What Food Does a Chinchilla Eat?

by Naomi Millburn
Chinchillas are little herbivores.

Chinchillas are little herbivores.

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It's crucial to always give your pet chinchilla the right things to eat. This includes grass hay, chinchilla pellets, and fresh fruits and vegetables in moderation. Chinchillas in the wild eat a few things that pet chinchillas don't get. Clean water is also important.

When it comes to a well-balanced chinchilla meal plan, two things are very important: grass hay and chinchilla pellets. When looking for roughage, a couple of healthful choices are orchard grass, oat, alpine and alfalfa. Chinchillas also should have constant access to Timothy hay. Commercial chinchilla pellet mixes are available at many pet supply stores. Always feed pellets that are made specifically for chinchillas and not for any animals, even other types of rodents. Feed only one to two tablespoons of pellets daily.

In moderation, fresh vegetables and fruits can be healthful and occasional chinchilla treats -- though no more than 10 percent of his diet. Consider giving treats between two and four times weekly, for example. Some suitable veggie options for chinchillas are carrots, kale, parsley, dandelion greens, lettuce, collard greens and turnip greens. Fruit choices include strawberries, pears, bananas and apples. Always chop vegetables and fruits up into very small bites. Don't let them stay in your chinchilla's cage when they're no longer fresh. If your chinchilla is unwell for any reason, don't feed fruit or other foods that have significant sugar content.

Water is very important for your chinchilla. Always make sure he has plenty of fresh and clean water right in front of him. Choose purified or filtered water that contains no chlorine. Refresh his drinking supply at least once a day.

In the wild the chinchilla diet is somewhat different, although the wee rodents are herbivores through and through. Chinchillas who wander on their own eat a lot of bark, foliage, seeds, cactus fruit, flowers and many varieties of grasses.

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    Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.