Can Hamsters Eat Mealworms? The Comprehensive Guide

by Joshua Paulson

can hamsters eat mealworms


When you want to provide your pet hamster with an occasional treat, mealworms might be the first food that comes to mind. But can hamsters eat mealworms in the first place? The answer is a resounding yes. Mealworms are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and fatty acids, making them a great way to achieve a balanced diet for your furry friends. 

But like with any tasty treat, you need to know how to incorporate hamster mealworms into a regular diet. This article will help you do just that. You'll find out how often and how many mealworms your hamster should eat. 

The Nutritional Value of Mealworms for Hamsters

You'll hardly find a pet owner who doesn't consider mealworms the most nutritious food for hamsters. Although this shouldn't be the only meal in your pet's diet, you can definitely include it due to its nutritional value. 

A wooden spoon full of mealworms

More specifically, mealworms are chock-full of protein, fatty acids, and fiber. Each essential nutrient provides numerous health benefits for your pet: 

  • Protein – The foundation of a well-balanced diet lies in ample protein. By eating enough protein-reach mealworms, hamsters can improve their bone health, increase their muscle mass, and boost their immune system. 
  • Fiber – Mealworms are also a good option for hamsters due to their high levels of fiber. This nutrient can facilitate digestion and minimize the risk of wet tail (hamster diarrhea). 
  • Fatty acids – Chinese hamsters, Syrian hamsters, and other breeds can't stay active unless they have energy. Mealworms are a great way to boost their energy levels because they're full of fatty acids. 

Safe Practices When Introducing Mealworms

Hamster being fed with a mealworm

It's easy to see why mealworms are a nutritious treat. Besides the abovementioned perks, there are many other benefits of mealworms, but the only way for your hamster to reap these benefits is to eat mealworms in moderation. 

This is especially true if your hamsters have never eaten similar food. Overfeeding can lead to digestion problems, obesity, and diarrhea. 

So, make sure your pets eat these treats in moderation. Emptying a handful is the easy way out, but it's a poor strategy in the long term since it can drastically reduce the lifespan of your furry friend. 

Live vs. Frozen vs. Dried Mealworms: Which is Better?

Another important topic when discussing this diet for hamsters is the form in which your pet should consume the treat: live vs. frozen. The good news is that there's no need to be picky here. Both live and dried mealworms are perfectly fine for hamsters. 

When it comes to nutritional value, dried mealworms are a slightly better option. According to WebMD, they contain more protein, fat, and fiber than live worms

Dried worms are convenient if you want to avoid the risk of the insect biting your pet by the cheek pouches. However, a simple way to prevent biting is to either crush the head of the worm or grab it with tweezers until the hamster puts it in its mouth. 

What's also great about live mealworms is that they're a fantastic source of entertainment for your pet. Hamsters get to hunt their prey, allowing their natural instincts to kick in.

Common Concerns and Myths About Feeding Mealworms

There are many misconceptions surrounding any source of food for your pets. For instance, many people ask the titular question (can hamsters eat mealworms?) because they think they're toxic or bad for the animals' digestive system. But considering the tremendous nutritional value, it's easy to debunk this claim. 

Another common concern is that mealworms spell trouble for hamsters because of the potential parasites they carry. There's no reason to worry about this, either, since mealworms are hamsters' natural food in the wild. They feed on live insects all the time, so giving them a few mealworms won't be anything drastic. 

Lastly, some pet owners hesitate to feed their hamsters live worms because they fear the insects will gnaw through their bellies. But by the time they get to a hamster's belly, they're already dead. You will have either crushed them with tweezers, or the hamster will have bitten through their head. 

It is true, though, that mealworms can bite hamsters on their cheeks. To prevent this, kill the worms before feeding them to your pet. Alternatively, switch to dried worms to eliminate the hassle altogether. 

How Many Mealworms Should You Feed Your Hamster?

Hamster on human's hand

There are differences between feeding your hamster live and dead worms, but this bears no influence over their dietary plan. Whether you opt for the live or dry form, you should take it easy initially. Give them one or two treats and see how they react. 

If the animal likes the treat, you can safely add two to three mealworms two to three times a week to their diet. This is the gold standard for most hamsters. Younger and smaller animals shouldn't eat more than two mealworms at a time, while older and bigger critters can have more than three. 

If the pet doesn't enjoy the meal, consider other foods: 

  • Timothy hay – This is a special type of hay that's rich in fiber, making it great for your pet's digestive system. 
  • Commercial seed mixes – Pumpkin, flaxseed, sesame, and corn kernels make up a traditional seed mix for hamsters. 
  • Fruits and vegetables – Small amounts of fruits and vegetables go a long way in keeping your hamster healthy. These include carrots, broccoli, chicory, apples, pears, and peaches. Avoid lemons, oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits since the high acid levels can irritate the hamster's stomach.
  • Boiled egg – Give your furry friend a few small bits of a boiled egg to help increase their protein and energy. 

Hamster on scattered food

Conclusion: Ensuring a Balanced Diet for Your Hamster

The next time someone asks you "Can hamsters eat mealworms?" you won't hesitate to say yes. As a result, feel free to include this treat in your pet's diet. Opt for small doses, especially early on, and your hamster will thank you for this valuable source of nutrition.

Additionally, don't forget that the well-being of your furry friend doesn't depend on food only. You also need to ensure a suitable habitat, and Quality Cage is here to make it happen.

Hamster eating a treat

Our selection of top-rated hamster supplies has all you need for a wholesome pet home. Whether you're looking for a fully functional hamster wheel or an easy-to-use hamster tank topper, our products won't let you down. And when the time finally comes for a new Dwarf of Syrian hamster cage, look no further than our store for a premium replacement.


How many mealworms should I feed my hamster?

Small hamsters should eat one to two mealworms, whereas large hamsters can eat three to four worms two to three times a week. 

Do Syrian hamsters eat mealworms?

Yes. Among other things, Syrian hamsters eat mealworms. 

What is a hamster's favorite food?

A hamster's favorite food is seeds and protein-rich treats, such as worms and eggs. 

Can I feed my hamster 3 times a day?

No. You should feed your hamster once a day. Do this when they wake up in the evening to fuel their nocturnal activities.


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Author: Joshua Paulson and Quality Cage Team
Josh is the owner and CEO at Quality Cage Crafters since 2015. During his time at Quality Cage Crafters he has been able to learn from tens of thousands of pet owners and pet educators. He blends his ambition for manufacturing and passion for animal care to create solutions for pet owners, breeders, animal rescues, and zoos. He has brought together a team of great animal lovers to create high quality pet care content for the Quality Cage Crafters audience.

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