It is a less commonly known fact that potatoes produce a natural compound called glycoalkaloids, and this is a toxic compound poisonous to hamsters. These have shown to be toxic to both humans and animals. All parts of the plant contain Solanine, but the leaves and stems contain naturally higher levels of glycoalkaloids than the tubers do. However, when the tubers (potatoes) are exposed to light they begin to turn green and this increases the Glycoalkaloid production. This green color is produced from Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that gives them the green color; although it is harmless it is an indication that the Solanine levels are greater than normal, and for that reason raw potatoes should never be fed to a hamster. Only cooking at high temperatures will destroy most of these toxins and render them harmless.


Glycoalkaloids become more concentrated in the green area of the potatoes and just under the skin. Greened potatoes are often higher in Solanine than those that are not. The bitter taste associated with green potatoes is caused by the Solanine.
Once the potatoes have been cooked they can safely be fed to hamsters.
Symptoms: of solanine toxicity are, Hypothermia, paralysis, shock, slowed breathing rate, dilated pupils, stomach or abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Potatoes that contain more than 0.1% Solanine (0.1 oz / 10 oz potato) are considered unfit for human consumption.



Copyright Hammysworld 2008 ©