Potatoes are a food staple in many countries.
They are cheap and readily available.
And they don’t appear to have the same issue as many fruits or vegetables for chinchillas.
Namely a high water and/or sugar content.
But there is a major problem with potatoes.
In addition to that problem, they don’t offer much nutritional value for a chinchilla.
Plus, the flavor isn’t anything special either.
What does it all mean? Are potatoes off limits? Or something you can feed, but there is no good reason to, because there are many better options?
Keep reading to find out. We will cover everything you need to know about feeding potatoes to your chinchilla, including all forms and parts, like potato chips, french fries, or potato peels.
- 1 Can Chinchillas Eat Potatoes?
- 2 Can Chinchillas Eat Potato Chips?
- 3 Can Chinchillas Eat French Fries?
- 4 Can Chinchillas Eat Potato Peels?
- 5 Can Chinchillas Have Potatoes: Final Thoughts
Can Chinchillas Eat Potatoes?
Chinchillas can eat potatoes, but it is best not to feed them to your pet. They can become toxic for your chinchilla in large quantities. And with an animal this small, ‘large quantities’ are not all that large.
Let’s find out exactly what the issue is with potatoes. After that, we’ll take a closer look at various forms of potatoes and see if any of them make a good snack for a chinchilla.
Why Chinchillas Should Not Eat Potatoes
Apart from being nutritionally inadequate, potatoes also contain high amounts of solanine, which can be toxic if your chinchilla eats too much of this. Solanine can be found in all parts of the potato including the skin and flesh.
Moreover, potatoes contain phosphorus and they are fairly acidic. Both can cause problems for a chinchilla’s sensitive digestive system.
And because of the toxic solanine, if your chinchilla eats too much potato, cooked or raw, it could be fatal for your pet. That said, feeding your chinchilla a small amount of potato will not cause any harm. But why risk it?
There are much tastier foods to feed your little friend. Plus, as mentioned, potatoes don’t really offer any nutritional value to chinchillas.
Can Chinchillas Eat Green Potatoes?
You may have found some potatoes in your cupboard that have been there a while and have started to go green or have sprouted little roots on the skin. If you’re wondering if these potatoes would be a good choice to feed your chinchilla, the answer is a resounding “no!”
Potatoes that have gone green may actually be worse for your chinchilla than fresh, white potatoes. This is because the greenness shows signs of light exposure, which can cause solanine to develop even more.
That means the potatoes will be even more harmful to your chinchilla. You should just throw these potatoes away. They are not any good for you or your chinchilla!
Can Chinchillas Eat Cooked Potatoes?
It is not safe to feed your chinchilla cooked potatoes either. Even though cooked potatoes generally have lower solanine levels, assuming the skins have been removed, they still contain a high enough amount to be toxic for your chinchilla.
Not only this, but cooked potatoes are often processed foods, which makes them even unhealthier. For example, french fries are cooked in high amounts of oil, making them far too fatty for your chinchilla.
It is difficult for your chinchilla’s sensitive digestive system to handle too much fat, since it can prevent them from digesting their foods properly.
Can Chinchillas Eat Mashed Potatoes?
Yes, chinchillas can eat mashed potatoes, but it is best not to feed them to your pet. he same goes here as for cooked potatoes. In fact, since most people make mashed potatoes with butter or cream, they are actually worse than cooked potatoes that have simply been boiled or baked.
How About Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are a better food for chinchillas. They do not contain solanine, so they are a much healthier option.
You should still refrain from feeding high amounts of sweet potato to your chinchilla, because it can cause a build-up of cyanide in their stomach, which may cause a lot of pain for your pet.
Cooked sweet potatoes are the safest option to feed your chinchilla, since they have reduced levels of cyanide. But cooked sweet potato is still low in fiber and high in sugar. That means it is not the best food option to feed your chinchilla.
Can Chinchillas Eat Potato Chips?
Chinchillas should not eat potato chips. Potato chips still contain solanine. Worse, they are a processed food, which makes them especially unhealthy for your chinchilla to eat. Potato chips may also contain different flavourings and be highly salty, both of which can be unhealthy for your chinchilla.
Along with being toxic in larger amounts, potato chips are also extremely high in fat. That can have other health effects on your chinchilla, such as weight gain and heart conditions.
Can Chinchillas Eat French Fries?
Chinchillas should not eat french fries. The same goes for french fries as for potato chips. If you bake the fries in the oven, they are much better, since they won’t be so oily. But they are still potatoes and have all of the issues we have already discussed.
Can Chinchillas Eat Potato Peels?
Chinchillas can not eat potato peels. The peels are the part of the potato that contains the most solanine, so I would advise not feeding your chinchilla any potato peels at all.
Feeding your chinchilla a whole potato peel from one potato could be incredibly dangerous and even become fatal. The best thing you can do with your potato peel is to throw it out and keep it as far away from your chinchilla as possible.
Can Chinchillas Have Potatoes: Final Thoughts
Chinchillas can eat potatoes, but they are one vegetable it is best to avoid altogether. Not only do they offer little in the way of nutrition, but the also contain solanine, which is toxic to chinchillas.
If you want to feed your pet potato, stick to a tiny amount the size of your fingernail. And only feed this amount once or twice a week. But it is much better to just avoid potatoes altogether and instead give your chinchilla healthier chinchilla treats.