What Do Chinchillas Eat in the Wild?

If you have adopted one or more chinchilla rabbits then you know that you want to look after them to the best of your knowledge. The chinchilla rabbits aren’t quite the same as the wild chinchillas. The pet chinchillas are a group of three different rabbit breeds that have been carefully bred to look like one of two species of rodents – the Chinchilla chinchilla and the Chinchilla lanigera.

This animal is native to South America. The chinchilla rabbits have a similar brown coat like the rodents, with a yellow pigment to their hairs that makes it appear almost white. The first rabbits bred to look like chinchillas were the Standard Chinchillas.

There are also the American Chinchillas, and the Giant Chinchillas. You may be curious as to what chinchillas eat in the wild, and if this information can assist you in looking after your own small pet. 

What Do Domesticated House Chinchilla Rabbits Eat?

No, the diets between house chinchillas and wild chinchillas are completely different. One of the reasons is because we care for our house pets and try to provide the proper nutrients for them. For example, your pet chinchilla needs to have a ready supply of pure hay, without it containing any nuts, seeds, or dried fruits. 80 to 90 percent of their diet should contain this high quality hay grass.

The best types are timothy hay and orchard grass hay. This hay is sold in the form of pellets that do not contain any other ingredients. You can still feed your rabbit fresh produce, but preferably greens and herbs such as arugula, spinach, chard, green leaf lettuce, etc.

Just like with other pets, you never want to feed your rabbit foods that are high in sugar. If you want to feed them high-sugar vegetables, such as carrots and corn, only do it in small quantities as a treat. You may still give them a small amount of fruit or nuts. It’s also important to supply them a fresh source of water. 

What Do Wild Chinchillas Eat?

Wild chinchillas don’t have the benefits of being fed by humans. They originate in South America, so have evolved to live in a dry and harsh environment. This means that only persistent vegetation has been able to survive in this region.

Wild chinchillas are actually omnivores, as they are rodents, who hunt or gather any types of foods to eat. They have a varied diet that consists of grass, leaves, and even flowers. They do eat seeds and nuts too. They will also eat fruit, such as berries, and will also eat small insects and even bird eggs if they find them. 

Do Wild Chinchillas Hunt?

No, wild chinchillas do not hunt smaller prey animals such as rats or mice. They are not carnivores, such as coyotes or wild cats. They are omnivores, meaning they forage for food of all types. They are actually prey animals too, meaning that larger animals may eat them. Generally, wild chinchillas would not eat meat, such as rabbit or mouse, even if it were a carcass laying on the ground.

However, if you want to include insects, they do eat insects and may “hunt” for them on the ground. Their favorite insects to eat include grasshoppers and moths. They also can climb trees extremely well, so that they can eat birds’ eggs too. 

What Would Abandoned Chinchillas Eat?

Wild chinchillas and domesticated chinchillas are two different species. You may wonder, because you’ve seen cute chinchillas out in the wild. Unfortunately, pet rabbits are often dumped outside. (Never do this –contact a local pet rescue facility first!) It’s extremely cruel to drop a domesticated animal outdoors (of any species!), thinking they’ll be fine on their own.

They won’t be fine. A pet that’s used to their owner giving them food is going to have extreme difficulties in finding food. Even a dog or cat may not know how to hunt for mice or rats to survive.) Even though this is a sad question, a pet rabbit is going to eat grass, weeds, clover, and any berry fruits or vegetables in that area. They’ll also eat flowers. In colder months, they will eat buds, bark, twigs, needles, and green plants. 

Can I Feed My Chinchilla Protein?

Yes, you can supplement their diet with small amounts of protein, which is a nutrient that all mammals require. This can be in the form of mealworms or fish meal. A rabbit is unlikely to eat a piece of meat, so powdered supplements mixed in with their food is best. 

What If I Need Assistance with My Rabbit?

If you feel that you can do better for your bunny, or that their current diet isn’t working for them (diarrhea or vomiting), then book an appointment with a rabbit veterinarian who can assist you in providing a healthy diet plan. 

What Are the Differences Between the 2 Diets?

You can see now that whether we are talking about wild chinchillas or rabbits in the wild, that their diets are extremely different than what your indoor pet chinchilla rabbit requires. Your pet doesn’t need to forage for food as you supply it to them.

For this reason, you should not feed your pet rabbit the same diet as a rodent, or vice versa if you have a wild chinchilla you have rescued. Both types of animals require different nutrient values of foods. It’s also important to keep your pet healthy, and not expose them to microorganisms that could potentially make them sick. 

As you can see, pet chinchillas and wild chinchillas are different from each other. Even an abandoned pet chinchilla rabbit in the wild is going to eat a significantly different diet. With all of our medical advances today, we can offer our pet rabbits a healthy diet that will provide all the nutrients that your beloved bunny needs, as well as be delicious enough for them to enjoy their meals too!

The more research you do on pet chinchilla rabbits, the more you’ll know about your new furry family member, so that they have a happy, healthy, and long life with you and your family!


Hi, I'm Mason, I've kept small animals as pets since I was 8 years old. I love to learn and talk about them basically every day. Over the years I've adopted small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

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