Strawberries are one of the juiciest, sweet-tasting fruits around and this means it can be tempting to regularly offer them to your chinchilla as a treat.
The question is, can chinchillas safely eat strawberries? Or is this delicious fruit harmful and strictly off the menu?
In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about strawberries before you decide to offer them to your chinchilla.
We will use the research of animal nutritionists and the opinions of vets to bring you the answers you need regarding your chinchilla and strawberries.
So can chinchillas eat strawberries? Chinchillas can safely eat strawberries but should only be offered them occasionally. Strawberries contain enough sugar to make your chinchilla ill if they are overfed as well as offering an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio which is another reason why you should offer them sparingly.
Read on to learn…
Nutritional Info | Strawberries
We have put the most relevant nutrients of strawberries here in a handy table.
This will help you to see the nutrients that are both healthy and unhealthy for your chinchilla at a glance.
Don’t worry if you are unsure of what nutrients to be looking out for and in what quantities, throughout this article we will point out the nutrients you need to be aware of.
Take a look at the table here…
Nutritional Information (Strawberries)
Can Chinchillas Eat Strawberries? (A Closer Look)
It can be tempting you offer your chinchilla sweet and juicy fruits like strawberries
As we mentioned earlier, strawberries are technically safe to feed to your chinchilla.
This will largely depend on how often you offer strawberries to your chinchilla and in what quantities (more on this later in the post)
Experts such as vetstreet suggest that very small quantities of fruit can be added to your chins diet.
The reason why it’s important to only feed your chinchilla small amounts of fruit such as strawberries is that they contain unbalanced amounts of important nutrients like fibre, water and sugar as well as poor ratios of calcium and phosphorus.
Chinchillas are used to eating a plain diet that is well optimized for the key nutrients they need and adding lots of fruits can upset their digestive tract and make them extremely ill.
Can Chinchillas Eat Dried Strawberries?
Dried strawberries can be fed to your chinchilla as long as they are fed in very small quantities and no more than one small piece per day and preferably once per week.
Dried fruit such as strawberries do offer less water and more fibre than fresh strawberries, however, they also contain far more sugar.
The amount of sugar in fresh strawberries is 4.89g per 100g, while the sugar content in dried strawberries goes up to a whopping 65.5g per 100g.
This high amount of sugar makes dried strawberries not a great choice to feed to your chin even though they do offer higher amounts of fibre and less water/moisture.
Providing your chinchilla with foods that contain excessive amounts of sugar can make them ill.
This is because chinchillas aren’t used to eating sugary foods in their natural wild diet and therefore their digestive system can’t handle and digest them.
Are There Any Concerns When Feeding Your Chinchilla Strawberries?
Like most fruit, there are a few concerts and things you need to be aware of before you offer your chinchilla strawberries.
The main reasons why strawberries should be offered in moderation are…
- Low In fibre
- Moderate Amounts of Sugar
- High water
- Poor Calcium & Phosphorus Ratio
Let’s now take a closer look at the main reasons why strawberries don’t make the best treat food to offer your chinchilla…
Strawberries Offer An Unbalanced Calcium & Phosphorus Ratio
Not many owners are aware that the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the foods you offer your chinchilla can play a big part in their health.
This is the same for many animals throughout the world and understanding these ratios can help to keep your chin both happy and healthy.
Chinchillas don’t need a lot of calcium in their diet, however, they do need a modest amount.
Phosphorus is known to bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed in the body.
This means that if your chinchilla consumes more phosphorus than calcium in their diet then they won’t be able to absorb any of the calcium they consume.
This can cause lots of muscular and bone-related issues that can be painful and have a negative effect on your chin’s health. Source:
The recommended level of calcium to phosphorus is 1:1 or ideally 2:1 or higher.
Taking a look at the table we have provided in the post, you can see that strawberries contain 16mg of calcium and 24mg of phosphorus per 100g.
As you can see, there is way more phosphorus in strawberries than there is calcium, which isn’t healthy for your chinchilla.
It’s important to point out that feeding your chinchilla the odd food from time to time that has a poor calcium to phosphorus ratio isn’t going to harm them, having said this, if your chin’s diet is full of foods with a poor ratio then this is where problems can arise.
This is why it’s more important to offer a small number of leafy greens that have a healthy ratio of calcium and phosphorus then fruit and other foods that don’t.
Low In Fibre
Chinchillas need high amounts of fibre in their diet as their digestive system requires constant movement for them to stay healthy.
This is why their diet consists of high fibre hays such as timothy hay and more.
We have created a guide that shares the best timothy hay brand we recommend you use for your chinchilla and we also share the best place to get it from here…
Adding too many foods that are low in fibre can give your chin digestive problems and health issues.
Strawberries do contain 2g of fibre per 100g but this isn’t actually that much when compared to other healthy treats you could feed them such as…
- Rose hips – 24g of fibre per 100g
- Cheerios – 9.4g of fibre per 100g
What we can take from this is that strawberries might be delicious and an acceptable treat every now and then but you can easily offer your chinchilla treats on a more consistent basis that are much higher in fibre.
Moderate Amounts Of Sugar
For a fruit, strawberries are actually pretty low in sugar, although the amount of sugar they do offer is still quite high for a chinchilla digestive system to process.
A chinchilla’s gastrointestinal system isn’t adapted to handle high amounts of sugar. Source:
As we have mentioned earlier in this article, chinchillas are used to only eating plain foods that contain high amounts of fibre and low amounts of fat and sugar.
Adding high amounts of sugar can give your chin gas and bloating as well as other dietary issues such as diarrhoea.
If you add foods like strawberries in your chins diet even as an occasional treat, it’s important to do this in small quantities and see how their digestive system reacts.
Are There Any Benefits to Feeding Your Chinchilla Strawberries?
Strawberries do contain lots of vitamins and mineral, unfortunately, most of them aren’t relent to a chinchilla who can survive and be healthy without most of these nutrients.
Strawberries do offer a high amount of vitamin C, with 58.8mg of vitamin C per 100g. Source:
Vitamin C is necessary to help the growth, repair and development of body tissues as well as the maintenance of muscle and bones. Source:
The caveat to this is that chinchillas are one of a few animals that can actually produce their own vitamin C without the need to get it from food sources.
They can benefit from a little extra vitamin C in their diet to help with the maintenance of teeth, bones and muscle tissue but it’s really not something that you need to obsess about.
Do Chinchillas Like Strawberries?
There’s a very good chance your chinchilla will love eating strawberries. The sweet and juicy taste of strawberries makes it hard for a chinchilla to dislike them.
Chinchillas will usually eat as much strawberry as you put in front of them but as we mentioned earlier, it’s important not to get carried away as too much strawberry can have negative health effects.
Chinchillas also like other fruits such as apricots, but are these safe to feed to your chinchilla? Or should apricots be kept strictly off the menu?
Head over to our full guide on apricots for chinchillas to find out…
How Many Strawberries Can You Feed Your Chinchilla?
Chinchillas don’t require much food outside of their staple diet of hay and chinchilla pellets.
In fact, many experts recommend that you don’t feed any more than 1 tsp of treats per day to your chinchilla. Source:
Sticking to this 1 tsp portion size will help to make sure you don’t overfeed treats that don’t have a balanced proportion of the nutrients that your chin needs.
How Often Can You Feed Your Chinchilla Strawberries?
Fruits like strawberries should not only be offered in small portions but they should also be offered only occasionally too.
Even though some experts suggest that it’s ok for chinchillas to have 1 treat per day, we would recommend only offering them fruit such as strawberries around once per week.
Any other treats you offer your chinchilla should be high in fibre and other key nutrients.
This will ensure that your chin has a healthy and balanced diet on a consistent basis.
What’s The Best Way to Prepare Strawberries For Your Chinchilla?
Most fruit is very easy to prepare for your chinchilla, however, we have put together a quick and straightforward guide that helps you prepare and serve strawberries in the best way.
Check out our easy to follow guide here…
Organic Is Best – Although purchasing organic foods can be quite expensive, but it’s by far the best option.
Non-organic foods can contain an alarming amount of pesticides and herbicides which can be harmful to your chinchilla so we recommend to always grab organic if you can.
Wash Time – Even if you have purchased organic strawberries, you still need to give them a thorough wash before you offer them to your chinchilla.
Portion Size – As we talked about previously, you only need to feed your chinchilla a small amount of strawberry as too much can make them ill. The maximum portion size should be 1 tsp of strawberry.
Time to Serve – You are now ready to serve the strawberry to your chinchilla. You can either hand it to them directly, place it their food bowl or cut the strawberry up into smaller pieces and hide it at various point in their cage.
This can offer excitement and mental stimulation to your chinchilla as they ill have to find the fruit.
5 Great Bonus Treats to Feed Your Chinchilla
It can be so hard to know what treats are both healthy for your chin as well as something they will happily eat.
We have put together a list of 5 foods you can feed to your chinchilla as a healthy treat.
These 5 foods are…
Please note, the foods on this list are to be fed in moderation even though they contain greens and herbs. It’s important to feed good quality hay with supplementary pellets and then offer a small number of greens and treat foods to complement this staple diet.
We have also shared these 5 foods in a table below that provides their nutritional values and will help to give you a visual guide of which ones you want to add to your chinchilla’s diet as a treat.
Check out the nutritional data 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|