Oranges are a popular and readily available fruit that makes a great juicy and tasty treat. This can often mean it’s also tempting to feed oranges to your chinchilla too.
But can chinchillas actually eat oranges? Or is this one fruit you should be keeping your chinchilla well away from?
In this post, we will take a close look at this very question by using the research of nutritional experts and reputable vets to give you all the answers you need before feeding your chinchilla oranges.
So can chinchillas eat oranges? Chinchillas can’t eat oranges as part of their regular diet or even as a treat. This is because oranges contain high amounts of water, sugar and are also very acidic. The combination of these nutrients together can cause lots of issues for a chinchilla’s digestive system including diarrhoea and severe bloating.
Read on to learn…
Oranges | Nutritional Data
Here’s a table that shares the nutritional information for oranges. You can use this as a visual guide to see what nutrients oranges captain that are both positive and a potential concern if fed to chinchillas.
Check out the nutritional table for oranges below…
Nutritional Information (Oranges)
|vitamin A RAE||11||µg|
|vitamin A IU||N/A||IU|
Can Chinchillas Eat Oranges? (More Info)
Lots of homes throughout the world have oranges laying in the fruit bowl and this can make it tempting to offer your chinchilla a small slice of orange as a treat, seen as you have them in the house anyway.
Unfortunately, this is a bad idea as oranges are one of those fruits that should be strictly off the menu for your chinchilla.
This is because they contain unbalanced amounts of more than one nutrient that can be harmful to chinchillas if overfed.
This can result in your chinchilla becoming extremely ill and may even result in you having to seek the attention of a vet.
As a rule, chinchillas don’t actually need treats and if you do offer them the occasional treat you need to be very careful what you do offer. Source:
(later in this post we will provide you with a list of 5 foods that you can safely feed your chinchilla as treats)
First, let’s take a look at the reasons why it’s not recommended to feed your chinchilla oranges…
Why Can’t Chinchillas Eat Oranges?
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Oranges Are High In Sugar
One of the first things you will notice about oranges is that they are high in sugar.
This is backed up by Web-MD who also state that oranges are high in sugar content.
If you check out the table we have shared above, you can see that oranges contain around 9.35g of sugar per 100g which is considered high for chinchillas.
This high amount of sugar can cause multiple problems for chinchillas such as…
- Tooth & gum issues
- Digestive issues
Chinchillas have extremely sensitive stomachs and their gastrointestinal systems aren’t used to processing large amounts of sugar. Source:
Feeding your chin sugar in large quantities can easily result in diarrhoea and painful digestive problems.
Chinchillas are also prone to gum and tooth problems if fed excessive amounts of sugar and this can result in costly vet bills that are needless as sugary treats such as oranges aren’t a required part of their diet.
Another big reason why chinchillas shouldn’t be fed fruits and treats with a high sugar content consistently is that over a period of time this can lead to them becoming obese.
This obviously isn’t healthy for your chin and something you need to monitor.
Other fruits such as apples and apricots are often offered to chinchillas but is this a good idea? or should these fruits be kept well away from your chinchilla at all costs?
Luckily we have created 2 guides that answer these questions in full and you can head straight over to them below…
Find Out If It’s Safe For Your Chinchilla to Eat Apples Here…
Find Out If It’s Safe For your Chinchillas to Eat Apricots Here…
Oranges Are Highly Acidic
One of the big reasons why oranges aren’t suitable for chinchillas to eat is the fact that they are high in acidity levels.
This is also extremely bad for your chinchilla’s stomach and overall digestive system.
In fact, offering your chinchilla foods that are highly acidic can make them very ill and cause them a lot of pain.
For a food to be considered an acid then it has a PH under 6.9 and oranges have a PH of between 3-4. Source:
As you can see oranges as very acidic and combined with the sugar they offer, it’s no wonder they cause digestive issues to chinchillas that have very acute digestive systems.
Oranges Can Cause Bloating For Chinchillas
Something that’s often overlooked when offering sugary and acidic foods such as oranges to chinchillas is the fact that they can cause severe bloating.
Because chinchillas often struggle to digest sugary and acidic foods, the food often stays undigested in their stomach for a long time.
This can lead to the foods fermenting and causing a build-up of gas that leaves your chinchilla’s stomach bloated.
This might not sound like something that would be a problem, however, unlike us humans, chinchillas can’t pass wind so their stomach stays bloated.
This can be really painful for chinchillas and in extreme cases, it can cause major health problems such as ruptures and internal bleeding that need immediate medical attention.
A small piece of fruit may not cause this level of issue but it can cause this kind of issue if you feed large amounts of these kinds of fruits.
Can Chinchilla Eat Orange Peel?
The peel of the orange is very interesting as it’s nutritional values are almost completely different from the orange itself.
It’s still relatively high in water but what’s interesting is that it contains no sugar at all. Source:
It’s also much higher in calcium than the actual orange, although chinchillas don’t require large amounts of calcium in their diet they do require a balanced amount of calcium to phosphorus, which orange peel contains.
With all this considered, we wouldn’t recommend that you feed your chinchilla orange peel.
This is mainly because orange peel isn’t a natural substance for chinchillas to eat and it’s hard to make a good enough case for them to eat it.
If you really want to offer your chinchilla a treat, there are many other foods that are better nutritionally as well as easier and safer for your chin to eat too.
(We will list 5 great treat options you can feed your chinchilla shortly)
Can Chinchillas Eat Orange Pips/Seeds?
Orange seeds or pips are known to be editable, however, there is reason to believe that you shouldn’t feed them to your chinchilla.
Orange seeds, like lots of other fruit seeds, contain a small amount of cyanide. Source:
If you aren’t aware, cyanide is a poison that has been used for chemical warfare and can be lethal when used in large amounts.
The amount of cyanide in a single orange seed is minimal and won’t be nearly enough to kill or even harm a human, however, chinchillas are much smaller than humans and until more research is done on the effects of orange seeds on small animals such as chinchillas, there’s really no reason to feed them these seeds.
For this reason, we don’t recommend you feed your chinchilla orange seeds at all.
What 5 Treats Can Chinchillas Eat Instead Of Oranges?
Now that we’ve established that you shouldn’t feed your chinchilla oranges, it’s now time to take a closer look at 5 foods that you can offer your chinchilla as a treat.
The foods we have included in the list below aren’t intended to be the healthiest foods you could possibly feed to your chinchilla, instead, they intended to be 5 alternate treat foods that offer a variety of nutrients and for the most part are accessible in most homes or easily purchased on the internet.
Remember, these foods must be offered as treats and are not to take the place of staple foods in your chins diet.
The 5 foods we have chosen are…
- Rose Hips
- Dandelion Leaves
Nutritional Information (Alternative Treat to Oranges)
|Name||Rose Hips||Apple||Dandelion Leaves||Parsley||Carrots|
|Water||56.66 g||85.56 g||85.6 g||87.71 g||0.93 g|
|Energy||1.62 Kcal||52 kcal||45 kcal||36 kcal||41 kcal|
|Protein||1.6 g||0.26 g||2.7 g||2.97 g||0.93 g|
|Fat||0.34 g||0.17 g||0.7 g||0.79 g||0.24 g|
|Carbohydrate||38.22 g||13.81 g||9.2 g||6.33 g||9.58 g|
|Fibre||24.1 g||2.4 g||3.5 g||3.3 g||2.8 g|
|Sugar||2.58 g||10.39 g||0.71 g||0.85 g||4.74 g|
|Calcium||169 mg||6 mg||187 mg||138 mg||33 mg|
|Phosphorus||61 mg||11 mg||66 mg||58 mg||35 mg|
|Sodium||4 mg||1 mg||76 mg||56 mg||69 mg|
|Vitamin C||436 mg||4.6 mg||35 mg||133 mg||5.9 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.076 mg||0.041 mg||0.251 mg||0.09 mg||0.138 mg|
|vitamin A RAE||217 µg||3 µg||508 µg||421 µg||835 µg|
|vitamin A IU||4345 IU||N/A||10161 IU||8424 IU||16706 IU|
|Carotene (BETA)||2350 µg||27 µg||5854 µg||5054 µg||8285 µg|
|Vitamin E||5.84 mg||0 mg||3.44 mg||0.75 mg||0.66 mg|
|Vitamin K||25.7 µg||2.2 µg||778.4 µg||1640 µg||13.2 µg|
Why Are These 5 Foods Healthier Than Oranges?
In truth, chinchillas don’t actually need treats as they are more than happy to eat their staple diet for the most part.
Having said this, if you are going to offer your chinchilla treats then it’s a good idea to make them as healthy as possible.
Below is a guide to why the 5 foods we have chosen are a better choice than feeding oranges…
If you prefer. We have created a new guide that shares a huge list of foods your chinchilla can eat in a handy list format as well as the ones they can’t…you can head over to our chinchilla diet guide here…
Rose hips especially dried are extremely high in fibre and contain as much as 24.1g of fibre per 100g. Source:
This is a huge amount of fibre and combined with the fact they are relatively low in water, low in sugar and healthy calcium to phosphorus ratio they make a great all-round treat for your chinchilla.
In fact, rosehips are considered one of the best treats you can provide for your chin by many animal nutrition experts.
You can find rose hips from many suppliers online including Amazon
Dandelion leaves are well known for their health benefits and are often given to many animals including rabbits and bearded dragons.
They don’t provide as much fibre and rose hips but they are extremely low in sugar with only 0.71g per 100g. Source:
They also provide a balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio which is important for keeping your chinchilla’s muscles and bones healthy.
It’s important to only feed the leaves to your chin and not the actual flower head as these are classed as unhealthy for chinchillas.
Parsley is often overlooked as a food to offer your chinchilla. This is because in most parts of the world it’s classed as a herb and only used to flavour food rather than something you would eat on its own.
Parsley ticks many of the boxes that make it a healthy treat for chinchillas, including moderate amounts of fibre, low amounts of sugar and a balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio.
It’s not advised to offer your chinchilla fruits in large amounts for reasons we have previously mentioned, however, some fruits are safe for chinchillas in moderation.
Apples are one such fruit and we recommend they are fed to your chinchilla no more than around 2-3 times per week in servings no more than 1tsp.
The fibre content in apples is 2.4g per 100g, which is pretty low but still helps to increase your chins total daily fibre intake.
Overall, apples can be offered to your chin as a treat instead of oranges and are readily available in most areas and homes.
Out this list of 5 foods to feed your chinchilla, carrots are actually the one you would want to feed them the least, believe it or not.
Carrots are still safe to offer your chin and are far better than oranges, however, they don’t provide the same level of balanced nutrients as some of the previous entries, for example, they only offer 2.8g of fibre per 100g. Source:
Carrots do provide an acceptable calcium to phosphorus ratio of around 1:1 and offer small amounts of fibre but they do contain moderate amounts of sugar even though they are a vegetable.
Carrots are good for chinchilla teeth as they are forced to grate the hard and raw carrot in order to eat it.
With all things considered, carrots are treats that should be fed less frequently as too much sugar can become a problem for your chinchilla.
In conclusion, chinchillas really shouldn’t eat oranges as they are just too acidic and high in sugar.
This can easily cause serious health problems for your chinchilla and even require veterinary treatment if you were to feed them oranges in large portions.
It’s far better to offer treats such as the ones we have singled out in this post, as these provide balanced nutrients that your chinchilla can benefit from.