Caring for a Pet Chinchilla

Caring for your chinchilla.

In their natural habitat, chinchillas live in a group. Ideally, if possible you should try to house two of them together. However, be careful about getting a male and female unless you are prepared to deal with offspring!

Chinchillas need a large cage, as they like to jump and climb, you should get a cage that is both high as well as long. The cage will need to have accessories such as perches and hammocks to keep your chinchilla well exercised and entertained. To keep their teeth the right size, they should also have things to gnaw on such as untreated wood (treated wood can harm your chinchilla), cardboard toilet tissue tubes, mineral stones.

Chinchillas are not like humans, they don’t bathe in water, they bathe in dust. You should also have a dust bath in the cage filled with special chinchilla sand. Only allow them about 10 minutes in the dust bath to avoid overuse, which will cause the fur to lose its natural moisture and irritate their skin. Never try to bathe your chinchilla in water, their fur can take a very long time to dry out. This will cause them to lose body heat and could be fatal.

Unless you have a large spacious cage, you may also like to let the chinchilla out of the cage frequently to exercise. Be sure to supervise it to ensure it doesn’t start chewing on things it shouldn’t chew on – like your furniture!

Treats are treats, not standard food – they should not be fed more than once a day. Dried apple leaves and pumpkin seeds or commercial chinchilla treats are some of the treats you can give your pet. Just feed them treats sensibly. As well as an obvious risk to the health of their teeth, excessive treats can easily upset their digestive system.

One final point, in their natural mountain habitat, chinchillas live in a cool climate, hence their heavy fur coat to keep them warm. However, they also lack the ability to sweat. Whereas the mountain temperature is cool, a home environment can be a problem. Be sure not to expose them to environments higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If necessary, you may like to consider using a fan, or air cooling system to maintain a cooler temperature in the room where your chinchilla resides.