Potatoes are one of the most consumed vegetables on the planet, they are prepared and eaten in so many different ways, the human creativity when it comes to potatoes knows no limits.
Just like tomatoes, these root vegetables are part of the nightshade family native to South America which implies the presence of the toxic compound called solanine usually found in these plants.
It is good to diversify your gerbil’s diet with fruits and vegetables to diversify the nutrients it gets, and potatoes being widely used and available seem like an affordable choice, but can gerbils eat Potatoes?
Gerbils can not eat raw potatoes, they contain traces of solanine, although it’s not much, however, for a small pet like gerbils it can be very toxic and cause them gastric troubles. potatoes are not good nor safe food for gerbils, raw, cooked, or in any form and should be avoided.
Looking for good and healthy treats for your gerbils is important to balance their diet and provide for them the nutrients they need, but it’s not as important as their main diet and making sure it’s healthy and natural.
We recommend the Oxbow Fortified Food for Gerbils (check price at Amazon), it’s good quality, made of natural ingredients and it’s in pellets which are good for gerbils that get picky with their food when served full seeds.
Table of Contents
Do gerbils eat potatoes in the wild?
Gerbils in the wild feed essentially on a variety of seeds grasses and roots, so they do feed on similar plants to potatoes.
However, the ideal temperature for growing potatoes is 60° to 70°F (16-21°C); temperatures greater than 80°F (26°C) are usually too warm for potatoes.
Gerbils are desert species that live in the desert, hint the surname desert rats, the temperatures in the desert range is considerable, with average lows in January reaching −40 °F (−40 °C) and average highs in July climbing to 113 °F (45 °C); which is not ideal for potatoes.
So gerbils in the wild have zero chances to ever eat potatoes, and that’s why you should not give your gerbils food that is not available in their natural habitat before checking first if they can eat it and if it is safe for them.
Can baby gerbils eat potatoes?
From the age of 3 to 5 weeks, gerbil babies start to mouth and explore their surroundings and solid food but still, they mostly feed on their mom’s milk.
At the age of 5 weeks gerbils are weaned and can eat adult food like seeds and fruits, but they can not eat potatoes, they are too toxic for them, and they are too hard on their digestive systems that are already very sensitive especially at this young age.
Do gerbils like potatoes?
Gerbils usually like the food they can gnaw on with a crunchy texture like seeds especially fatty ones, but potatoes are not to be fed to gerbils anyway no matter what texture is like.
raw potatoes have a bitter taste to them and their texture is too hard for gerbils to like so, besides the fact that they are not good for gerbils they don’t have the texture gerbils like.
Are potatoes good for gerbils?
Potatoes are full of good nutrients that could benefit gerbils but unfortunately, they can not eat them, the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals are all great nutrients found in potatoes.
All fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients that could be very beneficial for the gerbil, but this does not mean they can have any fruit as some could be toxic to them and potatoes are one of those plants.
Are potatoes safe for gerbils?
Potatoes are not safe for gerbils and could lead to very serious gastric problems especially if consumed raw.
Generally, it’s the green parts of the potato plant that contain high levels of the solanine toxin that is toxic for gerbils but the tubers still contain traces that may be negligible for humans but for a small pet, it can be fatal.
Gerbils should avoid having potatoes, especially that there are plenty of other great foods with similar or better nutritious profile to feed the gerbils.
How much and how often can gerbils eat potatoes?
Gerbils should not eat potatoes especially raw ones even in small quantities, they are far too dangerous for gerbils to eat.
Even the smallest bits of potato can contain solanine and no matter how little there is in a small potato portion it’s not safe for your little guys.
Can gerbils eat other parts of the potatoes?
Potatoes are the tuber root of the plant that’s part of a plant family known botanically as the nightshade native to South America notorious for being toxic.
The leaves and all the green parts of the plant that are exposed to sunlight are the ones that contain the highest levels of the toxin.
The roots which are not exposed to sunlight and usually grow underground contain the lowest levels of solanine and still, it’s too toxic for gerbils, so other parts like leaves stem and sprouts are even more dangerous to gerbils.
All potato plants contain a number of self-defensive substances that mostly develop in the parts of the plant that are exposed to sunlight that’s why it’s best to avoid the whole plant and feed your gerbils other fruits and vegetables that are safe.
Can gerbils eat other varieties of potatoes?
There are over 200 varieties of potatoes and they all belong to the same botanic family of the nightshade plant family which is toxic to gerbils.
The only exception is sweet potatoes, although they have the same name “potato” are actually not part of the nightshade plants and do not produce solanine.
Can gerbils eat sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are not toxic so gerbils can eat them, however, raw sweet potatoes are not very appealing to gerbils and there are a lot of other foods that gerbils could eat.
Cooked sweet potatoes are ok as a treat but only if not cooked with added spices that could be harmful to gerbils, but it’s better to avoid it anyway since the water content in cooked sweet potatoes is higher.
Ways gerbils can eat potatoes?
Potatoes is one of the staple foods worldwide and one that people got really creative with, it’s prepared and eaten in various ways.
Potatoes are known to lose the toxin component when cooked so can gerbils have potatoes if prepared or cooked in other ways?
Can gerbils eat fries?
French fries are fried in oil which makes them far too greasy for gerbils to eat, they can cause serious gastric issues for gerbils that’s why gerbils can’t eat fries.
Can gerbils eat potato chips?
Potato chips are similar to french fries and are prepared in oil and what makes them even more dangerous for gerbils is that they are dipped in spices that could be harmful to gerbils.
Can gerbils eat mashed potatoes?
Mashed potato is relatively safe for gerbils, however, the water content is too high in it and better options are available so it’s better to avoid it.
Potatoes nutrient facts
The potato is a moderate source of iron, and its high vitamin C content promotes iron absorption. It is a good source of vitamins B1, B3 and B6 and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, and contains folate, pantothenic acid and riboflavin.FAO
Here is the complete nutritional profile of the potatoes:Vitamins
|Folic acid||0.00 mcg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.302 mg|
|Vitamin A||0.00 IU|
|Vitamin A, RAE||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin B12||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin B6||0.239 mg|
|Vitamin C||11.4 mg|
|Vitamin D||0.00 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||30.00 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.423 mg|
|Iron, Fe||3.24 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||23.00 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.602 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||38.00 mg|
|Potassium, K||413.00 mg|
|Selenium, Se||0.3 mcg|
|Sodium, Na||10.00 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.35 mg|
|Saturated fatty acids||0.026 g|
|Decanoic acid||0.001 g|
|Dodecanoic acid||0.003 g|
|Hexadecanoic acid||0.016 g|
|Octadecanoic acid||0.004 g|
|Tetradecanoic acid||0.001 g|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||0.002 g|
|Hexadecenoic acid||0.001 g|
|Octadecenoic acid||0.001 g|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||0.043 g|
|Octadecadienoic acid||0.032 g|
|Octadecatrienoic acid||0.010 g|
|Fatty acids, total trans||0.000 g|
Conclusion: can gerbils eat potatoes
- Gerbils can not eat potatoes, they are toxic and contain solanine a toxic substance found in the nightshade plant family.
- Gerbils cannot eat cooked potatoes or any other form of potato products.
- Gerbils can’t eat any part of the potato plant.
- Sweet potatoes are not toxic but they are not the best treat to give to gerbils.
- Potatoes contain good nutrients but are not safe for gerbils especially raw.
Other foods gerbils can eat
- Apples (without seeds)
- Almonds (not bitter almonds)
- Green beans