Essential Food and Caring Tips for Chinchilla Pets
Chinchillas are cuddly pets. They have similar features to park squirrels, only with larger ears. These furry creatures are native to Peru and Chile. In their natural habitat, chinchillas form groups and create their shelter in crevices, natural outcroppings as well as burrows. These furry creatures can also jump as high six feet, which is probably as tall as your fridge. They can also sleep upside down, a trivial chinchilla fact. Chinchilla care is also easy, so if you are looking for low maintenance pets, these are the perfect creatures for you.
Chinchillas have a specific diet. These animals are generally vegetarians. They also have sensitive stomachs. If they are able to ingest food that they are not accustomed to eat, they get digestion problems. Chinchillas also do coprophagy, which is the process of eating their own fecal matters. There are chinchilla pet owners who feel disturbed in regards to this eating act but it is perfectly natural for them. Their fecal matters contain important nutrients that are imperative for their growth.
Chinchillas, just like any other pet, needs to have a nutritious and well balanced diet to keep them healthy and active. You can feed chinchillas with commercial pellets that are designed specifically for them. You can’t just give chinchillas commercial pellets that are engineered for other pets. These chinchilla food pellets are already packed with the right amount of fat, roughage and protein essential for their survival. It is also imperative to always fill their food crock with food, so they wouldn’t get hungry.
Aside from commercial food pellets, these furry creatures also love to eat hay. Hay gives them roughage which they absolutely need. Roughage has natural cleaning abilities that help eliminate toxic materials in their bodies. Hay can also protect its growing teeth from wearing. Some of the best hay choices for these creatures include timothy and alfalfa. It is also important to keep hay always fresh and clean. Do not give them wet hay as this can upset their stomach. You can also keep a hay rack in their cages, so hay is readily available.
Water is better to place in a water bottle with a sipper tube. Readily available water keeps the chinchillas hydrated. Water should stay fresh and clean. There are also pet owners who mix vitamin powder supplements with their drinking water to keep them healthy. This is a good step too. Treats such as seeds, dried fruits and nuts are also great. Chinchillas love these treats. However, too much treat can cause obesity in chinchillas since these are fattening foods for them.
Other chinchilla treats that they love include sunflower seeds, unsalted nuts and dried fruits including cranberries, apples, peaches and bananas. Salt blocks and salt wheels are also good for these creatures. These materials supply important minerals that they lack. Vitamin C supplements can also be given to them, but chinchilla food pellets are already packed with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals, so vitamin C supplements are only optional.
Photo Credits: Guppiecat, Jennofarc.