As a kid, we’ve probably all learned that dandelions are “poisonous.” We used to pluck the stalks into small pieces and pull them apart, throwing them into a bucket of water to watch them form cute, little ringlets. Do you know why? The dandelion stalks form rings because their inner side takes in more water than their outer side, swelling up and causing the rings to form. You also get sticky, brown fingers from the milk 😉
But kid’s games aside, dandelions are also a delicious food; even people can eat dandelion salad. Hamsters can also eat dandelions, both the greens and the yellow flower, but it should be in moderation. They aren’t high in sugar, but your hamster can get an upset stomach if it eats too many of them. Centex, Leander’s golden hamster, is still young and just getting accustomed to green foods like salad.
We picked our dandelion greens from a grassy patch in front of our house, which is never to be mowed (it bears a sign saying, no mowing). That’s because people planted flowers there for the bees. These dandelions are most certainly not sprayed with insecticide, so they are safe for our hamster. We removed the milky sap and just gave Centex the young, green leaves to eat, and not more often than twice a week. He LOVES them!!!
By the way, did you know that the French word for dandelion is “pissenlit” and means “pee in the bed”? That’s because it’s a strong diuretic 😉 The English word dandelion comes from the French, “dent de lion,” lion’s tooth, and was given to the plant due to its jagged leaves.