Gerbils love to eat various seeds, vegetables, fruits, and veggies. As omnivores, they will also eat small insects when available. These little fur babies need a balanced diet of nutritious food items in order to thrive. For pet parents, that means providing them with a wholesome diet that they will not only benefit from, but enjoy. Like any other animal, gerbils may get bored eating the same things regularly, so it’s good to vary their diet.
But what about sweet delectable strawberries? Can gerbils eat strawberries? Is it safe to feed this popular fruit to your gerbil? And if so, how much?
Can Gerbils Eat Strawberries?
Gerbils can eat strawberries as an occasional snack. These small rodents generally feed on dry foods like grass and pellets. Strawberry contains a higher amount of water, which is not best for gerbils. So while you can feed strawberries to gerbils, do not provide this food frequently.
What Do Strawberries Contain?
Fun Fact: Strawberries actually came from Europe during the 18th century. They are a great source of vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and folate. What also makes it a great snack is that it has antioxidants, which fight against free radicals. Antioxidants can also be great for heart health and for controlling blood sugar levels.
Strawberry Nutrition Stats
There are lots of reasons to love strawberries and clearly, the nutritional profile is one of them. Not only are they healthy, but they also make for a delicious snack.
According to the USDA, 1 cup of strawberries contains the following amount of nutrients:
|Calories 53 calories
|Water 90 grams
|Protein 1.11 g
|Carbohydrates 12.7 g
|Dietary fiber 3.30 g
|Calcium 27 milligrams
|Iron 0.68 mg
|Magnesium: 22 mg
|Phosphorus 40 mg
|Potassium 254 mg
|Vitamin C 97.60 mg
|Folate 40 micrograms
|Vitamin A 20 IU
As you can see water makes up a large part of its content which is great for humans, but not so much for gerbils. While they should have access to fresh water throughout the day, water should not make up a large quantity of their diet.
Strawberries also contain little protein which your growing gerbil requires to fuel his energy and carry oxygen around the body. It also contains less sugar than some other fruits, which is a good sign. One of the best things about strawberries though is the small fat content. Gerbils really don’t need much fat because they are good at conserving it on their own.
Too much water can cause diarrhea in gerbils and lead to death! Gerbils have specialized kidneys that enable them to urinate less than other species, and fat cells that are capable of storing water. Give them water in a clean water bottle daily.
Are Strawberries Safe for Gerbils?
Strawberries are safe for your gerbil in the sense that they are not toxic to your pet. However, because of the high water content, it is not the safest choice. The lack of protein in comparison with some other foods that gerbils eat means it isn’t totally necessary for your gerbil to eat it. Gerbils will eat strawberries because they eat most types of fruits. Strawberries are not found in a gerbil’s natural habitat, but they would most likely eat it if they found it in the wild.
Do Gerbils Like Strawberries?
Gerbils absolutely LOVE strawberries! And can you wonder why? They are juicy, sweet, and delicious fruits with a nice firm texture that gerbils can enjoy. Gerbils will love to munch on this tasty treat as the texture will feel great to them. Also, if humans love the sweet taste, why wouldn’t your gerbil love it as well? Even though the sugar content isn’t as high as other fruits like bananas, it still has a sweet, pleasant taste that your gerbil can’t get enough of.
How Much Strawberry to Feed Gerbils?
If you do have to feed your gerbil strawberry, take extra care not to give her too much, as gerbils do not need a large number of fruits in their diet. While you can feed this treat occasionally, it should not become a regular menu item. The right amount of strawberries will depend on your gerbil’s weight or size.
Ideally, gerbils should only eat about a teaspoon of fresh strawberries a serving.
Overfeeding your gerbils with strawberries will make your pet feel stuffed due to the high amount of water and he may not eat enough of his usual meal during the day. This can cause your gerbil to miss out on essential nutrients and minerals. It is not recommended that you give your gerbil strawberries more than once a week though. There is no need to give your gerbil strawberries two days in a row. Dried strawberries can be given once a month as the sugar content is high.
Why You Should Feed Your Gerbils Strawberries
So strawberries are not the absolute BEST snack for your gerbil to eat regularly, but are still nutritious. While they can eat strawberries occasionally, they shouldn’t be fed the fruit that often. The best foods for gerbils are those packed with essential nutrients and minerals that your pet needs. There are a few benefits of eating this delicious snack which include:
Provides Nutrients Your Gerbil Needs
Studies have shown that gerbils do not need vitamin C. Some other rodents do need it, but gerbils aren’t one of them. However, other nutrients like manganese, folate, and potassium are good for your gerbil and will contribute to his daily nutrient requirement.
- Maganese is great for helping the body to form connective tissue and bones, for blood clotting and calcium absorption. It also aids with blood sugar regulation.
- Folate is important for red blood cell formation and cell growth and function. It also helps produce white blood cells in the bone marrow which help fight disease.
- Potassium is another essential nutrient that helps to regulate the heartbeat and makes sure that the muscles and nerves work properly.
Antioxidants which are a regular feature in most berries are great for gerbils not only because they fight free radicals, but also because they can help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Low Glycemic Index Food
Strawberries have a low glycemic index, which means they won’t allow your gerbil’s blood sugar level to spike. This lessens the chance of your little nugget developing diabetes, but it should still be given in moderation.
Aids in Digestion
One of the most significant benefits of eating strawberries is their fiber content. Your gerbil can happily eat a little of this fruit because it will help with his digestion and help him to poop regularly!
Can Strawberries Hurt Gerbils?
Despite the great benefits of strawberries, they do have some downfalls when it comes to your gerbil’s health. Take a look at the risks below to see if feeding your pet strawberries is the best option.
Strawberries have a ton of water! And while that’s great, your gerbil doesn’t need that much. Water should be fed to your gerbil through a clean water bottle and he will naturally get some through fresh fruits and veggies. However, fruits should make up only about 5% of your gerbil’s diet. If your gerbil gets too much water, it can lead to issues such as diarrhea. If this happens, you will need to stop feeding your pet any fruits and vegetables immediately until the issue clears up.
So again, the sugar level in strawberries isn’t high, but seeing as your gerbil is very tiny, large portions can cause problems. Also, your gerbil has a sensitive tummy, so too much sugar can disrupt the normal functioning of his digestive system. He may also experience stomach cramps, pain, and gas which can’t be too comfortable for him.
If your tiny gerbil gets too much sugar from overeating strawberries, it can lead to obesity. Any sugar that is not used up as energy will be stored in the body as fat. This causes weight gain which can lead to mobility issues. This also increases your gerbil’s chances of developing other illnesses such as heart problems which can lower his life span.
It goes without saying that pesticides are harmful to animals. It isn’t a natural substance found in their natural habitat. Pesticides are dangerous for your gerbil, which is why choosing organic products is best. Pesticide exposure can lead to cancers and neurological problems. Try to source organic products for your gerbil and wash strawberries thoroughly before feeding them to your pet.
How To Serve And Store Strawberries For Your Gerbil
- Choose Organic produce whenever you’re feeding your gerbil fruits and veggies. If you can’t purchase organic products, it’s best to avoid them and use normal pellet food that will give him all the necessary nutrients.
- Wash produce thoroughly before feeding them to your gerbil. Inspect the fruit to see if there is any mold or mildew and remove those parts. You can throw away the berry if it has too much damage.
- Cut strawberries into small slices instead of giving him whole. Don’t leave the fruit with your gerbil as he may take it to the cage and horde it. This can cause it to rot and will attract bacteria.
Now your gerbil can enjoy his snack and relish the moment. Bon Appetit!
Can Gerbils Eat Frozen Strawberries?
Gerbils can eat frozen strawberries because they are the same as fresh strawberries. Depending on how quickly they were frozen, they should retain the vitamins and minerals that your gerbil needs.
However, with that comes certain issues such as your gerbil’s ability to actually eat frozen fruit. It may not be as comfortable eating this cold fruit and it will lower his body temperature. If you decide to defrost it, the texture will be mushy and won’t have the firm, crisp texture that your gerbil enjoys.
While your gerbil can eat frozen strawberries, it’s best to avoid them and use them as a nice frozen juice treat for yourself instead.
Can Gerbils Eat Strawberry Tops?
Gerbils eat plant roots in the wild and other greens like grass. It’s completely safe for your gerbil to eat strawberry tops, and the leafy green is something that he will definitely enjoy. One benefit is that it has less sugar and contains both fiber and potassium. Feeding them a few stems is safe, but avoid giving them too much as this may cause stomach problems.
Can Gerbils Eat Strawberry Leaves?
These leaves are found on the vine of the strawberry but you won’t find them in your local supermarket. You may find them at your farmer’s market though. Gerbils can safely eat this without any issues, and just like strawberry tops, they contain fantastic nutrients for your furbaby. Strawberry leaves contain calcium, potassium, fiber, and iron.
Can Gerbils Eat Strawberry Seeds?
These tiny seeds are scattered about the skin of strawberries and are quite suitable for your pet. They are harmless and so small in fact that they shouldn’t pose a choking hazard. Gerbils probably don’t even notice them anyway!
Feed our gerbils a balanced diet of his regular pellet food, along with fresh fruits and veggies. Feed him strawberries occasionally. He’ll thank you for it!
Can Gerbils Eat Strawberry Jam?
This is a total no-no. Strawberry jam is way too sugary and sweet. Your gerbil’s digestive system can’t handle this much sugar. If your gerbil feeds on too much sugar, it can cause health issues. Also, store-bought strawberry jam contains additives, salt, and pectin which are not good for your gerbil. Your best option is sticking to fresh strawberries.
Can Gerbils Eat Dehydrated Strawberries?
This is a good option when fresh strawberries are not available. You’ll find that dehydrated strawberries are much smaller than fresh ones because all the water has been removed. This is excellent for your gerbil seeing as he doesn’t need that much water in his diet. It’s better if you can dehydrate the strawberries at home yourself with a handy dehydrator. Some dehydrated strawberry products contain additives that you’ll want to avoid.
Can Gerbils Eat Canned Strawberries?
Just as with strawberry jam, canned strawberries are jam-packed with sugar and of course other additives and preservatives. If you want to keep your gerbil as healthy as possible, avoid canned strawberries at all costs.
Healthy Berry Alternatives for Gerbils
If your gerbil isn’t too happy with this new addition, there are other healthy alternatives to try. Gerbils can eat other berries such as:
- Goji berries
Can Gerbils Eat Strawberries?
Strawberry is a healthy treat that your gerbils can eat in small amounts occasionally. It has a high water content and little protein which isn’t the best for your pet. If you do plan to feed your gerbil strawberry, feed him fresh strawberries once a week. Try to avoid feeding him canned strawberries or strawberry jam as these are filled with sugar and harmful products that aren’t healthy for your gerbil.