How to Care for a Chinchilla as a Pet

How to Care for Your Chinchilla

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How to Care for a Pet Chinchilla

Chinchillas are small rodents that originate in South America in rocky and arid mountainous areas. Active and playful and with gentle handling from a young age, most chinchillas become quite docile and can bond close to their owners. But don't expect him to like being held and petted like cats and dogs. They usually don't, even if they express their love for you in a different way.

Chinchillas can be kept alone and generally do well in same-sex pairs, especially if both chinchillas are littermates or are introduced at a young age.

Species Data

Common Name: Chinchilla
Scientific name: Chinchilla lanigera
Adult size: 10-14 inches of body and tail give 5 or 6 inches more
Life Hope: from 15 to 22 years old

Behavior and temperament

Chinchillas are primarily nocturnal, which means that they will be most active at night. They are sometimes called "twilight", which means that their activity peaks at sunrise and sunset.

In any case, they should be kept in a fairly quiet place during the day.

They prefer a constant feeding and handling routine and can become stressed by changes in their routine. Because they are so active and playful, chinchillas need a spacious cage for daily exercise and play.

Warm temperatures are more concerned with chinchillas than cold ones, and owners must take precautions to ensure their chinchillas do not overheat.

You have to be careful and consistent to get the safety of a chinchilla. A chinchilla can take some time to get used to their hands and handles, especially if they are older and have not been handled much. Some chinchillas will never want to stay.

They prefer to explore, or perhaps they prefer to climb on you rather than be held back, but being able to control and interact with your chinchilla will make your relationship even more rewarding. A few simple steps can help control the shyest chinchilla.

Be calm, slow, and patient while taming your chinchillas and they will eventually respond.


Chinchillas are perhaps best known for their incredibly soft, thick, and luxurious fur. In nature, this fur protects them from the elements, but in captivity, it makes them somewhat susceptible to overheating. This should be taken into account when deciding where to place your chinchilla indoors.

A cooler and quieter area of ​​your home is the best place to put a cage for your chinchilla. The summer temperature should be controlled to ensure that the ambient temperature does not exceed 25 degrees Celsius.

Chinchilla cages should be large, separate houses with platforms, ramps, and perches. The bigger the cage, the better. The minimum floor area is approx. 24 x 24 inches and a tall cage are preferred; If possible, get one with shelves and ladders that allow you to climb this miner.

The wire is the best cage material; Avoid plastic cages or accessories, as chinchillas chew and destroy plastic easily. The lid can be covered with wood shavings, preferably pine; Avoid cedar and hardwood shavings, such as poplars and tree trunks.

Many chinchilla cages have wire mesh floors, which is good to clean, but wire can be tough on the chinchilla's legs, so it's best avoided. Wire floors or shelves can be covered with wood to give the chinchilla's legs a rest. A wooden birdhouse must also be provided.

Food and water

Chinchillas have specific dietary needs that are different from other rodents. They must be fed specific high-quality chinchilla foods, otherwise, their health will suffer.

Chinchillas require a lot of forage and the diet should consist primarily of high-quality grass hay and pellets intended for chinchillas.

Treatment should be offered in moderation (maximum one teaspoon per day). The digestive system of chinchillas is quite sensitive, so any change in diet should be gradual.

The pellet diet is better than a mixture of bulk products. Commercially available bulk mixes with chinchilla granules, seeds, corn, and other foods can be nutritionally balanced when in the bag, but your chinchilla may not eat every part of the bag.

Chinchillas actually tend to collect and eat exactly what they want in a mix, making them less nutritionally balanced. Instead of a bulk mix, look for a granular diet designed specifically for chinchillas, which is 16-20% protein, low in fat (2-5%), and high in fiber (15-35%).

Dust baths

Hairy chinchillas native to arid climates need regular access to a steam room. Remember that regular dusting is required to keep your chinchilla's soft, thick coat in good condition. Chinchillas should never bathe in water.

The fine chinchilla powder intended for the dust bath penetrates the chinchilla's fur, where it absorbs oils and removes dirt. Dust baths not only keep the chinchilla's fur in good condition, but they also seem to enjoy a powerful dust bath.

The best toys

Chinchillas love to chew, run, jump, and hide. This means you need lots of chinchilla toys to keep them busy and active, especially cool items to keep their front teeth in good shape.

Pesticide-free wooden blocks and tree limbs make good chew toys. Some wooden parrots are also good toys for them, like arrow balls and rings that you can find for rabbits.

It is important to provide toys that do not have small parts or plastic pieces that can wear out. Also, a "chinchilla block" or pumice block can be provided to chew on to keep teeth trimmed.

Wheels can provide good exercise, although it is possible that unless chinchillas are introduced to the idea at a young enough age, they may not need to ride.

Look for a 15-inch wheel (a little smaller will be too small for most adult chinchillas) with a solid running surface and an open side with no cross-support like on metal wheels, which can be dangerous to the feet and The tail.

The risk of overheating makes the use of plastic balls undesirable. Your chinchilla would rather run in a safe room with no visible electrical wires or plastic to chew on.

Common Health Problems

Chinchillas are exposed to the same health problems as other small mammals. They can develop respiratory or digestive problems with symptoms such as runny eyes and nose or diarrhea. Sick chinchillas can also lose weight, curve their bodies, stop caring for their fur, have trouble breathing, or stop eating.

In addition to infectious diseases, chinchillas can be harmed. Damaged or broken nails can cause problems walking or running. Chinchilla's teeth grow quickly and overgrown teeth can become a problem

If your chinchilla shows any signs of illness, take him to an exotics vet. In the meantime, however, avoid overdoing your chinchilla, as treatment can be stressful.

Buy your Chinchilla

Chinchillas can be purchased from pet stores or breeders. When shopping for your chinchilla, keep in mind that because they are generally most active at night, you may not be able to see them at their most active level. Some points to keep in mind:

  • It is a bad idea to buy a chinchilla puppy for 3 months; they are too young to be separated from their mother. Instead, try to find a chinchilla that is around 4 months old, the perfect age to start taming your new pet.
  • It is possible to adopt an unwanted chinchilla; These will be older animals, but they may already be socialized.
  • Make sure the chinchilla you are considering is active and light, with a good appetite, lots of energy, and a shiny coat.
  • If possible, buy your chinchilla from a store or a breeder who can work with you if you have any questions or problems.
  • Male and female chinchillas are very similar in temperament and longevity.

Enjoy The Video Tutorial about How to Care for Your Chinchilla.

Source: Gabe Kahsen

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How to Care for a Chinchilla as a Pet

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