How Much Does a Hamster Need to Eat?

Updated on March 16, 2018

One of the natural wonders of the world is watching a hamster stuff his or her cheeks. They can carry the equivalent of their own bodyweight in their cheeks. Their food bowls are always empty. Depending on what species you have, they only weigh a few ounces. Where does all that food go? And are you feeding your hamster enough?


Hamsters put most of the food they come across not into their bellies, but into storage. In the wild, they can have several stashes to get them through lean times. Since they never know what tomorrow will bring, they are determined hoarders. There's no point explaining to them that they don't have to worry about food living with you. They won't believe you. They treat each morsel of food they come across as if it's the last.

This hoarding habit has actually saved the lives of humans, because wild hamster stashes get so incredibly big. One wild Syrian hamster had a stash that weighted 90 kg! The natives familiar with the habits of these champion pack rodents follow the hamster to his or her stash and break into it in order to survive hard times. The stashes are full of seeds, grains, pulses and root vegetables.

When you clean your hamster's cage or living quarters, you are bound to find small piles of food and treats. These stashes cannot be left indefinitely as they can attract bugs and mold. What I did when cleaning the cage was leave only one stash. But the next time I cleaned the cage, the previously saved stash was now ditched and another one was saved. If I couldn't keep track of the ages of the stashes, then I didn't take a chance and just cleaned everything out.

So, How Much Do They Eat?

Hamsters eat, on average, only about one to two tablespoons full of food per 24 hours. Everything else they avidly put into storage. The Syrian hamsters - the larger ones, also called Golden Hamsters - may eat a little more; the dwarf hamster species perhaps a little less.

Hamsters need a wide variety of food to stay happy and healthy. They are actually omnivores and thrive on all kinds of healthy foods. Never feed them sweets, raw kidney beans, onions or rabbit mix, please. And they will always put something away for later. You never know, there might be a blizzard or Act of God or something.

Since hamsters are nocturnal, most people give them their main feed at night, and perhaps a treat or just a couple of pinches of food in the morning. But no matter how little you feed them, hamsters will always hoard some of it. This activity of hoarding keeps them active and de-stressed. Although you might wind up throwing out a lot of the food you give your hamster, you still will have a happy, healthy hammy anyway, whether the food is eaten or stashed. So you still get your money's worth from the food even if a good bit of it isn't actually eaten.

Never underestimate the power of hamster cheeks! Film by roonex

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)