Chinchillas are some of the cuter members of the rodent family. There are only two main species of chinchilla and both of these do look quite similar. They are easily identified by their beautiful soft grey fur coats, large ears, and their long tails.
These animals have become quite popular as pets over the past few years because they are lean, quiet, and odorless. They might be shy but can be quite friendly if you devote enough time to them.
The right foods and care are essential to ensure that your chinchilla stays healthy and happy.
Chinchillas are herbivores. These rodents are happy to consume a variety of plant matter.
They can have a few diet variations in which case chinchillas may choose to consume meat. These diet variations often result in debates on whether chinchillas are omnivores or herbivores.
Here is a quick look at the main foods that chinchillas consume;
Like all animals, these mammals also require lots of fresh water to stay hydrated. It is especially important to ensure that your chinchilla always has lots of water on hot summer days.
These tiny pets do have a lot of furs which can make them feel hot quite easily. Overheating and dehydration can easily cause your chinchilla to die.
Hay and grasses are the chinchilla’s main food source. Your chinchilla should have constant access to hay and should be offered fresh grass regularly. Chewing on hay can help file down your chinchilla’s teeth. It is important for these animals to chew a lot because their teeth can grow too long which can make it very hard for them to eat at all.
Chinchillas enjoy eating leafy plants like herbs, plantain, and others. They enjoy chewing the soft fresh leaves and twigs but they are also happy to consume dried herbs and plants. Chewing on dried twigs is good to help file down their front teeth.
Chinchilla pellets are usually grass pellets and they can be a very healthy food source if you don’t have access to quality hay.
There are quite a few different types of chinchilla pellets on the market. It may seem like your chinchilla has a tough time chewing pellets but they are slow eaters.
They prefer to eat at night and can be very slow at consuming foods.
Dried fruits and root vegetables can also be offered to your pet as supplementary treats. It is important not to offer too much of these foods or your pet can become overweight.
You can offer a variety of dried fruits such as apples, peaches, and more or root vegetables like beets and carrots that are fresh.
These animals will occasionally produce soft droppings that look like moist pellets. They will consume these droppings directly from their bottoms.
Don’t be alarmed since this is a natural behavior in chinchillas and essential for maintaining good health.
Chinchillas are happy to eat seeds and nuts. It is best to avoid feeding your chinchilla seeds and nuts that are high in fat because these foods can cause obesity in your pet as well as a number of different medical issues.
Chinchillas are not particularly fond of consuming meats but they will do so in harsh times. As long as you offer your pet a good and diverse diet, there should be no need to offer meat because sufficient hay and veggies do offer your pet all the protein it needs.
Chinchillas are pretty easy to feed. The owner can simply add food to a bowl inside their cages. They are shy animals and might choose to avoid eating if you are watching them. Most chinchillas prefer to eat at night time.
It is important to offer your chinchilla a variety of foods to keep them healthy. Generally, 1 – 2 tablespoons of chinchilla pallets in addition to some hay can be offered to each chinchilla on a daily basis. You can offer treats like dried fruits, herbs, root vegetables, and others about 1 – 3 times per week but don’t offer too much.
The amount of food chinchillas consume depends on their age, lifestyle, and healthy. Adult chinchillas in captivity are usually offered 1 – 2 tablespoons of pellets in addition to hay on a daily basis.
Chinchillas that are busy will consume more foods. They will also reduce their food intake when they become older.
A baby chinchilla is called a kit. They are born with fur and their eyes and ears are open from the start. These animals can start to walk within an hour after birth.
During the first week of life, they will mostly consume mother’s milk. They will gradually start sampling food at this time and they will taste and sample all the same foods as adult chinchillas.
Chinchillas are fully weaned at 8 weeks old and can then consume the same foods as adult chinchillas.
In the wild, chinchillas don’t have access to such a huge variety of foods as domesticated animals do.
They can only consume foods that are available in their natural habitat. They consume mainly grasses but will also munch on certain leaves and twigs as well as natural fruits.
A combination of hay and chinchilla pellets is an ideal food source for your pet since 80 – 90% of their diet includes grass hay. It is also good to occasionally offer treats like fruits and root vegetables.
These animals consume grass-type hay such as timothy hay, orchard grass hay and they can also feed on hay-based pellets that don’t contain any seed, nut, or dried fruits.
Chinchillas can eat meat and they will occasionally. They don’t particularly enjoy eating meats and prefer grass hay food types above all other types of foods.
These soft and furry animals can be a bit shy. They can be hard to fully tame but if you do take great care of your chinchilla, it can be a wonderful and very sweet little pet.
Chinchillas are interesting animals to keep as pets. They are relatively easy to care for but they do require specific food types to help them stay healthy and nourished.