Who doesn’t love popcorn?
It is a delicious treat for humans and chinchillas alike.
But just because your chinchilla loves it, that does not mean it is good for them.
Or even safe for them.
Can chinchillas eat popcorn? Or is it another on a long list of foods their delicate digestive systems just can’t handle.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding your chinchilla popcorn.
Can Chinchillas Eat Popcorn?
Chinchillas can eat popcorn, but it is best not to feed it to them. It is not toxic to them, but if you do feed it, make sure you only feed tiny amounts.
Chinchillas have sensitive stomachs and digestive systems. For that reason, they have a hard time with many foods. That is why their diet should primarily consist of food pellets and hay.
But like all of us, they do enjoy the occasional treat. Popcorn is something most chinchillas especially enjoy. But they can only have a tiny bit of it, because it can cause them serious digestive issues.
Digestive Effects Of Popcorn In Chinchillas
The main reason you should not feed your chinchilla too much popcorn is that it can wreak havoc on its digestive system.
Popcorn is not a food that you can feed to a chinchilla as part of its everyday diet, because even small amounts can cause your chinchilla’s stools to come out runnier than usual.
Popcorn is high in fat and carbs. Too many carbs can cause your chinchilla to bloat. And bloating can cause a range of digestive issues and stomach pain.
It is also a high-calorie food for chinchillas. Every 100 grams of popcorn contains 387 calories. Chinchillas should only eat 200 calories for every 100 grams of food.
Why Chinchillas Like Popcorn
For one, popcorn is a novelty. Because you can not feed much of it and you can not feed it often, they see it as a new food. That alone sparks some interest towards it.
Chinchillas like anything that is new. On top of that, popcorn is delicious and addicting. You know as well as I do, that once you start eating popcorn, it’s very hard to stop.
Chinchillas also love high-calorie foods. In the wild, food is hard to come by. On the rare occasion that they come across a food that is high in calories, they eat as much of it as they can.
They do not know when, if ever, they will encounter such a food again. They need to take advantage. Of course, a captive chinchilla does not face this issue, but they don’t know that.
If you give them a lot of high-calorie foods, they will eat as much as they possibly can. They are hardwired to do so and they don’t know that there will always be another meal coming.
We already mentioned the digestive issues that can come with foods high in carbohydrates, but there is another issue. It is the same one we have with high-calorie foods.
They make us fat. And chinchillas suffer the same fate. Feeding your chinchilla too many high-calorie foods can lead to weight gain. Of course, with an animal so small, it takes far fewer calories. And even a small amount of weight gain is far more dangerous to them.
If you want to avoid feeding your chinchilla popcorn (good idea), but still want to give it a tasty treat, there are lots of other food options you can give it. A few options that won’t cause digestive issues for your chinchilla include shredded wheat, rose hips and botanical hay.
Shredded wheat has lots of fiber, which is essential for your chinchilla. It is also low in calories and fat. Just make sure you’re feeding your chinchilla the plain type of cereal. Avoiding anything sugared, coated in syrup, or frosted
Rose hips are the fruit part of a rose flower. Chinchillas especially like dried rose hips, because they will have more texture and a unique taste.
Botanical hay is basically hay that has added herbs. Your chinchilla will get all of its essential nutrients from the hay, with an added herby twist to make it more interesting.
What Is A Chinchilla’s Favorite Snack?
All chinchillas are different, so they aren’t all going to have the same favorite snack. You should try feeding your chinchilla different options to see what it likes best. You can generally tell what your chin love by how fast and enthusiastically it eats the snack compared to others.
Many chinchillas also love flowers. They love the unique and sweet taste flowers have. And dried flowers make the perfect treat.
You can also try feeding your chinchilla willow and grape leaves. These also make a tasty alternative. Other snack options that your chinchilla would love include pumpkin or hay cookies, rolled oats and even pear sticks.
You can pick up all of your chinchilla’s favorite snacks from your local pet store or even online.
Can Chinchillas Have Popcorn: Final Thoughts
Chinchillas can eat popcorn, but only in very small amounts. In fact, it is generally best to just avoid feeding your chin popcorn at all and just give it one of the many far healthier alternatives instead.
The big problem with popcorn is that it is high in calories. And the calories are from carbohydrates and fat. Carbs are especially hard on a chinchillas digestive system. In addition, too much popcorn can cause weight gain and eventually obesity.
All that said, popcorn is not toxic and will not cause any harm, if the amount you feed is tiny. That makes it different from corn itself. Can chinchillas eat corn at all? No, they cannot. Do not feed your pet corn.