I’ve always liked cilantro.
But many people hate it.
Apparently, to some people it tastes like dish soap. It’s interesting how our perception of things can differ.
How is it with chinchillas? Do they like the taste?
More importantly, can chinchillas eat cilantro in the first place?
Their digestive systems are famously sensitive and they have a hard time with many foods that are good for us.
Keep reading to learn whether you should feed your chinchilla cilantro. We will cover both the fresh and dried versions, along with everything else you need to know about giving your pet coriander.
Can Chinchillas Eat Cilantro?
Yes, chinchillas can eat cilantro. But they can only have a small amount, so make sure you only offer it as an occasional treat and not as a regular part of your pet’s diet.
Cilantro are the leaves and stalks that grow on coriander. Coriander is the seed part of the plant, while cilantro is the greenery. But the names are generally used interchangeably.
Cilantro is full of vitamins and water, making it a great healthy herb for humans. But it is not so great for your chinchilla.
Is Cilantro Bad For Chinchillas?
Cilantro is not bad per se. There is nothing toxic in it. Chinchillas love leafy greens and cilantro is something you can feed your chinchilla. You just need to make sure it’s in a small amount.
The reason for that is water. Cilantro has a high-water content and water can cause harm to your chinchilla’s digestive system. Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains, which is a very dry place.
As a result the species adapted to survive on very little water. They do this by retaining water for a long time. This also applies to domestic chinchillas. It is the reason a chinchilla’s urine is a bit smelly. It is highly concentrated, since they hold onto water for so long.
It also means that consuming additional water in food can cause serious issues, since they do not expel the water. Too much water will cause bloating, sickness and diarrhoea.
But this doesn’t mean your chinchilla can’t eat cilantro in small amounts. The leaf has a unique taste that your chinchilla will love. Just make sure to feed your pet a small amount only, as a treat or as a reward for good behavior.
I recommend only feeding your chinchilla a pinky finger’s amount of cilantro once or twice a week. And make sure you don’t leave any stray leaves lying around for your curious chinchilla to get its paws on!
Can Chinchillas Have Fresh Herbs?
Just like cilantro, chinchillas can also eat other fresh herbs in small amounts. Herbs you can feed your chinchilla that it will love include parsley, dill and basil. All herbs have a unique taste and as curious creatures, they will love to try any new herbs and greens.
You should still only feed your chinchilla a small amount of these herbs and not all at the same time. Similar to cilantro, they have a high water content and too much of this will cause your chinchilla to have digestive issues.
What Dried Herbs Can Chinchillas Eat?
Dried herbs are a different story, since they do not contain much water. Herbs that are both safe and healthy for your chinchilla to eat are cilantro, dandelion leaves, rosemary and parsley. These herbs are high in vitamins and nutrients that will help to keep your chinchilla healthy.
They are also a great source of fiber, which chinchillas need a lot of in their diet. If you feed them in moderation, these herbs will help your chinchilla digest its food. You can even mix small amounts into your pet’s hay or pellets to add a unique taste and provide extra nutrients and fiber.
Can Chinchillas Have Thyme?
Chinchillas can have thyme which also makes a tasty treat. Just like other herbs, it is high in vitamins and minerals. You can feed your pet thyme either dried or fresh.
Of course, dried is better. Fresh thyme has a much higher amount of water, so you’ll need to make sure you limit the amount you feed your pet to a tiny bit, just as with cilantro and other fresh herbs.
What Plants Are Toxic To Chinchillas?
Plants that are toxic to chinchillas include foxglove, lily, rose, periwinkle, aloe vera, boxwood, apple leaf, poppy, tulip and fern. And that’s just to name a few. You should keep these plants far away from your chinchilla and out of your house, because even just consuming a small amount can be toxic and even fatal to your chinchilla.
If you are unsure that any plants in your home may be toxic for your chinchilla then consult with your vet for advice. For a list of flowers chinchillas can eat, read this.
Can Chinchillas Have Cilantro: Final Thoughts
Yes, chinchillas can eat cilantro. They can eat both fresh and dried cilantro, but dried is better. The fresh version contains a lot of water, which can cause trouble for a chinchilla’s digestive system.
That said, they love the taste of fresh cilantro, so you may still want to give it to your pet as an occasional treat. If that is the case, limit the amount to a piece the size of your pinky finger and only once or twice a week.