Pineapples are an incredibly delicious fruit, filled with sweet and sometimes tangy flavors. Not only is it refreshing, but it’s also great for our digestive health due to the enzyme bromelain, found in the fruit and stem of the plant.
Pineapples initially originated in the Americas, but are now found in tropical and subtropical areas. Surprisingly, the pineapple isn’t a ‘pine’, but rather a fruit made up of berries that have grown together. It can take up to two years for a pineapple plant to bear fruit, but it’s well worth the wait.
Most of us love the taste of this fruit, but what about gerbils? Can gerbils eat pineapples? Is it a safe treat for your fur babies?
Can Gerbils Eat Pineapples?
Gerbils should not eat pineapples, because they are highly acidic and contain about 87% water. Even humans who have acid reflux are advised to avoid pineapples as they can aggravate the issue. For gerbils, eating pineapples is a definite no-no because of their sensitive digestive system. Eating pineapples will cause an upset stomach and other health problems.
Do Gerbils Eat Pineapple in the Wild?
Gerbils would not eat pineapple in the wild, due to the location of their natural habitat. Gerbils are found in desert areas and shrubland, areas where pineapples don’t grow naturally. Pineapples are found in tropical regions, so the chances of gerbils finding and eating them are slim to none.
Wild gerbils’ preferred food includes seeds, plant roots, grass, berries, and insects when available. The safest way to test if a gerbil eats a certain food is to know what they eat in the wild. Gerbils have a natural instinct and know the foods that are safe for them.
Do Gerbils Like Pineapple?
Gerbils may like pineapples because of the pleasant taste, but they won’t enjoy the acidic feeling that comes with it. Some pet parents feed their gerbils pineapples such as this one who stated, ‘My gerbils’ favorite fruit is pineapple.’
So gerbils do like pineapples and some do eat both fresh and dried pineapples. It appears that some gerbils, eat pineapples and it doesn’t cause apparent harm, but it’s still not one of the best fruits for these animals.
Is Pineapple a Healthy Option for Gerbils?
Pineapple on its own is a very nutritious food, and without the acidity and water, it would be great for your gerbil.
Also, it’s important to note that the fruit of the pineapple when ripe, is in no way toxic to gerbils.
However, the unripe fruit, thorns and leaves do contain toxic properties, so you should definitely steer clear of those.
If you still choose to feed pineapple to your gerbil, always check when purchasing the fruit if it has fully ripened to avoid any health scares with your pet.
According to VeryWellFit, one cup of pineapple chunks contains:
- Calories: 82.5
- Fat: 0.2g
- Sodium: 1.7mg
- Carbohydrates: 22g
- Fiber: 2.3g
- Sugars: 16.3g
- Protein: 0.9g
- Vitamin C: 79mg
Pineapple also contains copper, manganese, and antioxidants which we know are beneficial for health. Studies have yet to show if vitamin C is helpful for gerbils, so we won’t mention their importance here.
- Copper is an important mineral that’s essential for overall growth and health in the body. It helps to make red blood cells and supports the immune system. It also keeps nerves healthy, protects cells from damage, and turns sugar into energy. My, my my!
- Manganese is actually a trace mineral found in the tissue, bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas. It supports health by aiding in calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.
- Antioxidants are great for health because they fight free radicals which can oftentimes cause cancer and other degenerative diseases. The antioxidants in pineapple can help to prolong life when consumed alongside a nutritious and balanced diet.
Delicious, but not best for gerbils
What makes pineapple unsuitable for gerbils are the high water content, acidity, and sugar level. All three taken in excess can create health problems for your gerbils.
Is Pineapple Safe for Gerbils?
Pineapple can be safe for gerbils if eaten in small amounts, as some do feed it to their pets without any issues. However, because of the acidity, water content and sugar levels, it might be better to avoid this fruit, rather than take the risk.
If you do choose to feed pineapple to your gerbil, it should be in very small amounts. Evidence shows that small amounts do not affect gerbils, which offers some reprieve. Your gerbil may enjoy the taste, but if you notice any negative effects, stop feeding pineapple immediately.
Gerbils can drink water throughout the day but do not need large quantities. In their natural habitat (the desert) water can be hard to come by. This means that gerbils are accustomed to drinking less water compared to other animals.
Fruits high in water content like apples, strawberries, and pineapples should be limited in their diet because of this. Too much water intake can cause gerbils to have diarrhea which can lead to other issues.
The high level of acidity in pineapples is one of the main reasons gerbils should avoid it. The acidity can damage the sensitive lining in a gerbil’s mouth and also cause ulcers which are very painful.
If ulcers are not treated, your gerbil may not feel like eating, and he will not receive sufficient nutrients and weight loss or nutritional deficiencies may be the result. The acidity can also cause digestive issues because when there’s too much acid, your gerbil’s food may not digest properly and this can cause stomach upset.
Excess sugar is another health risk to your gerbil. Your pet can safely eat fruits in moderation, but when eaten too frequently, sugar can lead to weight gain.
How Much Pineapple can Gerbils Eat?
Some gerbil owners do feed their gerbils pineapple in small amounts, but we cannot recommend any safe amounts due to the acidic nature of the fruit. It is best to stick to other fruits that are deemed safe for gerbils, rather than taking the risk with pineapples.
Can Gerbils Eat Fresh or Unripe Pineapple?
As mentioned before, pineapple is not the safest fruit for gerbils, so they should avoid pineapple in all its forms for better health. However, some people do feed fresh pineapple to gerbils with no issues.
Unripe pineapple on the other hand is not safe for gerbils. Unlike most fruits, pineapples don’t ripen properly after being picked and can be poisonous. Side effects can include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting which could be fatal for your gerbil.
Can Gerbils Eat Pineapple Leaves?
Gerbils should not eat pineapple leaves as the leaves have toxic effects. While this is specific to humans, it is highly possible that this could affect your gerbil as well. The toxicity is caused by the enzyme bromelain, which ironically is one of the major benefits of eating pineapples. Even though more studies need to be done on the effects of this enzyme, it is recommended that you avoid eating pineapple leaves.
Can Gerbils Eat Dried Pineapple?
Dried pineapples are the dehydrated form of the pineapple flesh. It contains little to no water and contains higher concentrations of sugar. Some gerbil owners get unsweetened versions of dried pineapple which lowers the risk of obesity, but it still remains that dried pineapples remain acidic. It’s best to avoid dried pineapple since there is a risk of sensitivity.
Can Gerbils Drink Pineapple Juice?
Pineapple juice should also be avoided because it has higher amounts of water and sugar. Also, the acidity will be greater as your gerbil will ingest more liquid than normal. Pineapple juice should not be fed to your pet as it would be too sensitive for your gerbil’s mouth. It could upset his delicate stomach and cause digestive problems.
Healthier Food Alternatives for Gerbils
There are healthier foods that gerbils can enjoy without the risks of serious health problems.
Here are healthier fruits for gerbils to eat in moderation:
Final Thoughts: Can Gerbils Eat Pineapples?
It is not recommended that gerbils eat pineapples, pineapple juice, or dried pineapples due to the acidity, water content, and sugar level. Some gerbils eat pineapples with no effects but this is not a guarantee that it won’t affect all gerbils. There are mixed reviews on the use of pineapples in a gerbil’s diet as some recommend it and others don’t.
To keep your pet as healthy as possible, it’s best to avoid this fruit and reduce the risk of any possible health issues. Your gerbils should avoid unripe pineapples and leaves at all costs as they could be poisonous. Be sure to get a healthy pellet mix for your gerbil so he can maintain a healthy diet.