Chinchillas are cute little rodents that make excellent pets. They’re fun-loving, affectionate, and also known for their love of food. But can chinchillas eat kale?
Surprisingly, the answer to this is no – chinchillas cannot eat kale. While they can enjoy some other leafy greens such as lettuce, kale can create some painful digestive issues for a chinchilla. As such, it’s best to leave it out of their diet.
Below, we’ll look at this in more detail. We’ll also explore some excellent substitutes for kale that will give your pet chinchilla just as many vitamins and minerals, but without causing them any harm.
Why You Shouldn’t Feed Kale To A Chinchilla
Kale is an extremely nutritious vegetable. It contains high levels of vitamin C, calcium, iron, fiber, and antioxidants. It has even been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
But while these benefits may be great for humans and some other animals, it should never be given to a chinchilla. But why is this? Well, there are two main reasons why you shouldn’t feed kale to a chinchilla.
1) The leaves contain oxalic acid which can cause kidney stones in chinchillas. This is true for all members of the cabbage family including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress, and others.
2)Kale can cause digestive issues when eaten by a chinchilla. In fact, it can cause serious stomach ulcers, inflammation, diarrhea and, in some extreme cases, even death.
Some people also believe that feeding kale to chinchillas is good for their teeth as the tough stems can take some chewing to get through. However, this isn’t actually true. In fact, it could do more damage than good. If you’re concerned about your chinchilla’s dental health, then you might want to consider giving them a special diet instead.
The Best Substitutes For Kale That Will Keep Your Chinchilla Healthy
If you want to feed your chinchilla healthy greens, then you need to find something else instead. Below, we’ve listed some fantastic alternatives that will still provide your pet with plenty of nutrition.
Just like kale, spinach is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables on earth. It’s packed full of vitamins A, B6, C, E, folate, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and biotin. It’s also very low in calories.
As such, it makes a perfect substitute for kale. It’s also easy to grow at home so you don’t have to worry about buying it from the store. And unlike kale, it doesn’t require much maintenance either.
You can use fresh or frozen spinach in your chinchillas’ diet. Both options work well.
Like kale, lettuce is another member of the cabbage family. However, it’s one of the only members of that family that it’s safe for chinchillas to eat. It’s also incredibly healthy. Like kale, it’s rich in nutrients like vitamin K, beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, protein, and fiber.
It’s also relatively low in calories. So if you’re looking for something healthier than kale, then lettuce is definitely the way forward.
It’s important to note that chinchillas can find lettuce quite bitter. So you’ll need to add some sort of sweet vegetable or fruit alongside it to make sure they enjoy eating it.
This green herb is just as delicious as its name suggests. It’s packed full with lots of nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, folates, iron, and minerals.
In addition to being tasty, parsley is also easy to grow at your own home. You can plant it directly into your garden or buy it ready grown at the supermarket. Either way, it’s an excellent choice for a chinchilla’s diet.
Believe it or not, grass is also a fantastic alternative to kale. It contains similar levels of nutrients to kale but without any of the risks associated with eating it. However, you should always make sure that no chemical fertilizers or pesticides have been used when growing. If in doubt, buy organic grass and make sure you thoroughly wash it before feeding it to your chinchilla.
So there you go! Chinchillas shouldn’t be given kale. You should also avoid giving them any other member of the brassica family of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Luckily, however, there are some excellent alternatives to kale that your chinchilla won’t only love eating, but will get loads of nutritional value from as well.