People aren’t the only ones who consider apples a delicious treat. These juicy fruits are full of nutrients such as vitamin C and are a very good source of fiber. Apples also have phloridzin, which has been studied for prevention of bone loss in some animals. These benefits apply to small animals too. Although apples might not be the best choice of staple food in their diets, they are recommended and enjoyed by these animals.
Both pet and wild rats enjoy having a little apple to supplement their diets. These small mammals will eat what they can find in the wild, but they don’t pass up apples. Pet owners of rats offer apples as a small part of their diet in captivity. Apple treats can be fed to a pet rat in small portions that equal one-half-inch cubes. Each cube is considered a serving to a rat, and it can be given in moderation with other fruits and vegetables. Many pet rats are fed prepackaged rodent blocks as a staple of their diet; these ingredients of these blocks include apple because of its nutritional value.
Hamsters are another small rodent with a sweet tooth, and they are crazy for sweet fruits such as apples. Pet owners need to make sure they don’t overfeed with apples, though, as hamsters need a healthy mixture of foods for a nutritious diet. These little fuzzy mammals like to stash food for later, so pet owners must make sure they provide fresh foods on a daily basis. Apples can be offered in small portions with the rest of the animal’s food. Apples are not recommended for dwarf hamsters.
People think carrots are the rabbit’s favorite treat, but apples are also a favorite. Rabbits, tame and wild, mostly eat leafy greens and vegetables. Cubed apple can be offered as a treat from time to time, and most rabbits waste no time in gobbling it up. Rabbits need the roughage that grasses such as hay offer them, but apple treats have that benefit as well and offer a good source of fiber. Make sure to leave the peel on when offering apple to rabbits, as it contains vitamins and roughage that rabbits need.
As their name suggests, sugar gliders love sugar, but their diet is not composed mainly of sugary substances. These mammals are omnivorous. In the wild, they eat lots of insects in addition to sap and nectar. In captivity, apples and apple juice should be given to a sugar glider in small portions as a fruit serving. Sugar gliders are active at night, so if you offer apple to them, it is best to offer it in the evening so you can throw away any uneaten apple in the morning.
Loren Estes became a licensed wildlife rehabilitation professional for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1998. She cares for wildlife native to Kentucky. In her spare time, Estes also lectures and volunteers for various nonprofit organizations involved in animal care and adoption.