Do Hamsters Eat Ants?

Keeping a hamster as a pet is becoming more and more popular due to being a cheap, small, and easy to care for pet. With their steady growth in popularity, we have noticed more and more people reaching out with different questions about caring for their pet hamster with many beginners to keeping a hamster wanting advice. One question that may sound strange but we have seen people asking over and over again is if hamsters eat ants or not.

Some hamsters will eat ants where as others will not, there doesn’t seem to be any set rules specific to all hamsters when it comes to eating ants and the personality of the hamster will come into play. If the ants are biting or nipping your pet hamster then this does seem to increase the chance of your hamster eating the ants in its cage as a way to defend itself.

We would never recommend that you intentionally add ants to your hamster’s cage as a food source though. Not only can some ants bite your hamster with some ants having a very strong bite but many ants can have been in areas where herbicides and pesticides have been sprayed due to farming crops. This presents a toxicity risk to your hamster if your hamster if it does end up eating ants with these chemicals sprayed on them.

Are Ants Harmful To Hamsters?

Ants tend not to be harmful to hamsters in most cases as the ants are too busy looking for food to care about your pet hamster. In some cases, ants may take to biting or nipping your pet hamster though and some species of ant really can have a painful bite that not only hurts your hamster when bitten but may get worse if infection takes hold too.

Both carpenter ants and red harvester ants are venomous too so in addition to the potential pain from the initial bite, you also have to factor in that the venom from the ant biting your hamster may result in residual pain too. Thankfully, due to the pain of their bite, the majority of people in areas where carpenter ants and red harvester ants live will take precautions to keep the ants out of their home in general so it is rare that they will be close to your pet hamster anyway.

As we touched on earlier in the article, some species of ants can be sprayed with various pesticides and herbicides and live without issue. If your hamster eats an ant in its cage that has these chemicals on it then it may cause various problems with your hamster ranging from light vomiting to potentially serious health problems.

Do Hamsters Eat Ants?

It is rare that a hamster will pay much attention to an ant in its cage never mind try to actually eat the ant so it is very rare that you will end up having any problems with your hamster’s health due to eating ants. In some rare cases, if the ants are biting your pet hamster then it may retaliate by eating them but this will usually be due to the hamster trying to bite them out of its fur to stop them from biting it.

Now, this is not set in stone as hamsters are omnivores with some species of hamsters often being closer to an insectivore diet with insects making up a huge portion of their food. This is usually the smaller hamster species so if you do have one of these then the chances of your hamster actively trying to eat any ants that it finds in its cage may increase but even in this situation, this is not common.

This is usually due to domesticated hamsters having been raised on commercial hamster food products so they are used to eating the food that their keepers give them. On top of this, most domesticated hamsters have never actually eaten live food before so it can be common for a hamster to actually be scared of any insects that end up in their cage due to not being used to eating something that is moving.

How Do I Get Rid Of Ants In My Hamster Cage?

We would never recommend that you use a chemical pesticide to remove the ants from your pet hamster’s cage as they may cause respiratory problems if your hamster breathes the chemicals in. You can usually remove an ant infestation in your hamster’s cage by washing the cage with warm soapy water while keeping your hamster in a temporary container until its cage is safe.

You can often manually remove ants in your hamster’s cage though as it is rare that a large number of ants will actually end up in the cage. Due to most hamster foods being dry it is rare that ants will raid your hamster’s cage for the food your hamster has too helping to reduce the chances of you having problems with a large number of ants getting into your pet hamsters cage.

If you do not do regular cleaning on your hamster’s cage then the chances of ants and other insects being attracted to the old food and waste in the cage start to drastically increase. This is why we would recommend that you clean your hamster’s cage at least once per week to reduce the chances of ants being attracted to the cage as we are firm believers in prevention being better than cure, especially when it comes to ants being in your hamster’s cage.

Conclusion

That brings our article going over if hamsters eat ants or not to an end and we hope that we have been able to help you. People often let their mind jump to their pet hamster being bitten by a venomous ant species but this is very rare. Although there are a number of ant species that will have a very strong bite, most don’t and the chances of an ant paying your pet hamster much attention is minimal anyway further reducing the chances of your hamster being bitten.