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What Do Chinchillas Eat? – Here’s All You Need to Know!

What Do Chinchillas Eat

An important aspect of looking after any pet is making sure they are eating the right things. Each animal has different nutritional needs, so it is essential they are fed a diet that is specific to them. By feeding them the right food, you will help them to maintain good health and reduce the likelihood of them suffering from a range of health conditions. Chinchillas need to eat specific foods and there are many foods they need to avoid as these are detrimental to their health. Here is an overview of what chinchillas eat.

The Diet of a Chinchilla

Chinchillas are herbivores, and this means they have a plant and grass-based diet. In the wild, the diet of a chinchilla predominantly consists of the bark of trees as this gives them the nutrients they need and helps to wear down their teeth. They also eat lots of grasses and some plants.

The diet of a pet chinchilla should replicate the diet of wild chinchillas as closely as possible to give them the nutrients they need. As a general guide, they need a carbohydrate-high diet, with as much as 35 percent of their nutrients coming from these types of food. Approximately 30 percent of their diet should come from fiber and around 15 percent of their diet should consist of proteins.

They only need a small amount of sugar in their diet and as little fat as possible because their bodies do not digest fats well and they are harmful to chinchillas as it can cause liver damage.

What You Should Feed Chinchillas

A pet chinchilla’s diet consists of three main elements; hay, chinchilla pellets, and water. Most of their diet is made up of hay. This keeps their digestive system healthy and helps to wear down their teeth. It is important to give them a fresh supply of hay regularly and to remove any bad or moldy hay from their cage as this will make them ill.

Chinchilla pellets are the second most important aspect of a chinchilla’s diet and you can buy these from reputable pet stores. These are made by pet food manufacturers to meet the specific dietary needs of chinchillas. You should feed your chinchilla around two tablespoons of pellets each day; one spoon in the morning and another in the evening. This is because the times of day that chinchillas are the most active is

A fresh supply of water is vital for the health of your chinchilla. This will prevent them from becoming dehydrated, which can cause illness and may even lead to death. It is important to clean out and refill the water bottle regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria.

In addition to the main elements of the diet, you can offer your chinchilla occasional treats of chopped fruit and vegetables. However, it is important to check out which ones will not harm your chinchilla before feeding them these. Some good options are chopped carrots, kale, alfalfa, potatoes, and apples. You should only give these in small quantities once or twice a week.

What Not to Feed Chinchillas

Knowing what you should not feed your chinchilla is just as important as knowing what you should feed it. There are many foods that are potentially harmful to chinchillas. For example, any foods that are high in fat can damage the chinchilla’s liver and too much sugar causes digestive and dental problems.

Chinchilla owners sometimes mistakenly believe that they can feed their chinchilla small animal food mixes that contain nuts and seeds, or they give seeds and nuts to their chinchilla as treats. This is very dangerous as both nuts and seeds are high in fat. Not only can the chinchilla’s digestive system not cope with these foods, it can also cause liver damage that could lead to the death of your pet.

There are also many fruits and vegetables that you should not feed your chinchilla. This is usually because they are high in sugar or they contain too much of some vitamins or minerals. Some of the fruits and vegetables that you should not feed your chinchilla include:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Rhubarb and rhubarb leaves
  • Spinach

Furthermore, there are many human treats that you should never give to your chinchilla. While chocolate is a delicious treat for humans, its high fat and sugar content is potentially fatal for chinchillas. It is best to avoid giving chinchillas any foods that are intended for humans and to stick to foods suitable for the nutritional needs of chinchillas.

Thoughts on Chinchilla Food Available on Amazon?

It is possible to buy chinchilla pellets and treats online from Amazon. These are manufactured by many different brands and some are sold by independent sellers. In theory, if the food is sold as chinchilla food, it is safe for chinchillas and will not contain any harmful ingredients. They will also contain the essential nutrients that your chinchilla needs.

Many of the chinchilla foods available from Amazon are the same reputable brands that are sold in pet food stores. The difference is that many of these sold online are a much lower price than in bricks-and-mortar stores. Therefore, it is possible to get some fantastic bargains if you buy your chinchilla food online.

Bottom Line

Knowing what your chinchilla can and cannot eat is important as what you feed them impacts on their health. The main components of their diet are hay and chinchilla pellets washed down with a fresh and plentiful supply of water. You can also give your chinchilla occasional treats of chopped fruits and vegetables. Before introducing a new food into your chinchilla’s diet, you should always check that it is not harmful to the health of a chinchilla.

About the author


Liz Flynn is a mum of four with a background in education. An animal lover, she has owned everything from dogs to tarantulas and animals of all sizes in between and loves to write about them.

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