Can gerbils eat apples? apple skin, seeds, and sauce

Can gerbils eat apples

Apples are a very popular fruit you can find in every home, and it’s a fruit often associated with baby food, animals and it’s reputed for being healthy; one apple a day keeps the doctor away but is this applicable to gerbils, so obviously, all gerbil owners are asking the same question: can gerbils eat apples?

The answer is yes gerbils can eat apples and they love it for the unique taste and strong appealing smell. However, gerbils can only eat apples as a supplement to their natural diet but not as a primary ingredient. Apples and other fruits and vegetables are good for gerbils they help balance their daily need of nutrients, but it can only be given in reasonable quantities and once a week at most in a cycle with other fruits and vegetables.

Apples are great for gerbils and it’s an abundant fruit you can find anywhere in the world and it’s cheap. So they make great treats and gerbil food, but how much can you give your gerbil? What types of apples are best for gerbils? and what parts of apples can gerbils eat? These are the questions we’re going to answer next.

It’s important to look for healthy treats to balance your gerbil’s nutrition,but not as important as choosing the best food for his main diet.

We recommend the Oxbow Garden Select Fortified Food for Gerbils (check current price at Amazon), it’s made of natural ingredients and in the form of pellets which are perfect for picky gerbils.

Can gerbils eat all types of apples

Apples are not all the same, some are richer than others in antioxidants and other nutrients, which makes them healthier.

However, all apple types are good for gerbils and provide balance to their diet by compensating for the missing nutrients gerbils don’t get in their seed mix.

Of course, just like other fruits like bananas, apples should be fed to gerbils in small portions, and it should not be every day, but it’s preferable to use multiple fruits and vegetables to balance the level of nutrients each fruit contains;

The best and healthiest apple varieties

All apples contain similar nutrients but the percentage varies from one type to another making some varieties much more beneficial and less dangerous for your gerbil.

Can gerbils eat apples
infographic by myfitnesspal blog

All types of apples have good nutrients for gerbils but it is always best no matter the variety of apples to pick fresh ones because they are still rich in nutrients and are much better than stored ones.

The six varieties in the infographic are the best for gerbils but other varieties will be also great just not as nutritious as these ones.

Can gerbils eat other apple parts

Some fruits like apples have multiple parts that we can feed our animals, like seeds and the skin (that even we enjoy), but it depends on each animal and what he’s diet like.

Can gerbils eat apples seeds

We all know that gerbils feed primarily on seeds especially in the wild but one should ask if they can eat all kinds of seeds before he starts feeding his gerbil anything.

Many fruit seeds are edible and great for humans and animals but others are less enjoyable and could even be poisonous and apples are labeled poisonous and never given to animals.

People avoid apple seeds mostly for the bitter taste but we can occasionally eat some seeds by accident or in a juice and we’ve never heard of apple seeds poisoning so why are apple seeds labeled poisonous and never fed to animals.

Let’s see what science has to say about it:

Apples contain plenty of healthful compounds, including antioxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber.

Apple seeds, however, contain a plant compound called amygdalin, which can have a toxic effect.

Amygdalin is a part of the seeds’ chemical defenses. It is harmless when a seed is intact, but when a seed is chewed or otherwise damaged, the amygdalin degrades into hydrogen cyanide. This is very poisonous and even lethal in high doses.

Amygdalin exists in relatively high amounts in the seeds of fruits in the Rosaceae family, which includes apples, almonds, apricots, peaches, and cherries.

Medical news today

So apple seeds are in fact poisonous, but for a human, it takes about 100 – 300 seeds to be fatal. On the other hand for gerbils, a couple of seeds could be very dangerous. So gerbils can not eat apple seeds.

Can gerbils eat apples skin

Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients and the skin is full of these nutrients, sadly most of it just goes to waste.

A raw apple with skin contains up to 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C, 20% more calcium and up to 19% more potassium than a peeled apple.

However, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group apples are the fifth most contaminated fruit and vegetables in their ‘Dirty Dozen’ list.

Apple skin is really healthy but it’s also the most contaminated part with pesticides and chemicals, so gerbils can eat apple skin but only if washed thoroughly and we recommend against feeding your gerbil apple skin only, but a small portion of apple with the skin on this way he can benefit all the nutrients of an apple with minimum risk.

Can gerbils eat apples wood and bark

Apple bark is one of most favorite tree barks to rodents and other animals, it smells great and tastes good and the younger the wood the better it tastes.

Sadly, most commercially grown apples are heavily treated with chemicals even the bark is sprayed to keep rodents away.

So yes gerbils can eat apple wood and bark but we advise against it unless you have access to bio grown trees.

Can gerbils eat apples leaves

Just like the apple bark, the leaves are also treated heavily with chemicals, but if you have a tree in your backyard then it is not a problem.

Gerbils can eat bio grown apple’s tree leaves but you have to pick fresh leaves that are healthy and showing no signs of mold.

The fact that gerbils can eat apple leaves doesn’t mean they should, there are far more nutritious vegetables and fruits you can give your gerbil.

Ways gerbils can eat apples

There are multiple ways a gerbil can eat an apple, in general gerbils like apples in any form, and wouldn’t mind any form of apple you have available at home.

Fresh apple flesh

This is the obvious way a gerbil can eat an apple, as we said earlier it is better to feed him a portion with its skin still on but after thoroughly washing it.

Make sure you only give your gerbil a reasonable portion, just enough to complement his diet.

Gerbils are cute when playing with an apple but that doesn’t mean you can leave an apple in their tank and leave. Apples and fruits are sweeter than the seed mix gerbils feed on and they’ll keep eating the apple which is not good for their health.

Cooked apple

Cooked apples are also a good way to feed apples to your gerbil however, they need to be cooked alone with no other added ingredients that could be harmful to your gerbil.

Fresh apples are richer in nutrients therefore, it would be best if you feed your gerbil a fresh apple rather than a cooked one unless you have some cooked apple parts leftover then it’s ok to use it.

Dried apples

Dried apples are nice and taste great, if you get them in the market you need to inspect the ingredients since most of them are baked with other ingredients and conservatives your gerbil should not eat.

If you make them at home then it’s ok to feed your gerbil dried apple rings but be careful that dried fruits have a more sugar concentration because the main component is water and when dried it leaves more sugar per weight.

Apple sauce

Apple sauce is another good way to feed your gerbil apples but again just like dried apples the sauce is often sweeter than the fresh apple.

Commercially produced apple sauce has artificial sweeteners and conservatives so you better avoid giving it to your gerbil.

Can baby gerbils eat Apples

Baby gerbils grow up fast enough to start eating adult food at the age of three weeks and go for permanent adult food at the age of five weeks.

Most baby gerbils sold by breeders and at stores are old enough to eat regular adult food it’s those born in captivity that need special care.

It is preferable when you buy baby gerbils or even adults to get some of the food the breeder or the pet store is feeding them, a sudden change in the gerbil’s diet could disturb their digestif system.

It is normal for young gerbils to lose weight when taken to a new home, they are sensitive to change in their environment that’s why it’s better to get at least two gerbils together.

Gerbils from birth to two weeks old

Baby gerbils from birth to two weeks old feed exclusively on their mom’s milk and can’t handle any other form of food.

At this young age, they still don’t have any teeth to gnaw on food.

Gerbils From Two Weeks To four weeks Old

At this age, gerbils start to mouth and grew their tiny teeth which makes them able to gnaw on regular gerbil food and can get fruits like apples.

However, under four weeks old baby gerbils are still dependent on their mothers and would feed on their milk when they get the chance, that’s why they should not be separated from their mothers.

Gerbils at five weeks and older

At five months old baby gerbils are weaned and their teeth are grown and they can feed on regular adult food permanently.

It is at this age that baby gerbils can have access to other fruits and vegetables like apples of course in reasonable portions.

How much apple can gerbils eat

In the wild gerbils don’t feed on apples and other fruits, but only get to eat some occasionally to suffice their need in nutrients they can’t get in the seeds they feed on.

That’s why apples and other fruits are only used as supplements to their seed mix, and therefore should only be given in small quantities.

a small fragment of an apple is more than enough for a gerbil to get what he needs, and should not be given daily but you need to diversify the fruits and vegetables you give your gerbil.

The gerbil diet is based on seed mix, we recommend the Oxford Gerbil Food, it’s certainly not the cheapest but it’s good for gerbils. When given cheap seed mixes gerbils tend to get picky eat the ones they like and leave the rest. And that’s not good since they need all the seeds to get a balanced diet that you need to supplement with other fruits and vegetables.

Adult gerbils should be given about 10 grams of an apple once a day, while young (under six months) and nursing/pregnant gerbils could have up to double that amount.

Do gerbils like apples

Gerbils adore apples and can’t get enough of it, but it doesn’t mean they can get as much as they want.

They like the sweet taste of the apples and it’s fun watching gerbils nibbling on an apple.

Here is a fun video of two gerbils working on a whole apple and it’s hilarious.

Gerbils enjoying an apple

Are apples dangerous to gerbils

An apple a day will keep the vet away, yeah that’s not 100% true but apples are considered to be healthy fruits for both humans and gerbils.

However, apples are heavily treated with pesticides and chemicals making them really dangerous to eat if not washed perfectly.

Residues of pesticides are often found in apples that are commercially grown.

The following table shows the pesticide residues found in apples and their level of toxicity and the results are alarming.

What Pesticide?How Often is it FoundToxicity level
Diphenylamine (DPA)82.8%
Carbendazim (MBC)17.3%
Tetrahydrophthalimide (THPI)16.7%
Azinphos methyl9.2%
Endosulfan II8.1%
Endosulfan I4.3%
Endosulfan sulfate1.9%
Cyhalothrin, Total 1.1%
Permethrin cis0.3%
Esfenvalerate+Fenvalerate Total0.1%
Methoxychlor olefin0.1%
Dicofol p,p’0.1%
Permethrin trans0.1%

One would think twice before eating an apple but thankfully most of these residues are washed away when cleaning the apple.

The numbers shown in the table above are the reason why we recommend that gerbils only eat a small portion of the skin because 90% of the pesticides traces are found in the skin

All in all, apples are much more healthy than dangerous for your gerbils long as you wash it before feeding it to him.

The nutrients found in apples are too important to overlook, keep in mind that the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables outweigh any potential pesticide risks, and should not deter one from including apples as part of a healthful diet.

Apples nutrition facts

Apples are high in polyphenols potassium protein calcium iron dietary fiber and vitamins A and C and many other nutrients that are great for your gerbil.

And for you, food data geeks down below is a complete nutrients table for more details.

In-Depth Nutritional Profile
Apple, fresh
1.00 medium
(182.00 g)
GI: low
Protein0.47 g1
Carbohydrates25.13 g11
Fat – total0.31 g0
Dietary Fiber4.37 g16
Starch— g
Total Sugars18.91 g
Monosaccharides15.15 g
Fructose10.72 g
Glucose4.42 g
Galactose0.00 g
Disaccharides3.76 g
Lactose0.00 g
Maltose0.00 g
Sucrose3.76 g
Soluble Fiber0.44 g
Insoluble Fiber3.93 g
Other Carbohydrates1.86 g
Monounsaturated Fat0.01 g
Polyunsaturated Fat0.09 g
Saturated Fat0.05 g
Trans Fat0.00 g
Calories from Fat2.78
Calories from Saturated Fat0.46
Calories from Trans Fat0.00
Cholesterol0.00 mg
Water155.72 g
Water-Soluble Vitamins
B-Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B10.03 mg3
Vitamin B20.05 mg4
Vitamin B30.17 mg1
Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents)0.20 mg
Vitamin B60.07 mg4
Vitamin B120.00 mcg0
Biotin2.27 mcg8
Choline6.19 mg1
Folate5.46 mcg1
Folate (DFE)5.46 mcg
Folate (food)5.46 mcg
Pantothenic Acid0.11 mg2
Vitamin C8.37 mg11
Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids)
Vitamin A International Units (IU)98.28 IU
Vitamin A mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE)4.91 mcg (RAE)1
Vitamin A mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)9.83 mcg (RE)
Retinol mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)0.00 mcg (RE)
Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)9.83 mcg (RE)
Alpha-Carotene0.00 mcg
Beta-Carotene49.14 mcg
Beta-Carotene Equivalents59.15 mcg
Cryptoxanthin20.02 mcg
Lutein and Zeaxanthin52.78 mcg
Lycopene0.00 mcg
Vitamin D
Vitamin D International Units (IU)0.00 IU0
Vitamin D mcg0.00 mcg
Vitamin E
Vitamin E mg Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE)0.33 mg (ATE)2
Vitamin E International Units (IU)0.49 IU
Vitamin E mg0.33 mg
Vitamin K4.00 mcg4
Boron497.21 mcg
Calcium10.92 mg1
Chloride— mg
Chromium1.69 mcg5
Copper0.05 mg6
Fluoride0.01 mg0
Iodine— mcg
Iron0.22 mg1
Magnesium9.10 mg2
Manganese0.06 mg3
Molybdenum— mcg
Phosphorus20.02 mg3
Potassium194.74 mg4
Selenium0.00 mcg0
Sodium1.82 mg0
Zinc0.07 mg1
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.02 g1
Omega-6 Fatty Acids0.08 g
Monounsaturated Fats
14:1 Myristoleic0.00 g
15:1 Pentadecenoic0.00 g
16:1 Palmitol0.00 g
17:1 Heptadecenoic0.00 g
18:1 Oleic0.01 g
20:1 Eicosenoic0.00 g
22:1 Erucic0.00 g
24:1 Nervonic0.00 g
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
18:2 Linoleic0.08 g
18:2 Conjugated Linoleic (CLA)— g
18:3 Linolenic0.02 g
18:4 Stearidonic0.00 g
20:3 Eicosatrienoic0.00 g
20:4 Arachidonic0.00 g
20:5 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)0.00 g
22:5 Docosapentaenoic (DPA)0.00 g
22:6 Docosahexaenoic (DHA)0.00 g
Saturated Fatty Acids
4:0 Butyric0.00 g
6:0 Caproic0.00 g
8:0 Caprylic0.00 g
10:0 Capric0.00 g
12:0 Lauric0.00 g
14:0 Myristic0.00 g
15:0 Pentadecanoic0.00 g
16:0 Palmitic0.04 g
17:0 Margaric0.00 g
18:0 Stearic0.01 g
20:0 Arachidic0.00 g
22:0 Behenate0.00 g
24:0 Lignoceric0.00 g
Alanine0.02 g
Arginine0.01 g
Aspartic Acid0.13 g
Cysteine0.00 g
Glutamic Acid0.05 g
Glycine0.02 g
Histidine0.01 g
Isoleucine0.01 g
Leucine0.02 g
Lysine0.02 g
Methionine0.00 g
Phenylalanine0.01 g
Proline0.01 g
Serine0.02 g
Threonine0.01 g
Tryptophan0.00 g
Tyrosine0.00 g
Valine0.02 g
Ash0.35 g
Organic Acids (Total)— g
Acetic Acid— g
Citric Acid— g
Lactic Acid— g
Malic Acid— g
Taurine— g
Sugar Alcohols (Total)— g
Glycerol— g
Inositol— g
Mannitol— g
Sorbitol— g
Xylitol— g
Artificial Sweeteners (Total)— mg
Aspartame— mg
Saccharin— mg
Alcohol0.00 g
Caffeine0.00 mg
Study by WH-FOODS

Final verdict

  • Gerbils can eat apples, in fact, they can eat all types of apples without any danger.
  • Gerbils should be fed apples in small portions not to disturb their diet.
  • apples are not a substitute to the gerbils primarily diet and can only be used as a supplement to provide other nutrients their diet could lack.
  • The vegetables and fruits given as supplements should be diversified for a more balanced diet.
  • Gerbils don’t feed on apples in the wild, so they can’t be given apples every day.
  • Baby gerbils can have apples and adult food starting from the second week and permanently from the fifth week.
  • Gerbils can eat apples in different ways if the nutrients portion is taken into consideration.