Watermelon is a sweet, delicious part of summertime barbeques and a healthy treat for humans. Many other animals enjoy the taste and water content of this fruit as well, but what about chinchillas specifically?
Can chinchillas eat watermelon?
Chinchilla owners should think twice about offering their pet watermelon. This goes for both the rind and the juicy red fruit itself.
Chinchillas are not able to safely eat watermelon. This sweet fruit contains high amounts of sugars, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues if too much is ingested. It is best to keep your chinchilla away from watermelon altogether.
Let’s take a closer look at why watermelon is not recommended as part of a chinchilla’s diet, even as an occasional treat.
Why Can’t Chinchillas Eat Watermelon?
Although chinchillas enjoy some fruits and vegetables, there are many they cannot eat due to their sensitive digestive systems. Watermelon is one of these fruits that should be avoided.
Below are some of the undesirable and often harmful effects of watermelon on your chinchilla.
Phosphorus, although an essential nutrient for skeletal health, can be overdone. Watermelons contain high levels of phosphorus and no calcium, which is its partner nutrient in building bone tissue. In order to keep a healthy balance in the chinchilla’s body, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two.
By eating watermelon, the chinchilla gains high levels of phosphorus with no gain in calcium. This may lead to nutritional disorders and the potential of weak and brittle bones.
Watermelon is a fruit with high sugar content. It’s what gives it the much-loved sweet, juicy taste. Such high levels of sugar are the opposite of a chinchilla’s natural diet.
High sugar content, if eaten regularly by anyone, may result in many problems, such as digestive issues, diabetes, and potential death. Chinchillas are even more susceptible to sugar overload. Chinchillas do not need a lot of sugar within their diet and should stay away from it as much as possible.
It is also important to note that dried pieces of watermelon will include the same high amounts of sugar if not more. Dried watermelon should also be avoided.
While it is true that watermelon is packed with many vitamins and minerals that are healthy, for small animals such as chinchillas, even small amounts can prove troublesome. Because watermelon has high levels of sugar and phosphorus, it doesn’t take much to become harmful for them.
Feeding watermelon to your chinchilla may result in digestive issues such as an overactive belly and may cause cramping, stomach pains, gas buildup (bloating), an inability to defecate, or diarrhea.
Healthy Alternatives to Watermelon
Although chinchillas are unable to eat watermelon, there are plenty of other fun and delicious treats that they will enjoy and that can provide them with nutrients for a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Note that these treats should be enjoyed in small pieces in small amounts to avoid choking and digestive issues.
Some Watermelon Alternatives:
- apples- preferrably green varieties
- some lettuce varieties
The information provided is not a suitable replacement for medical advice, if you believe your chinchilla is displaying odd or abnormal symptoms it is important to get them to a veterinarian right away to ensure they are cared for properly.