Gerbils naturally feed on a variety of grass seeds, berries, nuts, and hay but as pets, their primary diet is seeds mix but to compensate for the missing nutrients they need we can occasionally feed them a variety of fruits and vegetables.
When choosing the best vegetables and fruits to feed your gerbil for a balanced diet you need to make sure they can actually eat it without affecting their sensitive digestive system.
Cucumber seems like a good choice since it’s known for being healthy and the crunchy texture ould make it perfect for gerbils who love to gnaw on crispy food.
So can gerbils eat cucumber? The answer is no cucumber is almost 95% water and gerbils are desert rats that are not used to consuming too much water, eating cucumber will most certainly cause them diarrhea.
Gerbils are used to dry and solid food like seeds, some water-based fruits and vegetables will do them more harm than good especially if consumed in large quantities like watermelons.
Consumption of small amounts of cucumber is fine as a treat once every few weeks and only if other water-rich foods aren’t consumed to complement their seed-based diet and the healthiest and safest seeds mix we recommend is the Oxbow Garden Select Fortified Food for Gerbils (check current price at Amazon).
Do gerbils eat cucumber in the wild?
Gerbils aka desert rats live in desert parts of the world, where water is so hard to find that the ecosystem and the animals living there have adapted to the environment.
Gerbils are built to consume as little water as possible, they do not pee a lot and their feces are very dry so their system will try and make the most of the little water it gets.
A water-based plant like the cucumber is the last thing that will grow in the desert, so consuming such a water-rich plant will overwhelm the gerbil’s digestive system and disturb it.
Gerbils in the wild feed on very dry seeds that contain little to no water and hay and some grass varieties that provide small amounts of water.
Do gerbils like cucumber?
Gerbils like the food they can gnaw on, so cucumber will not make an exception and if presented to gerbils they’ll consume it.
In general gerbils like all crunchy foods but if they have other alternatives like carrots they’d probably prefer other foods.
You should also note that each gerbil is different some might like some foods and others would not, but there are some fat-rich seeds that all gerbils seem to agree on.
Is cucumber safe for gerbils?
When given to gerbils in large quantities or frequently cucumber could lead to digestive disturbances, most commonly diarrhea, and potentially weight loss.
Any fruit that does not grow in the natural habitat of the gerbils should be checked before given to them especially one that contains too much water.
However, cucumber is not toxic itself and is not fatal even if given in large quantities, but it should be avoided anyway.
Nonetheless, Cucumbers are one of the fruits and vegetables that the Environmental Working Group has placed on its Dirty Dozen list, meaning the exposure to pesticide residue is high
Is cucumber good for gerbils?
“Cucumbers are naturally low in calories, carbohydrates, sodium, fat, and cholesterol, provide small amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and vitamin A”Megan Ware registered dietitian nutritionist in Orlando, Florida
If consumed as a treat every few weeks cucumber could be good for gerbils providing good nutrients and vitamins, but in the presence of safer and more nutritious alternatives is cucumber really worth it?
Can baby gerbils eat cucumber?
Baby gerbils can’t eat adult food until they’re about 3 weeks old when they start feeding on solid food along with their mom’s milk.
At this age, baby gerbils are still very fragile and they are weaned and considered adults at the age of 5 to 6 weeks anyway so avoiding cucumber and water-based fruits are the safest option.
Baby gerbils grow their fully developed teeth at the age of 19 days and can feed on other safe fruits and vegetables along with seeds and mom’s milk.
Cucumber nutrition facts
Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus and belong to the same botanical family as melons (including watermelon and cantaloupe).
Cucumbers provide a variety of health-supportive phytonutrients. Included among these phytonutrients are flavonoids (like apigenin, fisetin, kaempferol, luteolin, quercetin, and vicenin), lignans (pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and secoisolariciresinol), and triterpenes (cucurbitacins A, B, C, and D).
Cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin K and molybdenum. They are also a very good source of pantothenic acid. They are also a good source of copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, biotin, and vitamin B1.The world’s healthiest foods
|Cucumber, sliced, raw|
104.00 grams Calories: 16
|vitamin K||17.06 mcg||21.9|
|pantothenic acid||0.27 mg||6.2|
|vitamin C||2.91 mg||4.5|
|vitamin B1||0.03 mg||2.9|
Can gerbils eat cucumber skin?
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the peel and seeds of the cucumber are the most nutrient-dense parts and they contain fiber and beta-carotene.
However, as we’ve mentioned before cucumber is one of the most exposed fruits to pesticide residue, while it can’t affect humans if cleaned properly but for a small animal like the gerbil, it can be toxic.
It is best to avoid feeding your gerbil cucumber skin to prevent any potential intoxication that could turn up to be fatal for your small rodent.
Can gerbils eat cucumber seeds?
Cucumber seeds contain fiber and minerals but they are also rich in water so it would be best not to feed them to your gerbils.
Cucumber seeds are soft and would not be very appealing to your gerbil anyway, if he has another alternative the gerbil would get picky and just leave them.
However, if you have no other alternatives gerbils can eat cucumber seeds in very small quantities as treats.
Can gerbils eat cooked cucumber?
Gerbils should not eat cucumber since it contains a lot of water (95%) and cooked cucumber is no exception, even worst if boiled in water.
The only appealing thing about cucumber to gerbils is the crunchy texture so if it is cooked and soft they’ll probably reject it.
If you do decide to feed your gerbils cooked cucumber, which we advise against, at least make sure they have a very small amount and it’snot cooked in any spices that could harm your gerbils.
Can gerbils eat pickles?
Gerbils can not eat pickles they are extremely high in sodium, acetic acid, water, salt, and other spices that gerbils just can’t handle.
Pickles are cucumbers that have been preserved in a salt-water brine along with vinegar and other spices, which is where the high sodium content comes from.
Pickles are very dangerous to gerbils and could cause more than just diarrhea, so avoid it at all costs.
How much cucumber can gerbils eat?
We can’t stress enough how cucumber should not be fed to gerbils since it can disturb their digestive system, but in case you do feed it to your gerbils in case they are dehydrated it should be in really small quantities.
Gerbils are hoarders and should never be given more than their need in food especially one that could be harmful, a bite-sized portion is more than enough for an occasional treat.
How often can gerbils eat cucumber?
The gerbil’s diet is primarily seeds but they should have other fruits and vegetables to make it balanced and have other nutrients that are missing in their seeds mix.
however, gerbils are very sensitive to water-based fruits so they should not have these or at least not very often, once a month as a treat is more than enough or if they are dehydrated and refusing water.
What if my gerbil consumes too much cucumber?
If by any chance you do give your gerbils large amounts of cucumber or if he somehow gets access to it and consumes a lot you don’t need to panic.
Cucumber itself is not really toxic the worst it can do is cause your gerbil diarrhea or digestion difficulties.
All you have to do is to avoid giving him more water-rich vegetables or fruits until his bowels are back to normal.
In case of extreme diarrhea, you might want to check with your vet for more advice but in most cases, it is not needed.
Conclusion: Can gerbils eat cucumber?
- Gerbils can not eat cucumber, cucumber skin, and cucumber seeds.
- Cucumber is a water-based fruit that contains 95% water.
- gerbil are desert rats that are not built to handle water-based fruits.
- gerbils can only eat cucumber when they are dehydrated.
- The only way they can eat cucumber is raw in very small quantities and once a month or less.
- All in all, gerbils should avoid eating cucumber at all.
Other foods gerbils can eat
- Apples (without seeds)
- Almonds (not bitter almonds)
- Green beans