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Can Gerbils Eat Tomatoes?

by Lucy

Keeping a nutritional diet for your pet gerbil includes commercial gerbil pellet mixes specially formulated to ensure that domesticated gerbils get their necessary fill of minerals and vitamins. But, you will often find that pet parents of gerbils want to provide their pets with a varied diet for the sake of more flavor as well as providing a more varied nutrient base.

When it comes to tomatoes, almost every household uses tomatoes in one form or another. Of course, there are many health benefits of eating tomatoes. So, many pet guardians of gerbils wonder if it is safe for gerbils to eat tomatoes. 

So, can gerbils eat tomatoes? Well, tomatoes aren’t toxic for gerbils. But, you need to understand that tomatoes aren’t the best fruit for your pet, and excessive eating of tomatoes can be bad for your pet’s well-being. They should only be fed as an occasional snack, if at all.

So, let’s get on and discuss the advantages of feeding your pet gerbil tomatoes and how often it is okay for your fluffball to have tomatoes.

Do Gerbils Like To Eat Tomatoes?

There isn’t a question if gerbils like tomatoes much. Gerbils are opportunistic eaters. In general, these tiny creatures eat whatever they can find. So, the slightly tangy and sweet flavor of tomatoes appeals to most gerbils.

You may encounter a contrary gerbil who looks down its nose when served with tomatoes, such circumstances are rare.

Moreover, tomatoes offer a crunch on the outside and are juicy from the inside, a texture that seems to be quite a popular combination with gerbils the world over. Not to mention, the crispness of the tomatoes on the outside helps gerbils with oral and dental hygiene.

However, gerbils come from dry, arid regions, and centuries of evolutionary adaptations have made it possible for gerbils to survive on very little water, and tomatoes consist primarily of water.

So, pet parents are recommended to practice much caution when feeding these fleshy red fruits to their little fluff balls. Too much water can cause diarrhea and general intestinal distress. It also won’t allow your pet to absorb all the nutrients their meal has to offer.

What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Feeding Tomatoes To Gerbils?

Tomatoes do have quite a few nutritional benefits that can go a long way in helping out pets. You see, tomatoes are a great source of fiber, providing 1.5 grams per average tomato. As you must know, fiber is vital for gastrointestinal functions.

Furthermore, vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system to helps fight off viruses and diseases. Vitamin K1 prevents blood clotting and enhances bone growth. Then, potassium assists in blood pressure control and heart health. Folate is crucial for normal tissue growth and cell function. 

There are other plant compounds such as beta-carotene, lycopene, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid that serve to reinforce the body’s capacity to fight off infections and other diseases. Chlorogenic acid reduces blood pressure and reduces the effects of oxidative stress; Naringenin decreases inflammation; beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body.

So, all in all, tomatoes usually make it into the list of wholesome eating. But, when you find out that tomatoes have a 95% water content, you will understand that your pet gerbil cannot bodily handle so much water in its system.

As we’ve mentioned, excess water in a gerbil’s body leads to diarrhea, bloating, indigestion, gas, and acidity. It is a food source that necessitates restraint.

How Many Tomatoes Can You Feed Gerbils And How Often?

Tomatoes are more of a fruit than a vegetable. It is common knowledge that tomatoes are pretty acidic. So, even humans are required to eat tomatoes with some reserve. When you take into account the size of a gerbil, surely you must realize that your pet will not be able to sustain eating too many tomatoes. 

So, it would be best if you never considered feeding your gerbil tomatoes as a meal or as a daily treat. In fact, tomatoes should be given to gerbils in very minimal quantities and only once or twice a week.

If your gerbil is a particular fan of other vegetables or fruits such as kale, broccoli, blueberries, or goji berries, then you should consider going with the more wholesome fruits and vegetables rather than tomatoes. 

So, if your gerbil happens to love tomatoes and you don’t want to deprive your adorable fluff ball of its favorite treat, then use organically-grown tomatoes that are chemical-free and pesticide-free.

Rinse the tomatoes at least thrice, chop the fruit up into tiny gerbil-sized bites, and offer about a small teaspoon of that to your friend only once or twice a week.

Can Gerbils Eat Tomato Stalks?

Tomatoes aren’t toxic for gerbils at all, but the high acidity and water content can indeed give your pet gerbil an upset tummy.

However, when it comes to the stalks, leaves, or stems of tomatoes, you need to take particular care that you never offer any of it to your pet gerbil. The stalks, leaves, and stems of tomatoes contain tomatine, an alkaloid that is mildly toxic even for humans.

There is a bit of controversy with regards to feeding tomato stalks and vines to gerbils. Some reputed websites claim that it is perfectly safe to provide your pet with these. On the other hand, many other popular gerbil care websites will discourage you from offering your pet tomato vines or stalks. 

So, as an intelligent pet parent, it’s best to take the advice of a professional. The next time you visit the vet, ask about feeding your pet tomato vines and stalks. If you still feel uncomfortable about presenting any tomato stalks or leaves to your fluff ball, that’s okay. It is, after all, better to err on the side of caution.

Can Gerbils Eat Cherry Tomatoes?

Cherry tomatoes are popular across the globe for their sweet flavor. So, there’s no doubt that even your gerbil will enjoy the taste of cherry tomatoes far more than others.

Not to mention, cherry tomatoes are pretty rich in lycopene that helps the body fight free radicals that cause disease. Lycopene also limits UV damage to the skin and promotes better skin and heart health.

But, you must understand that cherry tomatoes are more watery and have more seeds than regular tomatoes, so you will have to be extremely careful about how much cherry tomato your pet gerbil consumes. Otherwise, your poor fluff ball will wind up answering quite a few of Nature’s calls on the following day.

Can Gerbils Eat Green Or Yellow Tomatoes?

Some green tomatoes are just unripe red tomatoes, but there are a few green tomato varieties that stay green. On the flip side, orange and yellow tomatoes are all tomatoes moving progressively towards ripeness. 

Your pet gerbil can happily chomp on any or all of these varieties. When offering tomatoes to your pet gerbil, the only thing to keep in mind is that more isn’t always good.

But, if you’re thinking of feeding fried green tomatoes to your fluff ball, then you must understand that any excess of fat isn’t good for your pet that is prone to obesity already. So, fried anything, even tomatoes, are a definite no-no.

Final Thoughts

Gerbils make fantastic pets. You see, gerbils may look tiny, but most have great personalities. These little balls of joy are fun, highly social, and brilliant. The best part is that gerbils are smart enough not just to recognize their owners but to develop a close bond of trust with them.

So, you can be sure that when you bring home a pet gerbil, you’ll have tons of laughs and great times with your little friend. But, when it comes to the diet of gerbils, you need to take extra care.

Gerbils are sturdy creatures that don’t require much of their human’s time and attention, but if you want your pet to be happy and healthy, you should be aware of what they need in a healthy diet.

While tomatoes are okay to feed to your gerbil every once in a while, don’t offer your gerbil tomatoes every day, thinking it’s a nutrient-rich fruit. Yes, tomatoes are nutrient-dense, but for your pet, too much tomato can mean an aching tummy, loose stools, and a bad mood day.

Up Next: Can Gerbils Eat Bananas?

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