Almonds are a species of a tree which is native to the Middle East and the South Asian countries. It is commonly the edible & widely cultivated seed of the tree. It is the fruit of this tree which is drupe and comprises of outer hull covered by a hard shell having the seed inside. They are sold in both shelled and unshelled forms. Can hamsters eat almonds? Coming to its consumption by the hamsters, it depends on the kind of almonds you are offering. While the sweet almonds could be safe for your hamster, the bitter ones could be lethal and even kill them. Sweet almonds are mostly common in USA and are native to the country.
Diet Tips For Hamsters
Nuts are something which should be included in the hamsters diet. It could be anything from walnuts, peanuts or even almonds. However, the salted nuts and the bitter almonds should never be given to the hamsters. Hamsters love it when they try their luck in getting the inner as well as the edible part of the nut. To help your little friend, you can crack and break the hard ones and the rest would be taken care of by the hamster. In case of almonds, the shell should always be removed.
Can Hamsters Eat Almonds?
Hamsters are known to have an inclination towards tasty treats besides getting the necessary nutrition from the regular foods. It is completely safe to offer sweet almonds to the hamsters, but it is HIGHLY IMPORTANT that you check the variety before offering. If it turns out to be the bitter almonds, you may kill your hamster. The bitter almonds comprise of cyanide compounds which is life threatening. Although, the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows feeding almonds packaged as sweet and contain up to 1% bitter almonds, it is better that you do not offer them the bitter ones.
Important Facts About Almonds
While buying the almonds for your little friend, there are a few things you should consider:
- Always purchase almonds without shells. The non-organic varieties are expected to contain small amounts of chemicals which should always be avoided.
- Carefully examine the almonds and remove the ones which are not in the perfect shape. It should be done as the irregular shaped almonds or even the shorter ones might be the bitter almonds. So feed them only the largest as well as the best shaped ones.
- Before offering almonds, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes. This would soften their skin. By pinching in the large end of the almonds, you should slide and remove the skin off.
- It is better to offer only a half almond a day to your hamster. High content of fat in almonds could eventually lead to excessive weight gain if consumed in large quantities.
- Lastly, they are a special treat and not everyday staple food for your hamster.
Threats Of Feeding Almonds To Hamsters
The non-organic variants of almonds are known to contain pesticides and consumption of any form of chemicals can harm or even kill the hamster. As mentioned earlier, almonds are available in two different varieties, i.e. sweet and bitter. Bitter almonds are the ones which should never be offered to your hamster. It contains toxic amount of prussic acid which is known as the hydrogen cyanide which ranges from 6% to 8%. This toxic element can be quite harmful if consumed by your hamster. It may even lead to death.
Even when offering the sweet almonds, make sure you remove the skin and the shells. The skin of the almond contains poison and could be fatal for the hamsters. Hence, be sure that what you are about to offer to your beloved pet is free from all dangers.
What To Do When My Hamster Ate The Bitter Almonds?
Well this is not at all a good situation and you should definitely be worried about it. A very low content may mean no damage but if the consumption was high there is danger ahead. Offer him fresh veggies and a lot of water in this situation. If you find any changes in his activities such as lethargy and slow in response then immediately take him to the vet and get him treated. Also, make sure that you keep all your bitter almonds and even the sweet unwashed & unpeeled almonds away from the reach of your pet. Make sure that even when you feed him sweet almonds, the piece is not more than a mere half of a single piece.