We all know that vegetables are healthy.
You may also know that most vegetables are not all that healthy for chinchillas.
Their sensitive digestive system simply isn’t built to handle the high water and sugar content.
Does that apply to sweet potatoes, too? Or can chinchillas eat sweet potatoes without issue?
Like most other vegetables,the answer is not a simple yes or no.
Keep reading to learn whether chinchillas can eat sweet potatoes, plus everything else you need to know about feeding this vegetable to your chinchilla.
Can Chinchillas Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, chinchillas can eat sweet potatoes. They are not the best snack to feed a chinchilla, but they are not toxic either. The high sugar content means you can only ever feed a tiny amount
Ideally, you should just avoid potatoes altogether. But if you limit the amount, a little sweet potato is fine for your chinchilla. They do not contain the toxic compound that you find in white potatoes.
Sweet Potato Vs White Potato
Even though chinchillas can eat a small portion of sweet potato, it is best to avoid feeding them this vegetable. They can also eat a small portion of white potato, but feeding too much of those is more dangerous.
For that reason, you definitely keep white potatoes away from your chinchilla The reason for this is the solanine in white potatoes. You can find it in the skin of a potato and also in the flesh. But you do not find this element in sweet potatoes.
Solanine is toxic for chinchillas. In fact, high levels of solanine can even be fatal for a human. Due to the chinchilla’s small size, even a small amount of potato can be fatal.
While sweet potatoes do not contain solanine, too much of that can also be dangerous. That is why chinchillas can not eat white potatoes.
But the chance of death is much lower with sweet potatoes. They contain a lot of water and sugar. Too much of either of these can have a harmful effect on your chinchilla, leading to bloating, sickness and diarrhea.
Can I Feed My Chinchilla Cooked Sweet Potato?
If you’re going to feed your chinchilla any type of sweet potato at all, it is better to feed it raw sweet potato. Chinchillas like raw, harder foods. This allows them to gnaw on the food, which helps grind down their ever-growing teeth.
Your chinchilla may also not like how soft and fluffy a raw sweet potato feels when it tries to eat it. Of course, every chinchilla is different and you may find your chinchilla loves cooked sweet potato. But it is more common for a chinchilla to prefer it raw.
Keep It As A Treat
Sweet potato should never be more than an occasional treat. It does not have much nutritional value for a chinchilla, since it is low in fiber and high in sugar. And, as mentioned, too much of it can be harmful.
If you decide to give your chinchilla a small amount as a treat, limit it to no more than the size of your smallest fingernail, and only once or twice a week. Feeding any more than this can lead to bloating, loose stool, stomach pains, and in the long run, obesity.
Can Chinchillas Have Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes?
Similar to raw potatoes, you should only feed your chinchilla dehydrated potatoes in small amounts. Even though the water content will be significantly less, there is still a high amount of sugar and a small amount of fiber, which isn’t great for your chinchilla’s diet.
In fact, with dried sweet potato, your chinchilla actually ends up eating more sugar than with a raw potato, since the sugar content is more concentrated. So you definitely want to stick to a tiny amount that you feed to your pet no more than twice a week.
What Are The Best Snacks For Chinchillas?
The best snacks for chinchillas are dried fruits, root vegetables, sticks or herbs. This can include snacks such as raisins, sultanas or dried carrots. Chinchillas also love dried herbs or flower petals for something with a more unique taste.
Any snack you give your chinchilla, make sure you do so in small quantities only. The same goes for them as for us. For example, much as we might like to sometimes, we shouldn’t eat a bag of potato chips as our primary meal. And we certainly shouldn’t do so every single day!
Your chinchilla should not have treats as its primary meal either. Chinchillas should eat primarily Timothy hay and food pellets. Treats should make up no more than 10% of their calories.
Treats can be great for a chinchilla to have a couple of times a week and in small amounts, but any more than this can start to have an impact on your pet’s health.
Can Chinchillas Have Sweet Potatoes: Final Thoughts
Chinchillas can eat sweet potatoes, but only in very small amounts. Limit it to a fingernail-sized piece once or twice a week. That said, it is probably best to just avoid sweet potatoes altogether.
This vegetable has a lot of sugar, which can wreak havoc on a chinchilla’s sensitive digestive system. On top of that, sweet potatoes don’t offer much nutritional values at all for chinchillas. You’re much better off giving your pet something else to snack on.