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How Long Can a Hamster Go Without Food? Do They Store Food?

I LOVE my hamsters. They are a great source of entertainment and bring so much joy to my life. That’s why it’s essential that I know everything about them – including how long they can go without food.

Hamsters can go between three and four days without food, and they are likely to become lethargic and weak during this time. Since they are such tiny creatures, hunger can impact them rapidly and become dangerous in a short time.

In this guide, I’d like to take you through everything you need to know about how long can a hamster go without food, the effects, and some other key tips for you to remember.

Key Takeaways:

  • A hamster can go without food for about 3-4 days but may become weak and lethargic after just a few days.
  • If you are concerned that your hamster is not eating, it is best to take him to the vet for a check-up.

How Long Can a Hamster Go Without Food?

Hamsters are small, resilient creatures that can go for about A WEEK or less without food. However, hamsters may become weak and lethargic after just a few days without it [1].

If you are CONCERNED that your hamster is not eating, it is best to take him to the vet for a check-up.

Pro Tip: Generally speaking, 3-4 days is how long your hammy can go without anything to eat, but they are such small creatures that this can quickly become dangerous for their health or fatal.

While hamsters can survive for a few days without food, it is essential to make sure they have access to fresh WATER at all times. Hamsters are also susceptible to dehydration, so it is essential to keep an eye on their water intake.

What Else Influences This?

There are SEVERAL other factors that can influence how quickly a hamster is affected by a lack of food. These are:

  • Age
  • Health (existing conditions)
  • Condition (how well you have cared for them)
  • The temperature of the room

These might seem like minor factors, but they can stack up to create an ARRAY of potential issues for your hamster if they go without food.

How Much Food Does a Hamster Need?

Hamsters need around ONE tablespoon of food per day. This is a very small amount, and it is easy to forget to feed or overfeed them.

A hamster’s diet should consist of a mix of FRESH vegetables, a few slices of fruit, pellets, and seeds. A combination of dry and wet food can be beneficial. Make sure you avoid sticky hamster treats, as these can get stuck in their cheeks.

hamster eating food but how long can a hamster go without food

Dry food comes in the form of pellet food, and you should ensure their food bowl is topped up REGULARLY. As hamster parents, it’s up to us to make sure they are well cared for.

If you’re worried about how much food they should have, you can consult with your local pet store for more advice.

Do Hamsters Store Their Food?

Yes, hamsters do store their food. Hamsters will HOARD their food in their cheek pouches to take back to their nests [2].

While hamsters are capable of doing this, it is IMPORTANT to make sure they have access to a constant supply of food, so they don’t go without it.

However, it should be noted that this stored supply will never be more than enough to last for a COUPLE of days. You also need to be careful that you don’t let their hoard go moldy, which poses a risk to their health.

Now you know how long hamsters can go without food, you may be wondering how long hamsters can go without water, and the answer is slightly longer, so read on to find out.

How Long Can a Hamster Go Without Water?

How long can a hamster survive without water? While hamsters can go without food for a few days, they CANNOT go without water. In fact, hamsters are very susceptible to dehydration and need to have access to water at all times.

The best way to ensure your hamster has enough water is to provide them with a water bottle that is ATTACHED to the side of its cage. You should also check the water level daily to make sure it hasn’t run out.

hamster drinking water but can a hamster go without food

Pro Tip: If you are concerned that your hamster is not drinking enough water, you can try adding a little bit of fruit juice to their water to make it more appealing. This should only be a drop due to the high sugar levels in fruit juice.

Can You Leave a Hamster Without Food for a Few Days?

Absolutely NOT. If you are going away for a few days, making arrangements for someone to come and check on your hamster is essential. This includes making sure they have enough food and water.

Even if it’s just the weekend, this is still too long to leave them alone. They need hamster food, water, and attention, which all GOOD hamster owners will make sure they have before they leave.

If you cannot find someone to do this, the BEST option would be to take your hamster with you or to put them in a hamster hotel.

A hamster hotel is a place where someone will look after your hamster for a fee. This is an excellent option if you are going away for a SHORT time and don’t want to put your hamster through the stress of travel.

So what are the risks of leaving your hamster alone?

Also, don’t forget to check what do hamster eat in the wild.

What are the Risks to Your Hamster if You Leave Them Alone?

Lethargy and death from starvation are not the only risks to leaving your hamster alone for a few days. You are also putting them at severe risk of:

  • Injury
  • Sickness from a change in temperature
  • Disease or sickness
  • Lack of water
  • Fallen water bottles, wheels, or toys
  • Escape
  • Anxiety when being handled

Hamsters are incredibly SENSITIVE to their environment, and even small changes can turn their world upside down. Even a few days of not being handled can make them NERVOUS and even cause them to bite out of fear when you next pick them up.

Pro Tip: You need to carefully consider the safety and well-being of your hammy, which is why it is ESSENTIAL that someone is there to care for them while you are away.

Conclusion

As you can see, hamsters CAN go without food for a few days. However, this does NOT mean that you should leave them without food. There are several risks associated with leaving your hamster without food, water, or attention for even a short period of time.

If you are going away, the BEST option is to take your hamster with you or to have someone come and look after them for you. This will ensure that they are properly cared for in your absence.

I hope that this guide has been able to help you learn more about how to care for your hamster and the importance of ensuring they have plenty of food and water at all times.

how long can a hamster go without food

So, how long after do you feed your hamsters? Let us know in the comments section!

Sources:

  • 1. Borer KT, Rowland N, Mirow A, Borer RC, Kelch RP. Physiological and behavioral responses to starvation in the golden hamster. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1979;236:E105.
  • 2. E D. Effects of foraging effort on body fat and food hoarding in Siberian hamsters [Internet]. Wiley Online Library. 2001. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1097-010X(20010215)289:3%3C162::AID-JEZ2%3E3.0.CO;2-N
Ben Roberts
Ben Roberts

My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.
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