Tomatoes are used in a lot of recipes and add a really nice flavor. Some liken it to an umami flavor which is much sought after by home and professional cooks. It also helps that tomatoes are healthy and even possess cancer-fighting properties.
We definitely love them, however, can gerbils eat tomatoes? Is this a safe food to offer to your pet? Let’s find out what’s best for your furry friend!
Can Gerbils Eat Tomatoes?
While it is not a preferred food for these little rascals, gerbils can eat tomatoes in small amounts. Tomatoes are actually a fruit, even though it is commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. Gerbils can and should eat fruits and vegetables frequently but in small amounts.
Tomatoes can be a healthy addition to your gerbil’s diet, but they should not become a staple at mealtimes. In fact, it’s best to use other vegetables or fruits because tomatoes are watery and acidic. If you do choose to incorporate tomato into his diet, feed it occasionally and in very small amounts.
Did you know that there are about 15,000 different tomato varieties? Have you tried them all?
Do Gerbils Like Tomatoes?
Gerbils will eat tomatoes and might quite enjoy the tangy flavor. They aren’t very picky, so your pet will most likely eat tomatoes if you feed this food to them. They also enjoy the watery taste and texture which is certainly different from their usual pellet mix.
Gerbils may take to the texture of tomatoes if they are firm on the outside, as they enjoy anything crunchy. Crunchy foods help gerbils to keep their incisors down, as these keep growing throughout their lifetime.
Can Gerbils Eat Raw Tomatoes?
Raw tomatoes are considered the healthiest because they contain a good amount of nutrients and minerals that your gerbil needs. At the same time, it’s best to wait until the tomato is ripe before feeding it to your pet.
Green tomatoes contain high levels of solanine and alpha tomatine which can be poisonous to your gerbil. When in doubt, avoid using tomato altogether and use another healthy fruit or vegetable as a treat.
Can Gerbils Eat Cooked Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are rather versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways. They do pack a lot of flavor and are often used alongside herbs to add a kick to certain meals. Cooking does change the nutritional value and composition of the plant, which can have an impact on your gerbil’s health.
It’s fine to feed your gerbil-cooked tomatoes as long as no salt, seasoning, oil, or additives are used during the process. Healthy options to try include dehydrating or roasting which generally doesn’t involve much change to the plant.
Can Gerbils Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are much smaller than regular tomatoes and come in red, orange, yellow, and black varieties. They contain a lot of nutrition and have an excellent flavor. Gerbils can eat cherry tomatoes and because of their watery nature, they can be very hydrating.
Can Gerbils Eat Grape Tomatoes?
Grape tomatoes are different from cherry tomatoes in that they have an oblong shape and are smaller than their round counterparts. They have a chewier texture and aren’t as sweet as cherry tomatoes. Gerbils can definitely eat grape tomatoes and will love the chewy texture that these veggies have.
Are Tomatoes a Healthy Choice for Gerbils?
In general, tomatoes are a very healthy fruit or vegetable, depending on how to term them. As with other plants, it contains a range of vitamins and nutrients that support the body. A one-gram tomato contains:
- Calories: 18
- Water: 95%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbs: 3.9 grams
- Sugar: 2.6 grams
- Fiber: 1.2 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
It also contains Vitamins C, K, A, B9, E, and Potassium. These nutrients are essential for optimal health, although we’re not too sure about how Vitamin C helps rodents like gerbils. On the other hand, the other nutrients listed can be beneficial to your pet.
- Vitamin A does help to maintain healthy teeth, bones, mucous membranes, skin, and soft tissue. It’s also excellent for vision.
- Vitamin K helps blood to clot which is useful when injured or bleeding. It is also important for bone health and particularly healthy bone tissue.
- Vitamin E, on the other hand, is essential as it helps the body to form healthy red blood cells which are necessary for good health.
- Vitamin B9 or folate also helps to form red blood cells and is necessary for the production of DNA which helps with cell function and tissue growth.
- Potassium is a mineral necessary for nearly every tissue in the body to function. It actually conducts electrical impulses across the body and helps to maintain normal levels of fluid in the body.
So as you can see, tomatoes do have an excellent array of vitamins and nutrients that can be helpful to your gerbil’s health. Still, due to its watery and acidic nature, it’s best to feed this food in very small amounts.
Outta This World!
You might not have done this, but tomatoes have been to space. Yeah really! 600,000 tomato seeds went to the International Space Station and were then grown in classrooms in Canada as an experiment
Side Effects of Tomatoes for Gerbils
As we have seen, tomatoes can be great for your pet’s health, but as with many foods, tomatoes can have side effects if fed in the wrong way. Check out the following risks that could affect your gerbil if he eats tomatoes in excess.
This does not happen to gerbils often and is usually a sign of a dangerous disease known as Tyzzer’s disease. However, in some instances, gerbils can experience diarrhea if they eat an item in excess. This usually results from foods recently introduced or watery food items such as vegetables or fruits.
Gerbils may also experience other digestive issues such as an upset stomach which can cause distress. While they should have a varied diet, it’s best to be careful about what they eat. Tomato on its own is not harmful to gerbils, but if eaten in excess, it can lead to digestive problems.
One thing to note is that gerbils have sensitive mouths. Tomatoes are acidic plants, so it can lead to sensitivity and even pain if your gerbils either eats too many tomatoes or eats them too often. If you notice any form of distress in your pet, stop feeding tomatoes immediately.
Can Gerbils Eat Other Tomato Parts?
You might be wondering if gerbils can eat and enjoy the other parts of a tomato. Humans like to experiment and try new things, but not everything is safe for animals.
Gerbils should not eat tomato leaves, roots, and stems because they contain tomatine, an alkaloid that can be mildly toxic to humans. Some sources say that it is safe to consume, while others mention that these parts are too dangerous to eat.
However, people do eat these items without effect, but I personally would not take the chance with a pet, especially a small one like a gerbil. For this one, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Can Gerbils Eat Tomatoes?
Gerbils can eat tomatoes to a small extent and in very small amounts. It is better to avoid this food simply because it’s very watery and acidic. However, gerbils do eat it in tiny quantities with no effect. It’s a nice treat to add to your pet’s diet occasionally. However, feed your pet his pellet mix regularly along with other healthy fruits and veggies.