Chipmunks are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever they can get their paws on. In fact, their diets are so varied that they can even eat chocolate! But can chipmunks eat oranges?
The short answer is yes, chipmunks can eat oranges. However, there are some important things to note before you start leaving orange segments out for your chipmunk.
Below, we’ll take a look at everything you know about feeding oranges to chipmunks. We’ll explore the benefits, the dangers, and the safest way to give a chipmunk this citrus snack!
Why Do Chipmunks Eat Oranges?
There are a couple of reasons why chipmunks eat oranges. The first, and perhaps most obvious, is for the sweet, refreshing taste. Just like a lot of humans, chipmunks have a sweet tooth and will happily chomp away on oranges, strawberries, blueberries, and any other sweet fruit they’re given.
Chipmunks also love eating oranges because of all the vitamins and nutrients they contain. These help to keep them strong, healthy, and give them the energy they need to get through the day.
- Vitamin C – boosts the immune system and helps fight off infections
- Vitamin A – helps with vision, which is particularly important for nocturnal creatures
- Iron – helps build red blood cells
- Calcium – helps strengthen the bones
Oranges are a particular “golden find” for a chipmunk as winter approaches. This is because, in the wild, chipmunks hibernate. They only wake from time to time to nibble on whatever they’ve managed to stash in their underground food stores.
And, with food containing nutrients such as Vitamin C being so sparse during the winter months, oranges help to give them a good boost before they go to sleep for a few months.
Other Health Benefits Chipmunks Get From Eating Oranges
Aside from just providing a tasty treat, oranges are great for chipmunks’ health. We’ve explored some of the nutrients contained in oranges above, but they also contain fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. All of these are also essential for helping your chipmunk live a happy, healthy life.
Let’s look at fiber, first. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive tract. Getting plenty of fiber into your chipmunk’s diet ensures that their digestive system continues to work well and prevents any stomach or intestinal issues. This includes stomach cramps and diarrhea.
A chipmunk will also need the potassium found in oranges to maintain fluid balance and muscle function. This ensures that they are strong and that their muscles have the power they need to dart around their cage, burrow down, and act just as energetically as chipmunks are famed for!
Finally, the antioxidants found in oranges help to protect against free radicals. These are harmful compounds produced by our bodies that damage cells and tissues over time. The more antioxidants you include in your chipmunk’s diet, the better chance there is of them fulfilling their natural life expectancy.
What Are Some Of The Dangers Of Feeding Orange To Chipmunks?
As mentioned above, there are many benefits to giving your chipmunk an orange. However, there are also risks involved.
One danger is that you could end up poisoning your chipmunk if you feed them too much citrus fruit. If you do this, then you run the risk of causing kidney failure. Kidney problems can be fatal, especially when they occur suddenly. Your chipmunk may not show any symptoms until they have already started to suffer serious harm.
Another danger is that feeding your chipmunk too much fruit could lead to obesity. While this isn’t necessarily a risk when it comes to humans eating oranges, it can be very bad news for a chipmunk. Obesity is linked to heart disease and diabetes, both of which can be deadly.
This is due to the high natural sugar content of oranges. In fact, most fruits have a high natural sugar content and it’s this that makes them taste so sweet. So, regardless of what fruits you choose to feed your chipmunk, always make sure you do so in moderation.
How Do You Feed Oranges To A Chipmunk?
There are two easy ways to feed oranges to your chipmunk.
The first is to buy a bag of frozen orange segments. This is a super popular method as it’s much more affordable and cuts down on waste. Simply remove a couple of segments from the package at a time, allow them to thaw completely, and then pop them in your chipmunk’s food bowl.
The second method is to buy fresh oranges, peel them, and break them into segments. Put these in a bowl and leave them out for your chipmunk or let your chipmunk eat them out of your hand. Any remaining pieces can be stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use again.
However, it’s important to make sure you use the leftover orange segments as soon as possible. Otherwise, the Vitamin C may start to degrade.
If you’re going to use either option, make sure you only give your chipmunk one or two pieces of each orange. Too much citrus fruit can cause health issues including kidney problems, so don’t go overboard.
Feeding oranges to your chipmunks is a great way to keep them healthy and happy. They love the sweetness of the fruit and will enjoy the extra vitamins and minerals that come with it. It’s also a fun activity that will get your family interacting together.
So, whether you want to add some variety to your chipmunk’s daily routine or simply want to make them feel more loved than they already are, consider adding oranges to their diet.