How Much Does A Hamster Need To Eat?

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

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Comments 72 comments

sathya_ham 8 years ago

thanks ! ! !

I'll do it . . .

teresa 8 years ago

my hamster had 7 babies i went to clean the cage now i have 6 i try not to clean the cage as much. they r about a week old now.should i be cleaning them this soon or shouldd i wait longer? i put the dad in his own even should i clean the cage with the babies in there ?thanks

w33tashy 8 years ago

hi how do u know your hamster is pregnant? and if she is pregnat will she die wen giving birth?

peaches dad 8 years ago

i just got mine and hes scared a bitof me.

what can i do to fix that and make him like me more

aaliyah 8 years ago

it didn't give any info i didn't already know

Tiana 7 years ago

feed your hamster lots of treats, and then he won't be scared anymore. And try not to make loud noises next to him. :) TREAT HIM WITH RESPECT!

Billy Bo JOE 7 years ago

i have a hamster he killed his family and bit off his own head!!!

gam 7 years ago

hello cool people are fat

catfan 7 years ago

where can you bye dwarf hamsters?????????

Nami 7 years ago

You can buy dwarf hamster just about anywhere. Did you check your local pet stores? I bought mine at Pet Cetera and I got the cage at Super Pet.

hollie 7 years ago

do hamsters all ways eat food

Ted 7 years ago

Can you feed a hamster a carrot?

ashley 7 years ago

hamsters are hard to take care of you have to feed them one to two tablespoons every twenty four hours and you haveto clean there cage every week i have to do mine every sunday i got my hamster 4/19/09 at the flea market for $5.00 im bradeinton they had lots of them mine the cuttiest one out of all the babies

Marissa  7 years ago

Hi,when u buy any kind of hamster when their a baby, do u have to wait to hond them? If so, how long do u have to wait in order to hold them?

annie 7 years ago

my hamster is too small and i really don't know what to do with him and what to feed him ! Btw could we hold him or should we wait until he grows up? Thnx

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hamsterslove2fart 7 years ago

i don't know what kind of fruts and veges should my bby hamster should eat. and how many times a day should i feed it , and how do i take it a bath ??? plz help and thx :))>

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hamsterslove2fart 7 years ago

how much dose a hamster needs to eat a day ??

Christine 7 years ago

my hamster gave birth 1 week ago.can i carry the baby or should i wait longer? Pls reply :)

kate 7 years ago

my BFFFL (Best Female Friend For Life) has a hamster and she fed it a whoping 9 tablespoons of food!

steve 7 years ago

my sister's hamster is 4 months old and she eats a lot what kinds of things can't i give the hamster?

sophie 7 years ago

my hamster passed away yesterday, :( her name was molly i had her ova 2years,.

she was already an adult when we bougt her, she was my best frend. please LOVE AND PLAY with them whilst you can. i am living with regret. am getting a new hammy soon. i need info on how to make them VERY halthy. as i hate seing them die .. :'[

hannah 6 years ago

so sad but should i get a dwarf hammy from a breeder or a pet store? also are hammys good with kids?

nadia 6 years ago

omg yes u can feed a hamster carrot

jessica 6 years ago

i have two chinese dwarf hamsters to keep mine healthy i have a wheel and only fill there food up halfway and give them fresh food everyday. they have a treat everyday they need fat in there diet.

rachel 6 years ago

thx. that was helpful

laurie jaques 6 years ago

thanks it helped allot !!!

Danielle Acosta 6 years ago

Hi, my name is danielle. I don't know if i feed my hamsters too much? I usually feed them 4 tablespoons but my dad tells me to always put back because it's too much. Is he right? Or is 4 tablespoons enough?

boogirl97 6 years ago

I really want a hamster but my parents will not let me.They said they are to much to handle and they don't want our dog,Dotty,to get it.I have been reaserching about hamsters but i don't know what they will say.They also said i could have a zoopet hamster but it is not the same please help.


Danielle it says in the article to feed hamsters 1 to 2 tablespoons every 24 hours. Also feed them at night and a little in the morning. Thank You!


Abby 6 years ago

Thankyou sooo much!I have a hamster, Peanut that is sooo cute.But he is so fat. Am I feeding him to much or is it

natrual for male hamsters to be really FAT, can they die by the food they eat?

Caitlin 6 years ago

My hamster does that all the time!!!!! They r so fat!!!

trisha 6 years ago

Help I have a new baby 3days old the mother ate all but one and she left the other one because it got tangled up in the cotton bedding so I got it free and now have to care for it myself what should I do how much do they need to eat in order to live? I really don't want want it to die

Zach 6 years ago

I would try to feed it milk in a bot. If that dosent go to you're loackl pet shop or a vet and they would tell what to do or feed the hamster there selfs.

I really hope that helps becaust the same thing happened to me onley with snakes.

So good luck!!

spaz 6 years ago

I was wondering if anyone knows what a young male, 7 mo. old Campbells Dwarf hamster should weigh

??????????? 6 years ago

my hammy drank mild what do i do?

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Kimmie10 6 years ago

Good article. 3 out of 4 of my hamsters eat normal, but the forth one has to be on a strict diet everyday, because she will eat too much. She gets fat easily.

catherine 6 years ago

I have a baby hamster. But how can I socialize it?

courtney xxx HAS A HAMSER CALLED SHADOW 1!!! R.I.P SPEEDY 6 years ago

Okai , my hamster is 8 months old :D LUV HIM TO BITS ,, i AM AWAY TO ANSWER EVERYONES QUESTIONS ... :P i am bored... Sorry if i do not get to yours .. My laptop has only 5 mins :D

You can handle Hamsters when they are just born but you have to be more carefull , especially because it's bones has not developed properly and It can put danger to the animal when it it older ..

You will know that your hamster is pregnant by it's growing,diet and behavior and swelling in the tummy. Like humans , hamsters tummies grow large and they eat a large amount about 2-3 teaspoons each day , sometimes more. There behavior becomes more angry but in a good way , so don't go near the tummy area because theycan get aggesive and no picking up the hamster just put in a wheel for the cage and your hamster should be fine.Also your hamster will not die if she gives birth. There is only 8/10 chances that it will happen. But it is very uncommon for this to happen.

I will answer aanyones questions .. Just send an email to this address .. :

??????????? 6 years ago

im getting a hamster in a few days and i will use ur guides

sophie :) 6 years ago

hey im getting my hamster on 17th april my first pet cant wait!! just don't tell my parents :L they don't actually know cos they wont let me have any pets but i no everything about syrian hamsters and im so ready for this wooooo

courtney xxx again !! 6 years ago

Hey Sophie , I would really tell your parents .

Sorry but I would , my mum and dad would freak ...

Loonzai 6 years ago

hmm what if my hamsters totally don't want veges .__.

HIHIHIHI 6 years ago

I had a female golden hamster last year. I went on a vacation one day and left her with my aunt.... But then when I came back she told me my hamster died, but she never told me how :(

HIHIHIHI 6 years ago

I also have a question, my friend is giving away 3 week old baby hamsters and im going to get one... but is 3 weeks too young to be sold? I don't want to get one and have it die right away :(

elexus johnston glen cairn ps  6 years ago

i had a boy hamster and a girl hamster i let them mate and she deliverd 9 babys she moved them places in her cage about several times and at those times some of te babys would fall out of the cage and me and my mother would grab a piece of card board or paper we would scoop them on it and put it in befor the mother hamster could see us we hve them about 1 or 2 weeks know and one of the babys fell out of the cage soo we thought it was going to be easy but wen we but the baby girl back in the cage we watched as know we only have 8

lousia 6 years ago

of course hamsters can eat carots just not a lot so don't give it to them all at once im getting a hamster in 2 days cause my local store were all sold out :( but im so happy my aunt gave me her cage cause she used 2 have a hamster and ya lol but she still has the food and it was 8 years CAN I STILL FEED THE 8 YEAR OLD FOOD TO MY HAMSTER? plz answer thanks

bob mcburger 6 years ago

no you you shouldn't don't be so tight besides it will be bad for them buy some more tight wod.

Katiee B 6 years ago

i think i want a hamster for christmas but out they cheap? and when can you play with them e.g pick then up and can you bath them and that?


lisa evans 5 years ago

Iam getting one

Lim Zhou Min 5 years ago

i still don't understand what you're saying so can you say more clearly??

rachelle 5 years ago

i just boughtmy hamster a day ago and i could see he is always chewing on his bedding is that ok

rachelle  5 years ago

my hamster is always trying to look for stashes of food in his corners and i know that hamsters are only suppose to have 1 to 2 tablespoons of food and that's what i feed him but he seems to still be hungry why

hamad  5 years ago

i think your hamster need water or give him a little more

hamsterbn 5 years ago

how to feed baby hamster?

bethany 5 years ago

i just got mine

Eddie Woolley 5 years ago

I really really really want a hamster!!! but it is really awkward for me, this is because i live in the middle of no where, so when I go away, no one can look after him and my mum wont let me take him to hers when im at my mums, because she is scared of them, so is there any suggestions, because my dad is always out the country for up to 3 weeks!! any suggestions of special food I can give them that will last them 3 weeks?? please helppp me!!!!!

sammy 5 years ago

how much does a hamster eat in a year

dd 5 years ago

ok ill try it once mines new

Sugar 5 years ago

my hamster died this morning

he is 1 year. my sister did not give food for him, 2 days.

Ddiu 4 years ago

my cage is master cage is dirty and I wan to clean but the problem is inside the cage have one mum ad her two babies and the babies just only have four days so can I clean it or want to wait longer ?

br 4 years ago

thx cool

Nivhammieexpert 4 years ago

NEVER BATH A HAMSTER!! NEVER!! THEY WILL GET DIARRHEA!! And yes they LOVE carrots! ON crucial conditions when it has mites or anythin take a cloth and rub a mixture of one pint of room temperature water,one tablespoon witchhazel this can be found in drug stores and one tablespoon of listerine (not flavored)you put this in a washcloth or spray bottle and gently spray it not internally but externally but be careful not to spray it in its eyes,nose,mouth,ears or face....hope you find this helpful!

Myhamsterangel 4 years ago

hii im gettin a hamster tomm......i just wanna no, if i get 2 hamsters, both female, will they necesarrily kill each other? coz i wanna keep 2...but my mom says i have 2 give 1 away coz deyll fight...:( plz reply

yyyyyyyyyy 4 years ago

they'll probably fight you can do more research on Google or you can get a second cage and keep one in each cage :D

Kenner 4 years ago

hi!got a hamster just 4 days ago...she's my first pet...i feed her a lot..she likes to play with my hands but sometimes she bite a little this normal?..and another thing she always tries to escape,biting the cage is she had this normal for her?..would she stop this behavior soon...i really hate looking at her trying to wire mesh good for his playing tunnel?..please help me..its my first time to have a pet...i really love her..:D

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Anthea Carson 4 years ago from Colorado Springs

Thanks! great article, very useful

oh my hammy 4 years ago

hi do darwf hamsters bite or no

oh my hammy 4 years ago

what cage is best for teddy bear hamsters also, if i have 2 boy hamsters (both same type different families) will they fight if i keep them in the same cage

adam 4 years ago

my hamster seems really fustrated and fiddelly and im so scared to pick it up, will it bite me?? its also biting the bars on its cage like mad, is this normal?

Brianna malloy 4 years ago

Hay I had 2 give my hammy away and I'm all depressed any helpful hints on a hampster? My dad said maybe I can get another so any hints maybe?thanks!

Megan 4 years ago

@Oh my hammy- Im not to sure about the cage thing but, i had two boy hamsters in one cage at the same time and when i first got them they were fine but when they started to get older that's when "it" happened. Well they would always get into fights, And i couldn't get any new cages for one to go in. And i thought they were okay there just playing but i was wrong. because i got a call from my dad saying one of my hamsters ate the other one. I was sooo sad i cried and cried. So if i was you i wouldn't do it. Hope this helps.

@adam-Just take it easy with it don't go fast. Feed it treats by opening your hand very wide and then placing a treat on the palm and putting you hand away from your hamster and it should smell the treat and your smell and it should slowly come to you but take your time. And never try to sneak up on your hamster before touching it. Just show it your hand and then slowly move your hand towards it and then pet it. And don't worry all hamsters bite the cage even my supper calm hamster, They do that to get rid of stress and to keep their teeth no so long. Its totally normal, Hope this helps.

xoxo_Cinthya 4 years ago

I just my hammy 2days ago its a dwarf hamster^-* she's such a cutie. I named her (Missy). I had 13 at one time before was crazy.

aubrey 3 years ago

thanks for the hamster advise

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