Tomatoes are a delicious and healthy food that can be found in cuisines all over the world. Since they are so healthy, you might consider feeding tomatoes to your gerbils.
Tomatoes are not suitable as a regular food for gerbils, but in moderation, they are fine. They contain the right balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates for gerbils. They also contain a wide range of nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin A, copper, and potassium. Unfortunately, their acidity and water content can cause diarrhea in gerbils.
It would be best to serve your gerbils tomatoes no more than once a week and only as part of a meal. Gerbils do not need a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Can Gerbils Eat Tomatoes?
Gerbils can eat small amounts of tomatoes without harm.
Tomatoes are considered vegetables in the kitchen but are actually a fruit. Gerbils can safely eat many common types of fruit and vegetables.
This applies to the skin, flesh, and seeds of tomatoes. There is nothing in a tomato that could harm your gerbils.
However, if your gerbils eat too many tomatoes, they could become ill due to the acid content.
Do Gerbils Like Tomatoes?
Most gerbils like fruit and vegetables. They are watery, and gerbils like that because they like to eat watery food in the wild.
Wild gerbils have few water sources, so they rely on water from their food sources instead.
Tomatoes also offer an interesting texture when eaten. They can be firm and crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.
Gerbils like crunchy food, and crunchy food is suitable for their teeth. They enjoy nibbling on it.
Can Gerbils Eat Roma Tomatoes?
Roma tomatoes are slightly smaller and more oval in shape than the usual salad tomatoes. They have hard, thick skin and are well-suited to industrial production.
Gerbils can eat Roma tomatoes. Because of the thicker skin, you might think that it is more difficult for gerbils to eat them.
But gerbils like food with thick, rough, or fibrous skin. They are ideal for nibbling.
Can Gerbils Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are tastier than Roma tomatoes. They have a brighter red color, hence the name cherry tomatoes. They also have a more tomato-like round shape than Roma tomatoes.
Gerbils can eat cherry tomatoes without any problems. They can be a little more watery and have more seeds than Roma tomatoes.
But gerbils don’t mind this because it gives cherry tomatoes more variety in taste and texture. They also have thinner skin, which is not a problem for your gerbils.
Can Gerbils Eat Cooked Tomatoes?
Tomatoes can be prepared in different ways. Whether your pets can eat cooked tomatoes does not depend on the variety or cooking time of the tomato. It depends on how it was cooked.
Cooking can change the flavor, texture, and nutritional profile of foods.
The most crucial change is when food is cooked in oil. The food absorbs some of the oil or retains some as a coating. This makes the food higher in calories.
This also changes the macronutrient balance, i.e., the ratio between carbohydrates, fat, and protein in the food.
Gerbils need a certain amount of everything. It is not good if they get too much fat from oil. So, if the tomato has been cooked in oil, you should not feed it to your animals.
However, you can feed roasted tomatoes to your gerbils. At least as long as they are roasted with a minimum of oil or without any oil at all. The less oil, the better.
Sun-dried tomatoes are also acceptable in small quantities because they are dried rather than cooked.
Can Gerbils Eat Green Or Yellow Tomatoes?
With green or yellow tomatoes, it all depends on why they are that color.
Some green tomatoes are a separate variety, while others are unripe red tomatoes. Yellow and orange tomatoes are tomatoes that are gradually approaching full ripeness.
Gerbils should only eat ripe tomatoes. So, if the green or yellow color is typical of the tomato variety, they may eat the ripe tomatoes.
However, if they are unripe red tomatoes, you should not give them to your gerbils, as they may still contain the weak poison tomatidine.
Are gerbils allowed to eat tomato greens and tomato leaves?
Tomatoes and tomato leaves are slightly poisonous due to the tomatidine they contain. Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, which often produce toxins.
In principle, all green parts of the tomato plant are unsuitable food. They can cause nausea due to the tomatidine they contain. The green parts are, therefore, not suitable for gerbils.
Are Tomatoes Healthy for Gerbils?
Tomatoes are healthy for gerbils in moderation. Here is a table with the calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins contained in tomatoes:
|Nutrient||Amount per 100g|
The high water content of tomatoes is striking. As with most vegetables, the main component is water.
This may or may not be a problem depending on how much you feed. However, gerbils like vegetables with a high water content, so this won’t stop your animals from eating tomatoes.
How Many Calories Do Tomatoes Have?
Tomatoes, like most fruits and vegetables, have very few calories. They only contain 16 calories per 100g.
This is both good and bad. It means you can feed them to your gerbils without them getting fat.
There are many fattening snacks for gerbils, so it’s good that the tomato isn’t one of them.
But it’s good for gerbils to get more calories than the few in tomatoes. If a gerbil only ate tomatoes, it would have to eat far too much of them.
Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates in Tomatoes
Tomatoes have about the right ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Although they consist mainly of water and therefore contain very little of it, the ratio between the individual components is important.
Gerbils should get about 80 % of their calories from carbohydrates, 15 % from protein, and 5 % from fat. This is the optimal diet, as determined in scientific studies.
Optimal means that the gerbil will grow to its full potential size if fed this diet from an early age.
Tomatoes have a similar ratio to this optimal gerbil food. The calories come from:
- 71% carbohydrates
- 10% fats
- 17 % proteins
10% fat is in the approximate range suitable for gerbils, so your gerbils will not gain excessive weight.
However, these percentages will change when the tomatoes are cooked, as cooking can destroy or convert any of these components. But for raw tomatoes, these numbers hold true.
Vitamins and Minerals in Tomatoes
As a type of fruit, tomatoes contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Here is a table showing what tomatoes contain in large quantities and how much of each element they have:
|Vitamin / Mineral||Amount per 100 g|
|Vitamin A||75 µg|
|Vitamin B6||0.06 mg|
|Vitamin C||16 mg|
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, tomatoes contain many more, albeit in smaller quantities. Tomatoes also contain
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Thiamine (vitamin B1)
This is an impressive array of micronutrients in a tiny fruit. It certainly makes them better than unhealthy snacks like processed human foods.
It’s also much better than many other fruits and vegetables with a more limited range of vitamins and minerals.
The only thing tomatoes lack is magnesium. Magnesium is needed for good brain health.
When magnesium is present in sufficient quantities, it prevents seizures, which you may have already observed in your gerbils.
This means your gerbils will need to get their magnesium in sufficient quantities from elsewhere.
Side Effects of Tomatoes for Gerbils
Tomatoes are not harmful, provided they are eaten in small quantities. However, if a gerbil eats too many tomatoes, it can develop diarrhea.
There are two reasons why this effect occurs. The first is that tomatoes contain a lot of water. Diarrhea in gerbils is often the result of too much watery food.
You should, therefore, not give tomatoes together with other watery fruit and vegetables such as cucumbers.
The second reason why tomatoes can cause this problem is because they are acidic. Excess acid in food upsets the balance of stomach acid so much that it can damage the intestines.
It can also cause heartburn. Because it is too acidic, the body excretes it as quickly as possible, leading to diarrhea.
And if you only fed your gerbil tomatoes, they wouldn’t get all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Gerbils need a varied diet with fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and lots of micronutrients.
In addition, diarrhea leads to weight loss over time. This is because the gerbil’s body cannot absorb all the nutrients it eats.
How Much Tomato Can Gerbils Eat?
Gerbils should only eat tomatoes as a rare snack. Although tomatoes are healthier than other snacks, they should still only be given in moderation because of the side effects.
The amount you should give your gerbils as a snack is small.
A gerbil only needs about 15 grams of food per day. Offering this only in the form of tomatoes would mean that your gerbils are not getting enough nutrients.
Therefore, 5 grams of tomato is entirely sufficient. The rest should be your gerbils’ regular food.
Vary the snacks you give your gerbils. Instead of tomatoes, you can also give them apples, bananas, or carrots as a snack.
How Often Can Gerbils Eat Tomatoes?
Many people eat snacks all the time. However, snacks should actually only be on the menu rarely. Otherwise, weight gain or nutrient deficiencies can occur.
You should follow the same approach when feeding your gerbils. It is sufficient to give your gerbils a snack just once a week.
If you do this more often, there is a risk of side effects. So limit yourself to the frequency and quantity described here to achieve the best effect.
Although a varied diet is usually best, you should not experiment with your pet’s diet.
You can buy gerbil food mixes that contain everything your animals need. You can feed this mixture to your animals daily for the rest of their lives, and they will live healthily on it.
In addition, gerbils never get bored with their food. We crave variety because we do things for pleasure that many animals do not.
Your gerbils can be satisfied with their gerbil food mix their entire lives without ever eating anything else.
Nevertheless, a little variety now and then won’t harm them. Gerbils are curious animals, and finding a change now and then can also be a form of entertainment for them.