Apricots are a sweet-tasting fruit that often makes a great treat for us humans, this makes apricots a tempting choice to feed to your chinchilla, but can chinchillas actually eat apricots or dried apricots?
In this post, we will cover all you need to know as an owner about apricots so you can be sure you are making the correct decision before offering them to your chinchilla.
We will look at nutritional data, opinions of vets and research written by animal care experts to give the most comprehensive guide possible.
So can chinchillas eat apricots? It’s not advised to feed chinchillas apricots. This is due to the fact they contain high amounts of water and sugar as well as containing low amounts of fibre and an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio. Dried apricots are acceptable in very small quantities from time to time as they contain less water and more fibre.
Read on to find out…
Nutritional Info | Dried Apricots
As we don’t recommend feeding your chinchilla apricots, but a small portion of dried apricots is acceptable from time to time, we have decided to list the nutritional data for dried apricots here.
This will allow you to see exactly what nutrients dried apricots contain and if they are something that you want to serve to your chinchilla.
Check out the nutritional data below…
Nutritional Information (Dried Apricots)
Can Chinchillas Eat Apricots? (A Closer Look)
As we briefly mentioned above, apricots don’t make a healthy choice of fruit to feed to your chinchilla.
This is due to the fact that they contain either too much or too little of key nutrients that are important to your chin.
The main reasons why apricots don’t make a good choice to feed to your chinchilla are…
- High in water
- High in sugar
- Low in fibre
- Unbalanced calcium & phosphorus ratio
Feeding fruits such as apricots to your chinchilla that are high in water and sugar can cause problems within their GI tract including excessive bloating that can be severe.
The easiest way to prevent this is to keep them away from fruits that are known to cause these problems.
Chinchillas are used to a simple high fibre diet and for the most part, it’s best to keep them locked to this kind of diet to ensure they don’t suffer any dietary issues.
You can find out all you need to know about chinchilla diet, including a list of the foods that your chinchilla both can and can’t eat by grading over to our complete guide…
Can Chinchillas Eat Dried Apricots?
Chinchillas can actually eat a small portion of dried apricots in their diet as long as this is limited to a sensible serving size and not fed too frequently. (more on how much and how often later in the post)
Where fresh apricots contain high amounts of water and low amounts of fibre, dried apricots offer low amounts of water and high amounts of fibre which is more acceptable for chinchillas.
This doesn’t mean that dried apricots are a healthy overall choice for your chinchilla as they contain either high or unbalanced amounts of some of the other key nutrients that chinchillas need to be considered healthy.
This is the reason why limiting the number of dried apricots you offer to your chinchilla is essential to keep their diet balanced and their health optimal.
Let’s now take a look at those key nutrients and see both the benefits and negatives of offering your chinchilla dried apricots…
Are There Any Health Benefits to Chinchillas Eating Dried Apricots?
Even though fruit, including dried fruit, isn’t something you should feed to your chinchilla on a consistent basis, dried apricots do contain some nutrients that chinchillas can benefit from.
In the sections that follow, we have broken down the most beneficial factors of feeding dried apricots as opposed to fresh apricots…
Low In Moisture/Water
Fresh apricots contain quite a high amount of water and when combined with high amounts of sugar, this can easily cause digestive issues and diarrhoea for chinchillas as they have very sensitive stomachs.
The good thing about offering dried apricots is that the water content goes down from 86.35g to 30.89g per 100g. Source:
Remember, this isn’t the go-ahead to feed lots of dried apricot daily to your chinchilla but it is an advantage over offering fresh apricot.
High In Fibre
Dried apricots also contain far more fibre than fresh apricots which is also a huge plus.
Chinchillas need large amounts of fibre in their diet to keep their gastrointestinal tract in order and healthy. Source:
Fibre also helps with bodily functions such as maintaining a healthy stool and keeping a regulated weight. Source:
Fresh apricots only contain 2g of fibre 100g, where dried apricots contain 7.3g.
As you can see, this is over 3 times the amount of fibre that’s in fresh apricots and shouldn’t be overlooked as it’s something that is extremely important for chinchillas.
Having said this, chinchillas get the majority of fibre they need from hay so offering dried fruits with high amounts of fibre isn’t necessary to maintain their health.
Are There Any Negatives to Chinchillas Eating Dried Apricots?
Even though dried apricots do have some positive nutrients to offer, they also contain nutrients that are considered a concern to a chinchillas health.
It’s important that you are aware of these nutrients before you consider feeding dried apricots to your chin.
Let’s now take a close look at the nutrients in dried apricots that may be a concern to your chinchilla…
Dried Apricots Are High In Sugar
The first thing you need to be aware of is that dried apricots contain a lot more sugar than fresh apricots.
In fact, fresh apricots contain 9.24g of sugar 100g compared to the whopping 53.44g of sugar in dried apricots.
This means you need to only offer dried apricots to your chin in very small amounts (more on exact portion later in this post)
The reason why sugar is so bad for chinchillas is that they have extremely sensitive digestive systems due to generally eating a plain diet of mainly hay so the sugar in fruit isn’t easily digested. Source:
Excessive consumption of sugary foods can lead to diarrhoea and even severe health problems for your chin. Source:
The problems can be so severe that your chinchilla may need the intervention of a vet so it’s best to serve all fruits, dried or not, in very modest amounts.
It’s also worth mentioning that excessive consumption of sugary treats can cause obesity as well as gum and teeth problems as they aren’t a natural part of a chinchilla’s diet.
Other fruits such as bananas are also popular for chinchillas but is it a good idea to feed your chin bananas or should you avoid offering them bananas at all costs?
Unhealthy Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
Apricots don’t have a balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio. This is common with a lot of fruit and some vegetables too.
The calcium to phosphorus ratio is important to animals such as chinchillas because if they consume more phosphorus in their diet than calcium they can suffer from extremely painful muscle and bone problems.
This is because phosphorus stops calcium from being utilized in the body and even though chinchillas don’t need a lot of calcium in their diet, the calcium they consume needs to be absorbed and used in order for them to be fit and healthy.
Experts suggest that the optimal ratio is between 1:1 or 2:1 for their overall diet.
Dried apricots contain 55mg of calcium and 71mg of phosphorus per 100g, which means their ratio isn’t considered healthy at all.
It’s also important to understand that offering your chin the odd food that has a poor calcium to phosphorus ratio isn’t going to harm their overall health but doing this with lots of foods on a daily basis can become a problem.
Do Chinchillas Like Dried Apricots?
I think you will find that your chinchilla will love dried apricots and will eat as many as you put in front of them.
Dried apricots are sweet due to the concentrated sugars they contain so they are satisfying on the taste buds.
It’s important to remember that just because your chinchilla enjoys a certain food, it doesn’t mean that you should feed it to them on a consistent basis.
In the sections that follow we will take a look at exactly how often we recommend you feed your chin dried apricots as well as how often…
How Many Dried Apricots Should My Chinchilla Eat?
The number of dried apricots you offer your chinchilla is really going to be important.
As we’ve mentioned so many times throughout this post, chinchillas don’t need fruit to be healthy and offering foods that contain too much sugar can have harmful effects on their gastrointestinal tract.
For this reason, we recommend you feed your chinchilla no more than 1 tsp sized portion of dried apricots maximum.
It can be tempting to keep giving your chin more and more as they devour the tiny piece of apricot in seconds, however, you need to stick to this portion size in order to look after their best interests.
How Often Can Chinchillas Eat Dried Apricots?
As well as only offering your chinchilla small portions of dried apricot, it’s also important to make sure you don’t feed it to them too often.
We recommend that you offer no more than 1 portion of dried fruit such as apricots or other treat food offerings 2-3 times per week.
Sticking to this guide will ensure that you don’t introduce too many unhealthy nutrients into your chin diet that could cause them to become ill or cause other issues like obesity and oral problems.
What’s The Best Way to Serve Dried Apricots to My Chinchilla?
Dried fruit such as apricots are really easy to prepare and serve to your chinchilla, in fact, there’s almost no preparation needed.
As dried fruit is usually cut into small pieces, there’s no need to wash or chop and therefore a lot of the preparation is already taken care of.
You can simply measure out a 1 tsp portion size of dried apricots and put them in your chins bowl.
You can also just as easily hand them to your chinchilla and watch them eat the dried fruit one by one.
If you really feel like getting creative, you can hide the small pieces of dried apricot in various places in your chin’s cage, for example in tunnels and hides.
This will give your chinchilla some much needed mental stimulation and mimic their behaviour in the wild, where they would have to go and search for food rather than have it brought to them.
Just make sure you only offer the 1 tsp serving size when hiding food around your chin’s cage. To hide food in multiple places you will need to cut the dried fruit up into smaller pieces.
5 Foods You Can Feed Your Chinchilla Instead Of Dried Apricots
It’s often hard to find good healthy treat foods that your chinchilla can eat and ones that they will also enjoy.
For this reason, we have put together a handy list of 5 treat foods that chinchillas can eat.
The 5 foods are…
Just because we have added these foods to the ‘safe list’ it doesn’t mean that you should go crazy and feed them to your chin all the time.
We have actually created a separate post that shares all you need to know about allowing your chinchilla to eat Cheerios.
This includes what variety of Cheerios to choose, how often they can eat them and how many Cheerios you should let our chinchilla have too.
You need to remember that these foods are still ‘treat foods’ even though some are greens and veggies and should still only be offered in the right quantities in addition to their main staple diet.
So you can see the nutritional data for these 5 foods, we have put them together in a table that shares their most relevant nutritional information.
Take a look at the table here…
Nutritional Information (Treats For Chinchillas)
|Water||56.66 g||85.56 g||89.63 g||87.71 g||5.13 g|
|Energy||1.62 Kcal||52 kcal||35 kcal||36 kcal||376 kcal|
|Protein||1.6 g||0.26 g||2.92 g||2.97 g||12.09 g|
|Fat||0.34 g||0.17 g||1.49 g||0.79 g||6.73 g|
|Carbohydrate||38.22 g||13.81 g||4.42 g||6.33 g||73.23 g|
|Fibre||24.1 g||2.4 g||4.1 g||3.3 g||9.4 g|
|Sugar||2.58 g||10.39 g||0.99 g||0.85 g||4.36 g|
|Calcium||169 mg||6 mg||254 mg||138 mg||401 mg|
|Phosphorus||61 mg||11 mg||55 mg||58 mg||481 mg|
|Sodium||4 mg||1 mg||53 mg||56 mg||497 mg|
|Vitamin C||436 mg||4.6 mg||93.4 mg||133 mg||21.6 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.076 mg||0.041 mg||0.147 mg||0.09 mg||2.39 mg|
|vitamin A RAE||217 µg||3 µg||241 µg||421 µg||990 µg|
|vitamin A IU||4345 IU||N/A||4812 IU||8424 IU||N/A|
|Carotene (BETA)||2350 µg||27 µg||2873 µg||5054 µg||0 µg|
|Vitamin E||5.84 mg||0 mg||0.66 mg||0.75 mg||0.65 mg|
|Vitamin K||25.7 µg||2.2 µg||389.6 µg||1640 µg||1.8 µg|