Poisonous plants and food for chinchillas

For long health, chinchillas must not get everything in their paws. Poisonous plants and other unsuitable foods for rodents are often considered good feed out of ignorance, but are actually harmful to the small pets.

Oh are they cute!  However, no poisonous indoor plants may be in the vicinity when they are allowed to roam freely.  – Shutterstock / yevgeniy11

Oh are they cute! However, no poisonous indoor plants may be in the vicinity when they are allowed to roam freely. – Shutterstock / yevgeniy11

In their natural environment, chinchillas would likely pounce on anything that smells nice. Only what is available in the wild is exactly right for the rodents: plant parts rich in fibre. For example, the animals do not know anything that can be digested quickly and therefore the feeding of a pet should remain natural. But out of ignorance, one or the other harmful feed seeps into the chinchilla cage. The following food and poisonous plants are not recommended.

Beware of poisonous plants

Out in nature there are many poisonous plants that we humans also have to be careful of, for example the foxglove, the deadly nightshade or the angel’s trumpet. It is therefore obvious that chinchillas are not allowed to eat them. But did you know that indoor plants can also be very dangerous for chinchillas? If you let your rodents run free, be sure to remove houseplants that are poisonous to them, such as: ivy, ficus, yucca, rubber tree, tree friend, poinsettia, geranium or fern. Only a few are mentioned here. Please inform yourself about possible toxins in your indoor plants or set them aside as a preventive measure from the outset.

Surely your chinchillas will get tasty twigs and buds from you to gnaw on. This is also commendable, but dangerous when the plant parts are sprayed. You can only trust your own apple tree or your neighbor’s pear tree. Never use parts of stone fruit trees, some contain hydrocyanic acid. You should also prefer to use tree parts and plants from a low-pollution area, not a main street or a city center.

Refrain from pine trees for your Chins to gnaw on, and beware this Christmas: many contain essential oils and they don’t belong in such a small body. Other trees, bushes and shrubs that are unsuitable as sawdust are: chestnut (the fruit), yew, elderberry, pomegranate or boxwood. Be careful when choosing the right roots, horseradish, for example, is not suitable. In general, it is also advisable here to explicitly inform yourself about non-toxic nailwood and roots.

Unsuitable foods for chinchillas

  • ● Nuts: These have a high fat content. Bitter almonds even contain toxic hydrocyanic acid – not a good idea.
  • ● Fruit kernels: Fruit stones are even more dangerous. Many release toxins in the stomach.
  • ● Treats: Yes, sweets just taste good, but everyone knows – it’s not healthy. Yoghurt drops and rodent rods, for example, are highly sugared.
  • ● Feed additives: With salt licks, it is difficult to control whether your chinchillas consume salt in moderation. There is a risk of an oversupply of sodium chloride, which can cause kidney problems. Caution is advised. Limestones certainly do no harm if chinchillas gnaw on them occasionally. However, since it is not entirely clear what they contain, some chinchilla owners avoid them.
  • ● Dry bread: The high salt content, preservatives and raising agents are absolutely unsuitable. The same goes for pretzel sticks or bread chips. If so, then crispbread is more suitable, but only very rarely!
  • ● Rice and Noodles: Rice and noodles may appear tasty for rodents, but they contain too many carbohydrates – not suitable food for the chins.
  • ● compound feed: Mixed feeds are not recommended because your chinchillas will probably only pick and choose what they like best over the course of their lives. In the long run, the animals lack such important nutrients. It is important to have more control over the chinchilla’s diet.
Guinea pigs like to eat fresh grass and meadow herbs – Shutterstock / Miroslav Hlavko
  • Animal

  • nutrition tips

05.07.2016 – 17:54

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Caution! Not all fruits and vegetables are suitable

Even for fresh leaves like dandelion, which should actually be on the chinchilla menu, the following applies: not too much of it. The little South Americans are more familiar with dried plant parts from their homeland. Therefore it happens that the animals cannot tolerate too much fresh feed and get diarrhea from it. Among the fruits and vegetables there are even those that are extremely dangerous for Chins, such as apricots! Other types of fruit and vegetables are intolerable to the animals, for example because they contain too much fructose, are highly acidic or cause flatulence:

  • ● Legumes, such as lentils, peas or beans
  • ● Cabbage
  • ● Corn, potato, tomato, onion, garlic
  • ● Apricot, citrus, nectarine, banana, pineapple

Avoid plants and unsuitable foods if you want to enjoy your chinchillas for a long time. There are plenty of alternatives, read our guide on “Chinchilla: Nutrition and food for the animals”.

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