Read About Chinchilla Care

Proper chinchilla care means providing your pet with adequate housing, nutrition and human contact. Chinchillas are very soft and cuddly and originally came from the South American mountains. Chinchillas come in a variety of colors. Chinchillas are nocturnal rodents that live for 10 to 20 years – a long time for a rodent. With such a long life expectancy, you are making a commitment to love and care for your chinchilla for his or her whole lifetime.

Chinchillas should be purchased when they are about 10 weeks old. Frequent and gentle handling will accustom your Imagechinchilla to interact with your family. Handling will prevent an aloof and aggressive adult. You will need to be careful when handling a chinchilla near the ribs as the ribs float and can be damaged if handled too roughly or squeezed. Due to their quickness and strength, chinchillas make better pets for older children and adults.

Chinchilla houses should be large enough to allow the adult ample room to run around and areas for eating, sleeping and bathing. Since chinchillas are large rodents, the cage should be at least 2’ wide x 2’ deep x 3' high with a solid bottom. The mesh on the screen should not be any larger than 1” x ½” of the sides and top. Chinchilla houses can be multi-level with ramps for added diversion. Within the house, you will need to provide clean, fresh water and food daily. Water bottles need to be glass or plastic protected from persistent chewing. Food dishes need to be deep so that the chinchillas can not over turn them and scatter the food. Houses need to be kept in a draft free area that will not get too hot. Chinchillas can die from heat stroke if temperatures climb over 70 degrees F and the air is humid. All cages should include a deep layer of plain, non-cedar, unscented wood shavings.

Chinchilla care also requires a good healthy diet. Chinchillas are vegetarians so a commercial chinchilla or guinea pig food is recommended. Timothy hay or alfalfa, provided fresh or in cubes, is essential to good digestion. Chinchillas can not tolerate fruit or nuts, these can cause diarrhea. Great treats include shredded wheat (without sugar) or whole wheat toast. Since chinchillas have somewhat of a sensitive digestive system, consistent feeding of one brand of food is recommended. If it is necessary to change the diet, increase the new diet slowly over a period of a week or so.

Chinchillas enjoy taking dust baths. For good chinchilla care, you should provide time (a few minutes at most) for a dust bath every day or every other day. Dust baths can be offered in a shallow pan or enclosed house that will catch the dust as it is shaken off. Make sure that the dust is recommended for chinchillas so that it will not cause respiratory problems. Cornstarch and corn meal also make adequate dust.

Exercise is an important part of chinchilla care. Toys they like include a covered exercise wheel, plastic whiffle balls, blocks of untreated wood, PVC tubes and paper rolls. They need plenty of time to stretch Imagetheir legs and enjoy supervised play outside of the cage as well. Just make sure that the room is rodent proof (no escape routes, electric cords to chew on, etc.) before letting the chinchilla out to explore.

Since chinchillas are such long lived small pets, they will need veterinarian visits from time to time. Though they do not need vaccinations, chinchillas do require occasional thorough examines to check for common chinchilla ailments as well as allowing the nails and possibly teeth to be trimmed. Chinchilla care requires moderate maintenance.