feed maybe two or three of those in a day, so two or three little peas you can feed.

  • The rest, eat yourself! They're good for you.

  • Don't forget to eat your greens.

  • Now fruit! Fruit you want to be sparing with, but fruit,

  • they can actually eat things like banana, little nub of banana, they will love that.

  • In fact, what I do with Wookie Latte is I get a little bit of banana,

  • and I smear it in a line across some of these willow sticks.

  • Like little willow sticks I have, and he has to go along and eat it up like that whilst balancing.

  • Again, it's a little bit of enrichment for him. So you can feed a little bit of banana,

  • but sparingly because it's very high in sugar. And remember what sugar does.

  • You have too much sugar, what you gonna get? Fat. And diabetes possibly.

  • So you want to look out for any signs of obesity or fattiness or diabetes as well in your hamster, so just a little bit.

  • Grapes! You can feed grapes. What I do, I like to half the grapes, because again

  • they're quite watery, so I half the grapes. I take out the seeds - not that they'll do too much damage,

  • I mean that is debatable, but I just to be on the safe side, I take out the seeds.

  • Tomato. Hey! It's a fruit. Did you know that? Yes, tomato is a fruit.

  • Tomato, you can feed a little bit. Again, don't feed any seeds. Organic is better.

  • Don't feed tomato vine! Ever!

  • Just don't do it. Just feed them the actual tomato itself, and a very very little bit.

  • I'm talking an amount that can balance on the tip of my finger over there. A tiny little niblet of food.

  • Ah! Peaches! Peaches they like without the stone, don't put the stone.

  • A lot of stones for a lot of fruits can be poisonous.

  • What else am I missing? There's something I'm missing. Citrus. No citrus.

  • And by citrus, I mean things like lemon and grapefruit.

  • Anything like that, don't feed it. The only kind of exception here is kiwi.

  • You can feed a little bit of kiwi, and they really do enjoy it.

  • Apple you can feed as well. It doesn't matter if it's green apple or brown... apple...?

  • Don't feed brown apple. Do you get brown apples? Red apples or green apples are absolutely fine to feed.

  • Your hamster will really enjoy those.

  • Again, I use them as a very seldom treat for Wookie Latte.

  • Now, here's where it gets interesting! Meat and protein.

  • Your hamster can eat meat. Now, there are lots of care sheets online that you can look up

  • which swear by feeding a little bit of cooked chicken or a little bit of cooked beef,

  • but I'm thinking to myself, hang on a second. I mean in the wild,

  • is the hamster likely to come across cooked beef? No.

  • Is the hamster gonna come across cooked chicken? No.

  • But what your hamster might come across in the wild is carrion.

  • Carrion are dead, deceased animal. So I do feed Wookie Latte - in small portions, mind you -

  • is chopped up chick. Which I buy online, and I will insert a video around here, so that you can see.

  • I hope that didn't gross you out too much. It's just one of those things in life. Animals need to eat meat.

  • So I have that for my snakes, for some of my lizards, for my ferret, and also a little bit as well for Wookie Latte.

  • And he enjoys a little bit of chopped up chick. If that's not for you, that's fine.

  • There are alternatives, which will come to you right now.

  • Crickets! Brown crickets are very, very common to come past. Most pet shops will have brown crickets

  • because people who keep reptiles and other exotics really rely on brown crickets.

  • They can be annoying because they sing quite a lot.

  • I personally like it, makes me feel like I'm somewhere tropical at night,

  • but if you chuck these into your enclosure,

  • Sometimes some hamsters will chase after them. Wookie will do it.

  • He will quite ferociously hunt for brown crickets.

  • He really, really likes them, gives him his exercise. He's not just on his treadmill,

  • He's actually hunting for his food.

  • Now a great treat and a fantastic source of protein and a little bit of fat too, is mealworms.

  • Mealworms are phenomenal and your hamster will love mealworms, like just guaranteed.

  • Go out there, get some mealworms. If you're not going to use up the whole batch,

  • you can feed your birds outside as well. Trust me, a little handful of these just chucked outside,

  • and you're gonna have every bird in the vicinity coming down and thanking you like you are their god or goddess.

  • Thank you!

  • Some people like [to] feed the dried mealworms,

  • and there's not that much in them, that's kind of like eating potato chips.

  • Depending where you are, probably not in North America because I think it's illegal, but locusts.

  • Or you can go out and find them yourself.

  • Or breed them yourself, even better! Locusts are fantastic too because they are slower moving

  • than brown crickets, and it gives your hamster to sort of scurry on after them and learn how to hunt.

  • Foods to avoid! This is very, very important.