Endemic to Mexico, jicama is known by many names including yam bean, Mexican potato, Chinese turnip, Mexican water chestnut, etc. Low in calories and rich in nutrients, fresh jicama roots make a nutritious snack for humans. But what about our little furry friends. Can guinea pigs eat jicama?
Well, fresh jicama tubes are safe for guinea pigs to eat in moderate amounts as a treat. But there is more to this question. Continue reading to learn all about guinea pigs and jicamas.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Jicama?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat jicama—raw and peeled—in moderate amounts.
Jicama is a great source of vitamin C and fibers for guinea pigs, but eating in excess could lead to upset stomach and other health issues.
While you can feed raw and peeled jicama to guinea pigs, you should never feed jicama leaves, beans, and skin to guinea pigs as they contain a toxin named rotenone. Besides that, you should also avoid pickled, cooked, or frozen jicamas for guinea pigs, as processed food does not sit well with guinea pig stomachs.
Nutrient Profile of Jicama for Guinea Pigs
Before we determine if jicama has to offer any health benefits to guinea pigs, or how much and how often you should offer jicama to guinea pigs, we need to take a look at the nutrient profile of guinea pigs. Below, we have listed some important nutrients present in 100 grams of jicama, according to USDA Food Central.
|Nutrients||Amount per 100g|
Are Jicamas Good For Guinea Pigs?
High in useful nutrients, fibers, and antioxidants, jicama makes a healthy snack for guinea pigs. when consumed in moderation, vitamin C in jicama will help keep scurvy away, fibers will support smooth digestion, and antioxidants (beta carotene, thiamin, selenium, and vitamin C and E) will help reduce the risk of diseases in guinea pigs.
Below we have discussed the health benefits of jicama for guinea pigs.
· Fibers in Jicama Help Guinea Pigs With Digestion
Dietary fibers are crucial for guinea pigs for the smooth functioning of the digestive system. As per the nutrient profile of jicamas, there are 4.9g of fibers in 100g of jicama. These dietary fibers would boost the gastrointestinal health of guinea pigs. But you should keep in mind that too much fiber could lead to stomach upset, loose stool, and diarrhea in guinea pigs.
· Brimming With Antioxidants, Jicama Reduce Risk of Diseases
Jicama contains a variety of antioxidants. The above nutrient profile of jicama shows the presence of vitamins C and E, thiamin, selenium, and beta carotene. These antioxidants help guinea pigs fight free radical damage and reduce the risk of cancer in guinea pigs.
· Vitamin C in Jicama Help Keep Scurvy at Bay
Like humans, guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C and thus need it in their diet. The deficiency of vitamin C leads to scurvy in guinea pigs. But eating jicama could help guinea pigs keep scurvy at bay as there is around 20.2mg of vitamin C in 100g of jicama. You can also offer vitamin C supplements to your guinea pig to make sure that they don’t experience vitamin C deficiency. You can also offer other vitamin C-rich veggies like bell peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, etc.
Are Jicamas Bad For Guinea Pigs?
Though jicama has to offer a host of nutritional benefits to guinea pigs, it is not the best snack for guinea pigs. It poses a risk of toxicity and stomach upset in guinea pigs.
· There is a Toxin in Jicama Leaves And Peels
While peeled jicama root is safe to eat for guinea pigs, the rest of the plant (peel, leaves, and beans) is toxic. A toxin named rotenone is present in jicama leaves, beans, and peels. So by ingesting the toxic parts of the jicama plant, guinea pigs could get in trouble. They would experience stomach upset and if immediate care is not provided, the guinea pigs may even die.
· Eating Jicama in Excess Could Cause Diarrhea in Guinea Pigs
While eating peeled jicama in small amounts won’t cause any trouble, excessive consumption of jicama could lead to upset stomachs and diarrhea in guinea pigs. jicama is even known to cause upset stomachs in humans. So, it is no surprise that it would cause tummy troubles in guinea pigs.
Is Jicama Safe for Guinea Pigs?
While fresh, raw, peeled jicama is safe and healthy for guinea pigs to eat sparingly as a treat, jicama leaves, peels, and beans are toxic for guinea pigs. So, it is best that you keep jicama away from guinea pigs. if you still want to feed jicama to your piglet, know how to properly serve it to guinea pigs.
How to Feed Jicamas to Guinea Pigs?
For humans, the classic way of eating jicamas is by peeling them and cutting into matchsticks and then eating them, after refrigerating, by dipping them in lime juice, chili powder, and salt. But what about guinea pigs? How to serve jicamas to guinea pigs?
- Take raw and fresh jicama
- Peel the jicama entirely and carefully get rid of the peel
- Slice it into small bite-sized pieces and throw it in the guinea pig veggies mix
- Never offer jicama to guinea pigs more than once or twice a week
- Keep in mind that jicama leaves, beans, and peels are toxic to guinea pigs
- Never offer frozen, cooked, pickled, or otherwise processed jicama to guinea pigs
- Overall veggies should make around 15% to 20% of the whole guinea pig diet.
Final Verdict: Can Guinea Pigs Have Jicama?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat jicama. But you should be careful as jicama peel, beans, and leaves are toxic to guinea pigs. Where the moderate consumption of peeled jicama would be healthy for guinea pigs, nibbling on the rest of the plant could lead them to an emergency.
Check out other guides to what guinea pigs can or cannot eat: