Why do hamsters eat their poop? -Hamsters might eat soft poop to obtain access to nutrients. If you see that hamsters eat their poop, it is only soft poop that they are eating.
As good as it sounds to have a hamster at home, these little creatures do a lot of nasty stuff that not every pet owner can tolerate. For example, some hamsters have the habit of eating their own poop. Gross? Well, it turns out the hamster is not the only animal with this weird poop eating habit.
Imagining someone eating their own poop is disgusting, let alone watching them do it. But, what if we tell you it’s totally normal for your little friend to eat poop? We will tell you why it is totally healthy for your hamster to eat poop and how it can be beneficial for their health.
It may sound gross initially but stick around to know why your hammy does that and whether it is safe.
Hamsters Eating their Own Poops
The carrots, fruits, and other veggies travel to the small intestine, where the essential nutrients from the food are absorbed. However, absorbing the cellulose from these plant-based foods is quite challenging for hamsters. It is the microbes that break down cellulose into small and digestible substances.
Rodents, including hamsters, have a bacteria in their digestive system called caecum that receives cellulose. This bacteria is between the small and the large intestine. It breaks down the cellulose and passes it to the large intestine, which is not made for absorbing nutrients from the food. As a result, your hamster excretes soft poop.
Your hammy eats this soft poop because it contains the nutrients their system cannot absorb from the plant-based food. Basically, there are two types of hamster poops – the night poop (softer one) and the regular dry droppings. If you have ever seen your hammy eating their own poop, it is most likely the soft poop.
Now, this night poop (also known as cecotropes) contains Vitamin B12. Surprisingly, the night poop is the only way for your hammy to get this vitamin. So, if we see it from the nutritional perspective, your hammy eating their own poop is actually healthy. They are able to give their body more nutrients this way.
The food containing vitamin B12 enters the small intestine, but it can only be absorbed by your body through the stomach. That’s why your little fur friend has to eat their poop to get the vitamin B12 back to the stomach.
Nutritional Value of the Hamster’s Poop
To put it in simple words, your hamster eats something to get nutrition from it. They eat the night poop to get more nutrients from the same food. It is the process of bringing the nutrients back to their stomach so they can absorb the best nutrients. This is really common in baby hamsters. If you have a small hammy, there is a very good chance they will eat their night droppings for two reasons.
One, they can’t distinguish between food and waste. Two, their bodies do not have the microbes to break down the food fully to absorb the vital nutrients. In fact, the hammy might eat their mother’s night poop to give their bodies the healthy nutrients that they don’t get from the whole plant-based foods.
Dry Poop and Night Poop – What’s the Difference?
You must have noticed dry poop in the hamster’s cage during cleaning. The dry or regular poops are hard. They look like small dry balls. Your hamster never eats it, though some pet owners say that they have this weird habit of storing the dry poop balls in their cheeks. The hamster never eats dry poop, as it doesn’t have any nutritional value. If you notice it, the dry poop is totally different from the night poop. The latter is soft and digestible.
Can You Change the Hamster’s Diet to Prevent Poop-Eating?
You can change their diets, but it will not keep them from eating poop. It is how they work. So, there’s nothing you can do to stop your hammy from eating their own poop. They need to digest and redigest certain foods to absorb the most nutrients from their meals. You can bring healthier and more nutritious food, but it won’t change your hammy’s habit.
Their digestive system cannot absorb the essential nutrients from plant-based foods (no matter how nutritious they are) at once. It is the one icky thing you have to handle if you own a hamster. And, it isn’t only the hamster that eats its own poop. Rabbits also eat soft poop to give their body the essential nutrients it needs to function well. You may also find the hamster’s poop almost everywhere. It is in their food, cage, bedding, and in the corners of your house. Cleaning can get a little tricky when you have a hamster and its dry and soft poop lying around everywhere.
This may sound odd, but that’s the easiest explanation to why your hamster eats their poop and how it benefits them. Hope you have understood why hamsters eat their own poop and how safe it is for them to do that.
Yes, it is safe for your hammy to eat poop because it contains vitamin B12 and other vitamins that can only be absorbed through the poop. So, if you ever see your hammy eating their own poop, there’s nothing to worry about. It is safe and, in fact, healthier for them.
Little hamsters are more likely to eat their own poop, but nearly every hamster has this habit. They find it easier to absorb the nutrients they couldn’t absorb while eating regular food.
No, it is part of their digestion process and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to prevent them from eating poop. You shouldn’t do that in the first place, since poop is considered healthy for your hamster.