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Contents of Hamster and Gerbils

Hamster and Gerbils

Photo of a hampster with his cheeks filled with food.

Pouches full of food, by Ninithedreamer / Flickr

Lecture Notes

Hamsters and gerbils tend to eat small, frequents meals. They have a higher protein and fat requirement than the rat and mouse, therefore some scientists consider them omnivores. However, hamsters require fiber, whereas mice and rats don't, making other scientists consider them as herbivores. This is one reason why you shouldn't feed your hamster rat or mouse food. On the other hand, gerbils are considered omnivores with no doubt. One aspect we must be aware of is that hamsters, using special pouches in their cheeks, will hoard food and store it in their hiding/sleeping place, while gerbils tend to hoard food by burying it in their bedding. This practice allows them to store food for later. Because they hide their food, it is important to limit the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables to what they can consume when provided. If those fresh products are hoarded, they could mold and make your pet sick.