Hamsters love to eat just about anything and everything they can get their little paws on, including their pellets, fruits, vegetables, their cage and more. But spiders?
Surprisingly enough, some hamsters will eat spiders if an arachnid aimlessly wanders into their cage. But there’s a lot more to know about hamsters eating spiders, which we’re going to cover in this article.
Everything form whether hamsters should eat spiders, the harm these 8 legged arachnids pose to your furry friend, and more.
So if you’ve seen your hamster eat a spider or just wondering about the effects of nibbling on 8 legs, keep reading to learn more.
First, let’s jump right into our first section on whether or not hamsters can safely eat spiders.
Can Hamsters Eat Spiders?
No, hamsters should not eat spiders and you should try to prevent it from happening because of the harm that can befall your furry friend.
Just as spiders can be harmful to humans, the same applies to small animals, such as hamsters. While not all spiders are poisonous, some are and those ones can be fatal to hamsters when eaten.
But the catch is that hamster’s don’t really know that and so they’ll eat spiders all day if given the opportunity. That’s why it’s your responsibility to keep spiders out of their cage and away from the chompers of your little friend.
Not to mention that spiders aren’t a part of a well-balanced diet for your hamster, which means spiders can cause digestive and other issues that you may not expect. Not just spiders, but hamsters shouldn’t be eating marshmallows either.
And because a hamster’s digestive system is so delicate, it’s important to avoid anything that may cause issues.
So if you see a spider in your hamster’s cage or wandering around your home, relocate it outside and away from your hamster. That will prevent any issues that may warrant a trip to the veterinarian, which can cost anywhere from $25 to $300.
Can Spiders Harm Hamsters?
Yes, spiders can absolutely harm small animals, such as hamsters, which is why you should try to prevent your hamster from eating them.
Unfortunately for owners, most hamsters don’t exhibit the same type of fear of spiders that people do. That means your hamster may walk right up to the spider, play with it, then consume it without a second thought.
The lack of fear makes it even more dangerous, especially since hamsters don’t know spiders can be harmful. That’s why it’s so important to prevent spiders from reaching your hamster’s cage in the first place, which we’ll cover in a section below.
Not all hamsters are fearless though and some will get scared or spooked (even by loud noises), which can exhibit stress or anxiety, and we’ve written a lot about how those physical manifestations can shorten your hamster’s lifespan.
Ultimately, there are a few ways that spiders can harm your hamster, so let’s talk about those now.
Why Your Hamster Shouldn’t Eat Spiders
So it’s confirmed that your hamster shouldn’t eat spiders and we’ve briefly touched on the topics of poison and spiders just not being present on a hamster food pyramid.
Let’s cover those and others in a bit more depth to give you the necessary context. First is biting.
Spiders do bite and they have sharp fangs that often come with a side of poison. And if curious, hungry, frightened or threatened, a spider may bite your hamster in an attempt to scare it off or subdue it.
And those bites can hurt! And cause physical pain in your furry friend, potentially resulting in the transfer of toxic poison too, which we’ll cover in the next section.
Everyone knows that spiders can bite and we try to avoid them, but that’s not always the case for hamsters. Maybe your hamster has never encountered a spider and hamsters are notoriously curious.
And then biting can lead to toxic poisoning, which we’ll talk about now.
Some, but not all spiders are poisonous. And if you could allow the non-poisonous spiders in your hamster’s cage and keep out the poisonous ones, that would go a long way in keeping your hamster safe.
Unfortunately, that’s just not possible and as a result it’s just better to keep all spiders out of your hamster’s cage to keep them safe.
Here is a list of the most poisonous spiders, so if you have these in your area, take extra precautions to keep your arachnids away from your hamster:
|Yellow sac spider|
|Funnel web spider|
|Funnel web wolf spider|
Scaring Your Hamster
Finally, while not as potentially fatal as a spider’s bite or poisoning, your hamster may actually be frightened of spiders, which can lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety.
While most hamsters probably don’t regularly see spiders, maybe your hamster has encountered and been bitten by a spider in the past? And seeing one now causes it to get scared and try to run away.
They may hurt themselves while trying to escape or just exhibit much higher levels of stress, while stuck in their cage. Unlike most people who can run away from spiders, a hamster is enclosed in their cage. And what’s sadder than your hamster stuck in their cage trying to get away from a spider?
So if you’re not worried about your hamster getting sick from consuming a spider, at least think of their feelings and keep those spiders away.
Will a Hamster Get Sick From Eating a Spider?
So far we’ve talked mostly about your hamster getting bit or poisoned by a spider’s bite, but haven’t covered sickness in too much depth. While biting and poison are top of mind and reason enough to keep your hamster away from spiders, sickness is a solid reason as well.
Yes, hamsters can get sick from eating a spider because spiders carry parasites and bacteria that aren’t normal for a hamster’s digestive system.
Consuming a spider and the corresponding bacteria and parasites can lead to stomach pains, diarrhea, and other digestive issues, ultimately resulting in your hamster feeling sick and in pain. And it can cost $50 to $150 to treat wet tail in hamsters.
As a result, it’s best to keep your hamster away from spiders and consuming them.
If your hamsters did eat a spider and you start to notice odd or irregular behavior, such as lethargy, moving slow, diarrhea, not eating and drinking, or anything else that isn’t normal, consult with your veterinarian right away.
The sooner your vet can see, diagnose, and treat your furry friend after eating a spider, the more likely they will turn out to be just fine.
And while you may think it’s a bit of an overreaction to go through the steps to keep a spider away, if a black widow or brown recluse bits your furry friend, it may be fatal.
How to Prevent Your Hamster from Eating Spiders
So now that you know your hamster consuming spiders is not ideal, let’s talk about a few ways to keep those spiders away from your hamster’s enclosure.
One of the best steps you can take is keeping your hamster in an enclosed cage, typically made of plastic with little air holes on the top and sides of the cage. These holes are generally big enough to allow sufficient air flow, but small enough to keep spiders and other insects and bugs out.
The wire cages provide much more air flow, but the gaps in the cage are plenty big to allow small insects and arachnids free entry into the cage.
And since your hamster can’t escape, the only thing they can do is attack and potentially eat the spider or wait for it to leave.
As a result, if you live in a typically “spidery” area, you may want to go with a plastic, enclosed cage to keep spiders at bay.
Remove Spider Webs
The other thing you can do to keep spiders away is to regularly remove spider webs from your home. Since spider webs are the homes of spiders, the more webs around, the more spiders you’ll have.
While we don’t want to completely kill all spiders in your area because they are actually good for the environment and ecosystem, you may want to start with just removing spider webs inside and on your home around windows and doors.
It’s fine for spiders to live outside in peace, but you’ll want to remove any webs inside your home so your hamster can live in peace as well.
Diatomaceous earth is a white powder that is fatal to arachnids and other insects with exoskeletons, but completely safe and harmless for other animals and humans.
As a result, it’s perfect to keep spiders out of your home. You can sprinkle the diatomaceous earth near your doorways, window sills, and other entries into your homes to keep spiders out or kill them if they try to enter.
If you notice a lot of spiders and other insects in your home, diatomaceous earth is the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
So let’s talk about some other frequently asked questions when it comes to spiders and hamsters.
Can Hamsters Kill Spiders?
Yes, hamsters can absolutely kill spiders and they’re pretty good at it too. The main issue with this is if the spider is poisonous and bites your furry friend or if your hamster decides to eat the spider.
Both of those scenarios can result in your hamster getting sick or even dying, which is why it’s important to keep spiders away from your hamster.
Are Hamsters Omnivores?
Yes, hamster are omnivores meaning they eat both meat and plants. For the purposes of this article, spiders are considered meat, but hamsters also love snacking on fruits and vegetables.
Will Hamsters Eat Insects?
Yes, hamsters will eat insects, spiders, and really anything else they can get their paws on. But hamsters don’t know how insects and spiders can be detrimental to their health, which is why it’s important to keep your hamster on a well-balanced and healthy diet.
If you’re interested in reading more, check out the following related articles:
- What You Should Feed Your Hamster and What to Avoid – PawTracks
- Insects That Hamsters Can Eat – HamsterInfo
- Hamster Wiki – Wikipedia
And there you have it! In the sections above we outlined everything you need to know about hamsters and their consumption of those little 8 legged arachnids.
Just to recap, your hamster will probably try to eat a spider here and there, but you should try to prevent that to keep your furry friend from getting sick or even worse, poisoned.
There’s lots of ways to do that by keeping their cage enclosed, dusting for spider webs, and using diatomaceous earth around your doorways and window sills.