Can Chinchillas Get Fat?

Chinchilla natural habitat

Chinchillas can get fat, but it’s usually from the food they eat. The food they eat is up to their owner or, as I like to call them, their chinchilla parent. Chinchillas have a small selection in the wild. Their foods are mostly hay and grasses with a few other nibbles they find while foraging or grazing. I’m not sure whether they forage for food or graze, something like what cattle, sheep, or goats do.

Most chinchillas aren’t naturally fat. They may appear chubby, but most of that is their thick fur. They have up to fifty hairs per follicle. With that many hairs, they tend to appear fat.

Long-tailed chinchillas weigh between 370 and 490g or from one pound to just over a pound, and Short-tailed chinchillas weigh between 1.1kg and 1.4kg or around 3lbs, give or take a bit. Those are general estimated weights. Your chinchilla’s weight could vary either lighter or heavier than these numbers, but you should check with your vet to be sure your chinchilla is healthy and that they aren’t too heavy or too light.

What Should I Feed My Chinchilla?

Your chinchilla should be on a diet of Timothy hay and possibly pellets that are specific for chinchillas. No rabbit pellets. They aren’t the same. Timothy hay is high in fiber but low in fat and protein, so they need lots of it to get enough nutrients. If this is their diet, they really can’t get fat even if they munch all day.

Chinchillas can get fat, though, if they eat too many treats. Treats should be fed sparingly. Nuts and seeds have lots of vitamins and minerals but have lots of calories. If you overfeed these treats to your chinchilla, they may become overweight.

Make Sure Your Chinchilla Exercises

Your chinchilla should get a lot of exercises. They are active creatures and should scamper and jump around their cage. If you have your chinchilla in a smaller enclosure, you may have to let them out to play in your room or another area that is chinchilla safe. Plenty of exercises will also help your chinchilla stay at a healthy weight.

Suppose your chinchilla isn’t active and won’t play. You should take your chinchilla to an exotic pet vet specializing in animals like the chinchilla to find out if something is wrong.

Tummy Troubles

Chinchillas can experience gastrointestinal stasis or GI stasis. This stasis causes the normal digestive cycle to slow and eventually stop altogether. As you probably guessed, this isn’t a good thing. This disorder can happen with a poor diet. Your chinchilla needs their Timothy hay or other good hay or grass as their main diet, which gives them the fiber they need to keep the digestive cycle going.

This issue happens because of a poor diet, which can result in temporary weight and size gain.

Signs of stasis:

1. Your chinchilla will first stop eating its core diet (Timothy hay). Your chinchilla may persist eating treats but will eventually stop eating those too.  

2. Fecal pellets are small and passed less frequently, although diarrhea may occur.

3. Your chinchilla becomes bloated as food and gas accumulate in its stomach and intestines.

Gastrointestinal stasis won’t cause weight gain, but your chinchilla may feel as though they gained weight because they are bloating, and the food and treats they ate remain stuck. Your chinchilla will weigh more, but this is more severe than just gaining weight. If you suspect stasis in your chinchilla, you should take them to the vet ASAP.  

Conclusion

Chinchillas look naturally chubby, mainly down to their fur, but they do have healthy weights that they should be. Your chinchilla can gain weight if fed too many treats that are high in fat. Seeds and nuts are the worst culprits. However, you can give them to your chinchilla as a treat but do so sparingly.  Chinchillas are individual beings also, and their weight won’t all be the same. Some chinchillas are larger and heavier, others smaller and lighter. You should make sure you are aware of your particular chinchilla or chinchillas and their weights.

Any questions or comments, please leave them below. We’d love to hear from you.

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