Nuts are widely considered nutritious and contain a lot of energy, vitamins, and minerals. But gerbils should not normally eat human food, which could make them sick. Is the same true for gerbils and nuts?
Nuts are high-protein and high-fat snacks. Gerbils may occasionally eat peanuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia, and pine nuts. Raw peanuts contain a wide range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins. Raw peanut shells also make great chew toys.
Nuts contain a lot of protein and fat, so they should only be considered as an occasional healthy snack.
If you give your gerbils nuts regularly, such as every day, your gerbils will quickly become overweight.
Can Gerbils Eat Nuts?
Gerbils enjoy eating nuts both in captivity and in the wild. Nuts grow on trees and shrubs, but like peanuts, they can also grow underground.
They are nutrient-rich because they are a type of fruit, and the seeds in nuts need nutrients to grow into trees.
Gerbils, however, live in places where there aren’t many trees, so there aren’t many nuts.
However, they will take any nutrient-rich food they can find. Therefore, gerbils will also eat tiny insects if they have the opportunity.
The fact that some seeds are hard is not a problem for gerbils. Gerbils and all other rodents have strong teeth perfect for cracking open all kinds of things.
So, the shell of a nut is no problem for the strong-toothed gerbils.
Are Nuts Good for Gerbils?
Nuts are very rich in nutrients, which makes them an excellent food for gerbils.
They contain plenty of carbohydrates for energy. This helps your gerbil stay active throughout the day.
However, what makes nuts stand out is their fat and protein content. Think of the other things gerbils eat in the wild: Grains and plant roots, for example.
These foods make up most of a gerbil’s diet and are low in protein and fat. However, both are essential for good animal health.
Nuts also contain many minerals and vitamins that benefit the gerbil in general.
So nuts are a healthy snack for gerbils. However, if your gerbil were allowed to eat peanuts or sunflower seeds all day, it would quickly become fat from the excess fat it consumes.
While you don’t want a healthy gerbil to get fat, you can feed nuts to an underweight gerbil. This would help it build fat and muscle, and the gerbil would be healthier as a result.
Also, nuts are good for gerbils’ teeth. Gerbils have teeth that are constantly growing, like all rodents. They need to wear down their teeth, or they can cause injury.
Nuts often have a sturdy shell that can be cracked open and are relatively firm themselves.
What Nuts Can Gerbils Eat?
Nuts have a similar nutritional profile, so generally, all nuts are acceptable for gerbils. The only exception is if the nuts have been cooked, seasoned, glazed, or otherwise processed.
Can Gerbils Eat Peanuts?
Gerbils can eat peanuts even when they are still in their shells. They are actually the perfect gerbil snack.
First, the outer shell gives your gerbils something to gnaw on, which is good for their teeth.
Peanut shells make great chew toys because they are so fibrous and tough. They are also not harmful to your pets if they accidentally swallow some while chewing.
This means they are better than plastic chew toys that can cause internal injuries if swallowed.
If you don’t give your gerbils something to chew on, they will chew on things they shouldn’t, such as the bars of their cage.
You can kill two birds with one stone here. You offer something nutritious and, at the same time, something your gerbils can grind their teeth on.
By the way, peanuts are also nutritious. They are high in fat and protein and also contain:
- B vitamins
After eating, feel free to leave the shells in your gerbils’ enclosure for a while. They can continue to nibble on them for quite a while.
The only problem is if your gerbils have never eaten them before. They may not realize at first that the nuts are food because they are covered with an inedible shell.
So first, show your gerbils how to open them and that there is food inside.
Can Gerbils Eat Brazil Nuts?
Brazil nuts are much larger than most other nuts. They grow in large fruits, almost like oranges, with the nuts arranged like orange slices.
Brazil nuts are good food for gerbils because, like all nuts, they contain a lot of fat and protein.
They also contain many vitamins and minerals such as calcium, zinc, vitamin E, and some B vitamins. They also contain magnesium, which is suitable for gerbils.
Magnesium helps prevent seizures in gerbils. According to research, 20-50% of all gerbils suffer from seizures. Magnesium reduces the severity and frequency of these seizures.
That being said, Brazil nuts, like all nuts, should only be fed as an occasional snack. If you feed them to your gerbils, you should only feed one quarter or half nut per gerbil at a time.
Can Gerbils Eat Pistachios?
Pistachios are a green nut that belongs to the same family as the cashew. They are found in the wild in Central Asia and the Middle East.
They grow on trees like most nuts and have a hard shell. The shell is harder than that of peanuts.
Pistachios contain a lot of fat, which makes them a good food for underweight gerbils. They also make an excellent occasional snack.
Their health benefits come from their vitamin B6, potassium, iron, and magnesium content.
The shells of pistachios are much harder than those of peanuts. Therefore, in theory, they make excellent chew toys.
However, because they are harder, they can be dangerous to your gerbils if they accidentally swallow any.
This is because the harder, sharper parts of the shell could cause internal injuries. In contrast, peanut shells are tough and fibrous but not sharp.
So, if you feed your gerbils pistachios, you should not give them the shells.
Can Gerbils Eat Pine Nuts?
Pine nuts come from pine trees and are also known as pignoli or pignolias. These kernels have a different spectrum of nutrients than the other nuts on our list.
Other nuts contain large amounts of vitamins A, C, and D. In contrast, pine nuts have almost none. However, they contain a lot of iron and magnesium, which is also good.
If you know a little about gerbils, you may already know some gerbils are allergic to pine. This is because of the oils in the wood.
However, this allergy does not apply to pine cones. Pine cones do not contain the same aromatic oils as pine wood.
So pinecones are a good chew toy. And pine nuts are fine, too, since they are derived from pine cones.
An excellent way to feed gerbils pine nuts is to offer them pine cones.
You will need to harvest the cone before it opens. Then, please wait until it opens and let it dry for as long as it takes.
The pine cone should then be ready to eat. So, the pine cone serves as a long-term chew toy and food at the same time.
Can Gerbils Eat Pecans?
Pecans come from the pecan tree, a species of hickory. The pecan tree originates from the southern United States and Mexico.
However, pecans are eaten all over the world and are available in almost every store. They can be expensive, however.
However, pecans, like most other nuts, contain a lot of fat. They also have a lot of vitamin E, copper, and manganese, plus some magnesium.
Unfortunately, there are no studies on how much of these nutrients gerbils need. So it’s likely that your gerbil will need small amounts, but probably not much.
Another significant difference between pecans and most other nuts is their thin shells.
When pecans open on the tree, they look a bit like different-colored cashews. The shell falls off when the nuts are harvested.
Pecans are also quite soft compared to nuts like Brazil nuts or pistachios. They will not help your gerbil grind its teeth.
Pecans are not the healthiest nuts to feed your gerbils.
Can Gerbils Eat Macadamia Nuts?
Macadamia trees are only found in Australia. Locals have been consuming the nuts of the macadamia tree for thousands of years.
Today, they are exported worldwide and can fetch a high price. Their shells are known to be very hard.
Macadamia nuts are similar to pecans. They contain a lot of fat and some protein but not many minerals and vitamins.
They do contain a tiny amount of magnesium, which is beneficial. But other than that, they don’t contain much.
So there’s little reason to feed gerbils macadamia nuts, especially since peanuts are so much cheaper.
Can Gerbils Eat Almonds?
Almonds originated in Iran in the Middle East but are now grown worldwide. Their cultivation is very resource-intensive as they require a lot of water.
Almonds have a high fat and protein content, comparable to peanuts. However, like pecans, they contain a lot of copper and manganese, which is unfavorable for gerbils.
As for other minerals, they contain reasonable amounts of:
Almonds are an excellent gerbil food. The only drawback is their price and lack of shell. These are the only reasons why you should prefer peanuts over almonds.
Can Gerbils Eat Salted Nuts?
Most of the nuts you can buy in stores are salted. This means that the nuts are coated with a light layer of salt. The reason for this is that the salt brings out the flavor of the nuts.
However, it is not a good idea to feed gerbils salted nuts. They have a high salt content, even for humans.
So they contain way too much salt, which is unhealthy for gerbils. Excessive salt consumption can lead to several problems:
- Increased blood pressure: Too much salt increases the risk of heart disease, which gerbils are already prone to.
- Dehydration: When you consume too much salt, it accumulates in your body. The body needs more water to dilute it, which is why you get so thirsty. This can be a significant problem, as gerbils don’t drink much water.
- Other health problems: Aside from these problems, too much salt may lead to stroke and heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease. This is as true for gerbils as it is for humans.
Nuts contain minimal salt unless the salt is added. Unfortunately, almost all nuts you can buy in stores have salt added. So avoid feeding salted nuts to gerbils.
Can Gerbils Eat Flavored Nuts?
In addition to salted nuts, there are many nuts available in the supermarket that contain added flavors. Among the various flavors you may find are:
- All-purpose seasoning
These flavors may or may not be harmful to your gerbil, but they do change the nutrient profile in your gerbil’s food.
Flavored nuts are often cooked in oil or roasted. This adds even more fat to the food without providing any benefit.
That being said, it is generally a good idea to stick to foods that are not heavily processed.
The more natural something is, the more likely it is to be a good food for gerbils.
Can Gerbils Eat Roasted Nuts?
At first glance, there is nothing wrong with simply feeding a gerbil roasted nuts.
The roasting process itself does not significantly change the fat, carbohydrate or protein content in a given food.
However, there is a problem. Roasting foods significantly reduces their water content.
During cooking or roasting, the water inside the nut evaporates. This has both positive and negative effects.
On the one hand, it gives the nuts a crunchier texture. This makes them more pleasant to eat and is perfect for your gerbils’ teeth.
On the other hand, gerbils need to get their water from food.
Gerbils rarely drink and rely on the moisture in vegetables and similar foods. This is how they survive in the wild, where water sources are scarce.
Another problem is that roasted nuts are usually flavored in one way or another. It is rare to find roasted nuts not coated with a spice.
Therefore, it is better and easier to feed gerbils plain, raw nuts.
What Nuts Should You Feed Gerbils?
Peanuts are a good choice for gerbils. This is because each peanut is tiny, making it easy to keep portions small. Their shells make great chew toys, and they are available almost everywhere.
However, buy only the unsalted, unroasted variety.
However, be careful not to feed your gerbils too many nuts. They contain so much fat that eating too many nuts can become unhealthy for gerbils.
Overweight gerbils can develop several problems:
- Difficulty moving quickly and labored breathing.
- Increased blood pressure
- Heart failure or stroke as a result of high blood pressure.
Therefore, feed nuts to your gerbils only as an occasional snack along with the food mix.
The food mix for gerbils should contain all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that gerbils need.
Even if you feed your gerbils the same mix daily, it should be healthy and suitably formulated for gerbils.