Papayas are enjoying a very high reputation as one of the healthiest fruits for us humans, and it is no wonder that people are starting to think whether papayas are just as tasty and healthy for our furry friends; the hamsters. Can hamsters eat papaya?
Yes, hamsters can eat papayas. These fruits pack lots of nutrients and minerals beneficial to pet health. However, the quantity and how they are prepared should be strictly monitored to avoid harming your pet.
Therefore, if you are thinking of introducing papaya in your hamster’s diet, go ahead and your hamster will probably appreciate you for it. But before that, ensure you read and understand this article to get you well equipped on how best you can go about it.
What Is A Papaya?
Papaya is a tropical fruit that comes from the Carica Papaya tree. This fruit is also known as paw-paw, which originated from Central America.
The ripe papaya fruit has yellow to orange skin with flesh that ranges in color from orange-yellow to salmon pink in color. While ripe, the fruit is very soft and delicious.
The unripe fruits are green in color and can be eaten like green apples or cooked like vegetables such as eggplant, okra, cucumber, etc.
Unfortunately, the unripe paw-paws are not as popular as the ripe fruits, which is why it is hard to find them in grocery stores. However, they are available in some specialty stores that sell tropical and exotic fruits.
Papaya typically weighs between 150 and 1500 grams with a diameter of 10 to 30 centimeters. It can be eaten by itself or used to prepare a number of dishes such as salad, smoothie, jam, juice, etc.
Nutrition In Papaya
Papaya is a great source of vitamins, other nutrients, and minerals. These tasty fruits are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids.
In addition to these two vitamins, they also contain a number of other ingredients such as provitamin A, B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamin B-6. Minerals present in papayas include potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and dietary fiber.
And that’s not all; papaya has anti-inflammatory properties as well as some anti-cancerous components such as papain and chymopapain. These two components aid in the absorption of nutrients and help with digestion.
Is Papaya Good For Hamsters?
When we ask whether papaya is good for hamsters, we simply want to know what benefits they will gain from eating papaya. And yes, feeding hamsters with papaya can offer the following benefits:
- Increases appetite – Hamsters don’t always have very healthy eating habits. Some may even skip a day or two without eating, and that is not good for their health. Papaya contains components such as fiber, enzymes, and vitamins that increase appetite in humans and animals alike.
- Prevents Scurvy: Paw-paw fruit contains vitamin C in fairly large quantities, enough to prevent scurvy. Scurvy is a disease that causes symptoms including gum disease, skin infections, inflammation of the joints, etc. In addition, it strengthens the immune system, making your hamster’s body more resistant to common health issues. Hence, if you give your hamster paw-paw as recommended, you reduce the likelihood of developing severe diseases like heart disease, chronic disease, and others.
- Aids in digestion – The components contained in papaya aid humans and animals alike with their digestive systems. This not only helps with better absorption of nutrients but also helps prevent some digestive health issues such as diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel disease, etc.
- Prevents cancer – Papayas contain anti-cancerous components that not only prevent cancer but also slow down the growth of existing tumors.
- Rich in anti-oxidants – It is vital for hamsters to stay away from diseases caused by free radicals, especially inside their small bodies. Paw-paws contain Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that works against these free radicals and protects hamster cells from damage.
- Prevents heart diseases – One of the components present in papaya helps with lowering LDL cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is one of the major causes of heart diseases, so this is very beneficial for hamsters as well.
Can Papayas Be Bad for Hamsters?
Definitely! Papayas can be bad for hamsters when they are not prepared well or eaten in excess amounts. That’s the case for any other food you are going to give your hamster.
Unhealthy feeding of papayas to hamsters can mild to severe health issues in your hamster. They include;
- Diabetes: Papaya can cause high blood sugar levels when you make it a habit to offer your hamster plenty of it. That’s because it contains a high amount of sugar. Diabetic hamsters have a hard time regulating their blood sugar levels, which can be very dangerous for them. In fact, if you have a diabetic pet, it’s best to avoid giving them papaya altogether.
- Digestive Issues: As with any other food, if you feed your hamster papayas in excess, they may develop digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation. This occurs because too much of the food will lead to indigestion and other problems.
- Urinary Complications: Papaya contains some traces of calcium, which can lead to the formation of bladder stones, urinary tract infections, and complications if you give your hamster too much of it.
- Allergies: Some papayas contain a very high concentration of latex, so if your hamster consumes them, they may show some allergic reactions such as itching, swelling of the mouth or tongue, gastrointestinal distress, etc.
As evident, paw-paw can be good and as well as bad for hamsters. What matters the most is the amount of papaya you give your pet, the health issues it is susceptible to, and other factors associated with its overall well-being.
If you are doubting that papaya may not be safe for your pet, it’s best to consult a veterinarian before feeding it to your hamster.
How Much Papaya Should You Feed Hamsters?
It’s best not to feed your adult hamster any more than a teaspoon of papaya. Anything more than that can be harmful to them, so it’s better to avoid giving too much of it.
The best way is to cut up the required amount and offer it as a treat. This also ensures that you do not give too much papaya to your pet.
How Frequent Should Hamsters Eat Papaya?
Although all hamster breeds can eat the same grams of papaya, the frequency at which they should eat it varies. The largest hamster species, that is, Syrian hamsters need it more often than any of the other types of hamsters.
Particularly, for Syrian hamsters, ensure that you offer papaya at most twice a week. The days shouldn’t be consecutive. For Robos, keep it once per week. However, if you have a Dwarf hamster, only give them paw-paw once in a fortnight.
Can Hamsters Eat Papaya Skin?
Papaya skin doesn’t contain as many nutrients as the fleshy part. Again, the skin may contain pesticides and other harmful substances. Therefore, it’s best to avoid giving your pet hamster papaya skin.
Can Hamsters Eat Papaya Seeds?
Same to papaya skin, you should not feed your hamsters papaya seeds. The seeds are not just dangerous but also may cause choking hazards for your pet. I know you love your pet and want the best for them, so just avoid feeding them the seeds.
Can Hamsters Drink Papaya Juice?
We discourage giving your hamster papaya juice. Hamsters are naturally prone to diabetes. The papaya fruit itself contains lots of sugars, and it’s even more concentrated in the juice. That means giving your hamster this juice may make them develop some serious health complications associated with diabetes.
Can Hamsters Eat Papaya Leaves?
Unlike the skin, seeds, and juice, papaya leaves are safe for your hamster to eat. They will help in improving digestion and preventing issues such as bloating alongside other digestive issues. However, more like the skin, it doesn’t offer any nutritional value to your furry friend, and that’s why we recommend that you stick to the papaya flesh.
How Many Calories Are In 100g Papaya?
The caloric content depends on whether the papaya is ripe or unripe. Ripe pawpaw is richer as it contains 39 calories in 100 grams. However, the unripe variety contains about 27 when cooked plain.
How Should You Feed Papaya To Your Hamster?
We said papaya can only be safe and healthy for your hamster if
- Given in the right quantity
- Prepared correctly.
You already know the amount and how often your pet needs papaya as a treat. And now you should know how to prepare it so your hamster can enjoy all the benefits of papaya without developing any health problems.
Here is how;
Step #1: Find An Organic Ripe Paw-Paw
It’s best to look for a papaya that is organic, fresh, and ripe. Organic papayas typically don’t contain pesticides like the non-organic variety. The fruit needs also to be fresh and ripe. To make sure you get the right one, give it a whiff before buying it. You should not smell any kind of strong odors from it because that means there are some issues with the fruit just like with other foods.
Step #2: Give It Some Good Washing
Although you aren’t going to give the skin to your pet, you still can’t ignore washing it thoroughly. It will ensure that there aren’t any pesticides or other substances on the skin that may harm your hamster in any way.
Step #3: Peel The Papaya And Get Rid Of The Seeds
Next is to remove the skin. You can use a knife for this. After peeling, now cut the tasty fruit in half, and using a spoon or any other appropriate tool, remove all the seeds.
Step #4: Cut It Into Smaller Portion Sizes
Your tiny friend has a tiny mouth. They can’t manage bigger slices of papaya. Therefore, you should cut it into smaller portions. The size shouldn’t exceed the recommended amount.
Step #5: Offer The Treat
Now that you have cut the fruit into smaller pieces, it’s time to offer them to your pet. Pick a slice of papaya and offer it to your pet. Your furry friend will love you more for this delicious treat and enjoy all the nutrients in their full glory. You can hand-feed your hamster or make use of the food bowl.
Step #6: Remove Any Leftovers
The majority of people think that feeding their hamsters ends at step number #5. However, that’s not the case- you have to follow up and remove the leftovers after the hamster has eaten. Uneaten papaya can attract bacteria and other forms of pathogens that are harmful to your pet. That’s it!
So yes, your hamster can eat papaya and may reap lots of health benefits from it. However, that’s only when you do things right, give papaya in moderation and pay attention to how you offer it. Otherwise, your pet may face the other side of the coin, which is pretty dangerous.
So if you still think papaya is worth the try for your hamster, remember to do things right in order not to have any negative side effects. And as always, consult with your veterinarian if you are unsure about anything or wish to give your pet a better diet plan.