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Chinchillas Diet Nutrition:

Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents (they are active at dawn and dusk, and are either sleeping or sluggish through the rest of the day) that come from South America, specifically from the Andes.

In their natural habitat, chinchillas are known to eat a variety of plants, fruits, and seeds, and they even eat some small insects. However, the main element of a chinchilla’s diet is grass and hay, and too much of other foods can be harmful for a chinchilla health. In fact, chinchillas have rather delicate digestive systems, and an excess of the wrong food can be fatal.

Unlike many other pets, giving chinchillas fresh home food is very difficult and risky, as it is almost impossible to ensure that they get the exact nutrients that they need. It is safer and more practical to limit your chinchilla food list to ready made chinchilla pellets with a supplement of hay. One more benefit of pellets is that the chinchilla must eat the whole pellet, and each pellet contains a variety of foods.

On the other hand, if a chinchilla is given a loose, home made mix of foods, it is quite likely to pick out what it finds tasty and leave the rest. In the wild, a chinchilla does not often have the luxury of choice, and is thus forced to eat a varied diet. Pellets thus ensure variety, while supplementing them with plenty of hay ensures adequate carbohydrates and roughage.

You can feed your chinchilla pressed cubes of hay, but loose hay is preferable. In case you find it difficult to get chinchilla pellets, you can feed your chinchilla pellets made for guinea pigs or rabbits. However ensure that the nutritional characteristics meet the chinchilla’s needs – protein should be around 18 per cent, fat should be no more than 5 per cent, and fiber should be at least 20 per cent, but preferably around 30 per cent. Remember that chinchillas cannot digest large amounts of fat and protein, and an excess of these nutrients is very dangerous for them. You should also note that chinchillas do not usually overeat, so rationing of food is not necessary. However, to avoid having stale food lying around the cage for days, you can limit portions to a reasonable extent.

Chinchillas may sometimes require supplements, but these should be given with caution, and only on the advice of a veterinarian. Treats should also be given very sparingly – no more than one treat a day, preferably even less. Baby chinchillas should never be given treats or supplements unless the vet has specifically recommended them; apart from this, baby chinchilla diet is usually the same as adult chinchilla diet.




  Submitted on July 22, 2010