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One of the better ways to know what to feed an exotic animal (especially those with not much information about domesticating on the internet), is to know what NOT to feed them, and from there, you can pretty much narrow your options. For young capybaras, their digestive system could not cope with all types of food, making it difficult for first-time owners to understand what to feed and what not to feed. To save you from trouble and to keep your capybara from dying prematurely due to bad diet, here are some tips.
These animals have developed a digestive system rich in fiber and quite low in nutritional content. If you want your pets to be healthy and live longer, than your best bet is to try to replicate their natural diet as closely as possible.
What NOT to Give To Your Pet Capybaras
To start with, NEVER feed your capybara anything with added sugar, sweet fruits and candies. Also, no junk food and bird seed. Rodents are particularly addicted to sweets and foods with sugar. Also, when you introduce your pet to this kind of food, they will become more interested with it and lose interest in other food.
Other than stress, sugar is one of the most dangerous and life-threatening factor for pet capybaras. They don’t have natural the same level of tolerance for unnatural foods like humans. Some have highly sensitive digestive system, and in the case of capybaras, scientists consider their digestive system is considered their “weak link”, as they can die for bad diet.
Thus, they should never be given anything with it, such as ice cream, candies, ice lollies, or even sweetened yoghurt. The same goes with junk food. Though this may seem like common sense, it is quite surprising how many people fail to realize this. Many uninformed owners feed or let their kids feed their capybaras whatever junk food they’re eating.
Also, veterinarians warn about feeding capybaras naturally occurring sugar such as sweet fruits and veggies like sweet corn. So if that’s highly discouraged, then imagine how disastrous added sugar can be for these animals. Consequently, large amount of sugar, even from natural sources, can cause heart and liver problems for these animals.
What to Give To Your Pet Capybaras
As herbivores, their diet consists of grasses in the wild, almost exclusively just grasses. In captivity of course, you can feed them with something more convenient for you, such as livestock feed, guinea pig feed, or hay and fresh grass. They get plenty of enough nutrients from variety of fresh food choices in the wild, especially vitamin C. However, they don’t naturally produce enough level of vitamin C, and deficiency of this nutrient will result to development of scurvy. Thus, if you can’t always provide fresh grass, then you must supplement vitamin C in their diet, which are easily found in commercial guinea pig food. Of course, they can be very costly, especially for multiple of adult capybaras.
Low-quality hay is more suited for this animal’s digestive system, while fresh grass promotes coarse grazing, which is important for their dental health. You can also provide some twigs and stones to help them in their natural self-help dentistry and keep their teeth healthy.