Small, furry pets can make wonderful companions for both children and adults, and chinchillas are no different. However, its best to be to make sure that chinchillasaffectionately called chinsare a good fit for you and your family before you take one home. Here, read more about the essentials of caring for chinchillas so you can be sure to give them all of the love and care they need to thrive.
Sadly, wild chinchillas have been hunted almost to extinction, and remain scarce in their native habitat, according to Encyclopedia Britannica . Youll want to inquire about previous owners (if any), behavior issues, the animals current living situation (as a pair with another chin, in a colony, or solo), and obtain the most complete health history possible.
The rest of their diet should consist of hay, leafy greens, and an occasional treat of dried apples, raisins or sunflower seeds. Chinchillas are fun as pairs, he said, because it allows them to interact with one another, especially when pet parents dont have time to give their chin their undivided attention. Bean said that a shocking number of websites advocate grasping the chin at the base of the tail, however, he said its very important to avoid doing this.
According to Bean, the most common issues he sees in chinchillas are dental disease and gastrointestinal stasis leading to constipation.
Are chinchillas easy to take care of?
No, chinchillas are not hard to take care of. Chinchillas are easy to care for. They require a clean cage, food that consists of chinchilla pellets and hay, and a room that’s kept at the correct temperatures. … These tasks are not complicated and owning a chinchilla is not difficult compared to other common pets.
Are chinchillas high or low maintenance?
Chinchillas are pretty low maintenance.. Once you have a cage set up, all they need is refilled water, food, and hay every day, and weekly cage cleanings & new things to chew.
Are chinchillas good pets for beginners?
Domestic chinchillas can be kept as pets. … Because of their high-strung disposition, they are not usually considered to be good pets for small children. However, chinchillas can be very friendly animals if sufficiently acclimated to human touch as kits (babies), making them excellent pets for patient owners.
Chinchillas in nature can be found at elevations between 9 and 15 thousand feet along the rocky slopes of the Andes Mountains in western South America. These highly social cuties come in an array of colors, including gray, ebony, white, beige, violet and sapphire and make engaging companions. They have a wide range of vocalizations and can jump up to 5 feet.
Chinchillas are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk Chinchillas have very thick (approximately 60 hairs per follicle) and soft fur that will come out easily if they are restrained by their skin Care DifficultyIntermediate; good for pet parents who have time to socialize them and can handle them gently with great careAverage Life SpanUp to 10+ years with proper careAverage Adult Size12 inches longDietHerbivore Minimum Habitat SizeMinimum floor space of 2 x 2 with as much height as possible for climbing; multiple levels are recommended
A large, multitiered habitat with ramps and shelves to rest on is recommended because chinchillas love to jump, climb and play. Wire habitats for optimal ventilation with a solid bottom are required to protect their feet from developing pressure sores on their soles. Provide the largest habitat possible with the space between the wires being no bigger than 1 inch.
Plastic habitats are not recommended, as chinchillas can easily chew through them with their sharp teeth. Chinchillas acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80F, as their thick coats make them prone to overheating, which could lead to fatal heatstroke. Ingested wood shavings can cause an intestinal blockage and should be avoided.
Cedar-based products are also not recommended, as the oil on cedar can cause skin and respiratory tract inflammation Dcor – Chinchillas like to hide and should be provided with hiding places in their habitats to feel secure. Commercially available hide boxes, some of which are made of edible materials, are ideal for chinchillas to seek shelter in Toys – Chinchillas should have an exersaucer or solid wheel in their habitat in which to run to get exercise. Wheels should be solid inside to prevent tiny chinchilla toes and legs from becoming entrapped
Spot clean your chinchillas habitat daily as needed to remove soiled bedding and leftover food. Damp, soiled bedding left in the habitat can lead to foot sores and inflammation and other health concerns. Clean and disinfect the habitat and its contents completely at least once a week:
Clean, fresh, water, changed daily and provided in a small animal water bottle A limited amount (1-2 tablespoons/day) of high-quality chinchilla pellets and fresh vegetables with smaller amounts of fruits. Appropriate vegetables to offer chinchillas include deep leafy greens, carrot tops, squash and bell peppers Provide timothy hay or other low-calcium grass hay such as oat, meadow or orchard grass at all times as this makes up the majority of a chinchillas diet. Hay provides fiber to the normal bacteria that live in chinchillas gastrointestinal tracts to help them digest food properly Alfalfa hay should only be fed regularly to young, growing chinchillas or nursing mothers, as its high calcium content can lead to the development of bladder stones in adult, non-lactating chinchillas Occasionally, chinchillas may be offered a small amount of high-fiber treats such as commercially available chinchilla treats, a few unsweetened whole-grain Cheerios, a pinch of dry oatmeal or a couple of pieces of dry shredded wheat cereal.
Treats should never exceed 10% of a chinchillas diet Do not feed foods containing chocolate, caffeine or alcohol, as these are toxic and can lead to death. Avoid sugar and high-fat treats such as dried fruits, raisins, nuts,and seeds, as these items may upset the normal bacteria in chinchillas gastrointestinal tracts and cause diarrhea and bloating Hay and water should always be available A limited amount of pellets (1-2 tablespoons/day) plus vegetables and smaller amounts of fruits can be given daily but should not exceed 10% of their total diet Vegetables and fruits not eaten within 24 hours should be discarded, as they are likely to spoil
Chinchillas require dust baths a couple of times per week to help keep their fur clean and oil-free. Remove dust after 15-0 minutes Fur may be brushed with a soft brush Avoid getting your chinchilla wet, as it takes a long time for their thick fur to dry and underlying skin can become inflamed under damp fur Chinchillas are born with white teeth, but over time their teeth turn yellow as minerals such as calcium and iron deposit in their tooth enamel; this discoloration is normal, and cleaning is not necessary As chinchillas teeth grow continuously, they must be supplied with wooden blocks, mineral chews or other wood toys to gnaw on to keep their teeth growth in check. As wooden sticks and branches from outside may contain parasites or fungus that is toxic to chinchillas, it is best not to offer them wood from outside but instead to provide commercially available, safe wooden toys on which they can chew Consult a veterinarian if a chinchilla‘s teeth seem too long, particularly if they are dropping food as they eat or they are salivating excessively Chinchillas have a very fragile rib cage and legs.
Be gentle when handling them and do not squeeze their rib cage or hold them by their limbs Active, alert and sociable Eats and drinks regularly Healthy fur and clear eyes Breathing is unlabored Walks normally Fur around mouth and chin is clean and dry Nose free of discharge Weight loss Abnormal hair loss Diarrhea or dirty bottom Lack of fecal pellets Distressed breathing Lethargy Eye or nasal discharge Skin lesions Overgrown teeth Drooling or wet fur on chin Lameness/limping Loss of fur Bloated appearance
Untitled Document Health IssueSymptoms or CausesSuggested ActionHealth Issue DiarrheaSymptoms or Causes Loose stool caused by a low-fiber/high-carbohydrate diet, stress, gastrointestinal parasites, unclean housing or other illness. symptoms include heavy panting, collapse, seizures, loss of consciousness.Suggested Action Can be fatal; consult your veterinarian immediately.Health Issue MalocclusionSymptoms or Causes Overgrown teeth; salivation; wetness on chin.Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian to possibly have teeth trimmed regularly.Health Issue MitesSymptoms or Causes Patchy hair loss; itchy skin. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian for treatment.Health Issue RingwormSymptoms or Causes Patchy hair loss; excessively dry and flaky skin Caused by skin infection with fungus.
They are compact-bodied with large, upright ears, very thick soft fur and a brush-like tail. Because all small pets are potential carriers of infectious diseases such as ringworm, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your small pet or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease. Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for small pets and should consider having a pet other than a chinchilla.
Chinchillas can make wonderful pets for the right person, but before deciding on a pet chinchilla, familiarize yourself with their unique characteristics and all aspects of their care.
Melanie Dawn Harter/Getty Images Being active animals, chinchillas need a large, roomy cage, ideally with multiple levels. In addition to the cage, you will need accessories including a nest box, water bottle, dust bath, and some toys to chew.
Treats can be used with careful moderation; like some people, chinchillas have a sweet tooth and may prefer to eat things that aren’t good for them. David Goehring/flickr/CC By 2.0 It takes regular dust baths to keep your chinchilla‘s thick, soft fur in good condition. Lianne McLeod Chinchillas love to explore, but they are very curious and biting into objects to see if they are edible.
Thinking of getting your first chinchilla? Chinchillas make great pets but can also be more difficult to take care of compared to other small animals. They are a life commitment! Did you know that chinchillas can live 20+ years if taken care of properly? Chinchillas are great if you have a busy schedule. They dont require much one-on-one time and prefer to be left in their cage.
Most of the items youll find in pet stores are not safe for your chinchilla. Chinchillas need a very cool environment to survive and should not be housed with another species.
A cooling pad or box is typically left in the cage for the chinchilla. NO plastic (when chewed, it can cause an impaction and your chinchilla will likely not survive) Kiln Dried Pine Wooden Shelves (perfect for chewing) Wire spacing no greater than one inch Galvanized Wire or Powder Coating Plenty of wooden ledges for jumping One to two inches of bedding (or non-pill fleece) will need to be placed at the bottom of the cage. Aspen shavings or kiln dried pine are recommended for bedding.
Chinchillas are very clean and require a dust bath a few times a week (depending on the humidity in the area). The dust bath should be removed after 15-30 minutes of use to prevent their skin from drying out. Youll find that most chinchillas do not like to cuddle, be carried, or handled.
Plenty of wooden ledges and chew toys are required to help them grind them down. Many people choose to have play time in their bathroom because of the smaller enclosed area and there are less items for the chinchillas to potentially chew on. If your chinchilla is urinating on the wooden ledges, it may be best to clean that immediately to prevent infections.
Discharge coming from the eyes or nose Weight Loss (weight should be tracked regularly in grams) Skin Lesions Lethargy Overgrown Teeth Ringworm If you think of anything that should be added to this blog, post it in the comments below, email us at email@example.com , or call us at 844-891-6720.
A large, multitiered habitat with ramps and shelves to rest on is recommended because chinchillas love to jump, climb and play. A habitat with a minimum of 2’x2’ of floor space should be provided. Wire habitats for optimal ventilation with a solid bottom are required to protect their feet from developing pressure sores on their soles. Provide the largest habitat possible with the space between the wires being no bigger than 1 inch. Plastic habitats are not recommended, as chinchillas can easily chew through them with their sharp teeth.
Cleaning your chinchilla’s habitat
Chinchillas acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F, as their thick coats make them prone to overheating, which could lead to fatal heatstroke. Be cautious of extreme temperature changes. Their habitat should never be in direct sunlight or in a drafty area.
Where to buy a chinchilla
A well-balanced chinchilla diet consists of:Things to remember when feeding your chinchilla:
Typical Behavior and Handling
Chinchillas need a very cool environment to survive and should not be housed with another species. A good rule of thumb is to always keep them in a room under 75 degrees. A cooling pad or box is typically left in the cage for the chinchilla. Check out our Nest Box! Visit Let’s Love Chinchillas for more information on their temperature.A few things about the cage (we recommend a Mansion, but we’re a bit biased):Are chinchillas clean? Yes! Chinchilla’s are very clean and require a dust bath a few times a week (depending on the humidity in the area). The dust bath should be removed after 15-30 minutes of use to prevent their skin from drying out. Blue Beauty Dust is a great option. Messy is a another story. Chinchillas can be very messy, but there’s a few things you can do to contain it. Things like shelf guards, urine guards, and cleaning multiple times a week will definitely help keep the mess down.We offer a few safe cage options for your chinchilla:
The recommended way to clean your cage is to use a solution with 50% water and 50% vinegar. Use your best judgement on how often you clean your cage. If your chinchilla is urinating on the wooden ledges, it may be best to clean that immediately to prevent infections.