What are chinchillas?
Chinchillas are small south American rodents from mountains of Chile. They are intelligent, energetic and social, making them excellent pets.
What do they require as pets?
Chinchillas are some of the most easy to care for pets available today! They need quality food, clean water, moderate temperatures and metal cages with wooden accessories. They do not have an odor as long as the cage is cleaned weekly. They are very social and will require interaction. Luckily if you don’t have hours per week to interact with your chinchilla you can get two of them and they will interact sufficiently with one another. To avoid babies and potential birthing issues always buy same sex pairs! Two males or two females get along great together. They must ALWAYS be kept below 75 degrees as they start to overheat and could die at higher temperatures.
- You can train your chinchillas to do tricks and respond to basic commands/signals
- Chinchillas can adjust to your sleep schedule
- Every chinchilla has a different personality
- Chinchillas can jump up to 6 feet in the air when fully grown
Supplies Check List
- Cage ( 24X14X16 minimum) all metal
- Heavy ceramic/metal food dish
- Glass Water Bottle
- Quality Pellet( tradition or oxbow)
- Quality Hay( organic timothy/oxbow timothy)
- Clean Water( buy commercially purified/not distilled)
- Dust Bin( metal bread pan works/ or giant glass jar… no plastic)
- Dust( Chill dust/ Blue cloud)
- Bedding( Kiln dried pine or aspen)
- Wooden or metal Ledges(chin safe woods)
- Wooden houses( chin safe woods)
- Safe Treats( rose hips, half shredded wheat, regular cheerio, pinch of rolled oats, apple sticks)
- Do not bring your chinchilla outside for playtime.
- Do not bathe your chinchilla in water
- Do not feed your chinchilla fresh fruits and vegetables
- Do not place your chinchilla cage near vents or windows
- Do not use plastic materials in your cage or buy plastic toys
- Do not put your chinchilla in a hamster ball (AKA Chinchilla Death Ball)
- Do not use traditional style exercise wheels
- Do not take info from one source as true. Check multiple sources and experienced breeders
- Do handle your chinchilla as often as you please
- Do grab your chinchilla one of two safe ways( by the base of tail or scoop method)
- Do try teaching your chinchilla tricks and tasks. They are very smart!
- Do read as much as you can about chinchillas even after you own one. New information is never bad
- Do show and teach your friends and family about your wonderful new pet! Be sure they disinfect before and after handling your chinchilla
Potential Signs of Illness
- Be sure your chinchilla is eating and drinking regularly – it could be a sign of illness if not
- Watch for bare/scaly spots near nose, ears and eyes – signs of fungus
- Blood veins appearing in ears – signs of overheating
- Sudden changes in energy level
- Unresponsiveness while huddled in cage corner
- Loose stool/diarrhea – digestion issues can be fatal
- Blood anywhere/loose fur – signs of fight
If you suspect that your chinchilla is ill, seek an exotics vet with chinchilla experience.