Updated: Apr 12
Chinchilla Care and Facts: Average Lifespan: 15-20 Years Diet: Chinchillas can be fed a high quality chinchilla specific diet this is very important, they also require some roughage like alfalfa. So their diet ideally will consist of a good quality grass hay and some pellets to go along with it.
Bonding: Chinchillas can form a very special bond with their caretaker, sometimes it takes time and you have to interact with them constantly and make handle them often so that they are used to it and begin to trust you. You want to make sure your chinchilla is also very happy and healthy this is very important. Purchasing from an experienced licensed breeder almost always ensures this. Chinchilla sounds: Chinchillas are capable of making a wide range of sound. Depending on their personality they can very vocal barking and gruffing while some make no noise at all. The bark is the most common of their noises and it can mean many different things weather is it happy, annoyed or scared. General Personality: Chinchilla personalities are very unique and each one has very different one just like people. With chinchillas they can be very shy so don't try to rush the bonding process. Chinchillas are very loving when they do bond with someone and they have so much energy and love to play and chew on their toys or even nibble on fingers. Do they bite? My answer to this question is simple, anything with teeth can bite. Biting can occur in a extreme stress or fear situation, they have very long front teeth and they are of course very sharp so a bite can be very painful. Some chinchillas will always be aggressive if they were raised improperly but this is rare. At first they may not even realize that a bite is painful to you when this happens just gently put him down and do not display any anger, pain or fear. If you do show anger this will only reinforce the biting as it will make the chinchilla feel helpless. Costs for a Chinchilla: *Cage and accessories….......………$50-$500 *Food (monthly cost)…………………$30 *A loving pet.…................................priceless *Misc. toys & accessories….….…..$50-$200 Preparing for a Chinchilla: Make sure you have a suitable cage ready for your new chinchilla, make sure you have food and a proper watering container. Make sure to provide suitable bedding and make sure your chinchilla has plenty of toys and a home to sleep in. Make sure you have practiced and know how to pick up and hold a chinchilla properly they are fragile. Make sure to change out the bedding often when it is dirty, this prevents sickness and a bad smell. Give your chinchilla a dust bath about once a week. Make sure they have something to exercise with and be able to out all of the their energy. Make sure they stay cool. Chinchilla Dust bath: Water can harm the chinchilla's fur. Instead, give them a dust bath. The "dust" bath is made of formulating dusting powder made of volcanic ash or activated clay. The dust baths help the chinchilla get rid of excess grease in their hair. The dust should look and feel like dust, not sand. The sand baths that some stores sell are too abrasive on their fur. Look for items such as blue cloud or blue sparkle. If absolutely needed, spot clean the chinchilla with a baby wipe or damp washcloth.
Exercise: Chinchillas are high energy animals and CANNOT be left in a small cage all day and night without any interaction Give them things to do, toys to play with and even plenty of time to just spend with you and bond playing games like running around in a ball or a safe game of hide and seek.
Caring for a Chinchilla in Captivity Habitat: A cooler and quiet area of your home is the best place for the enclosure. Chinchillas are covered in thick fur for a reason to protect them from elements such as harsh winters. This makes them susceptible to overheating so be careful when considered were to locate your enclosure in the house.
Chinchillas cages ideally are a good size and have multiple levels to the home like platforms and ramps. Some say the larger the cage the better but this is at your discretion on whats ideal for your home. Plastic cages are NOT ideal because the Chinchillas can easily chew threw plastic and get out of the enclosure. The tray at the bottom should be lined with cedar shavings, newspaper, or wood shavings. Some people get wire bottom cages because it is easier to clean but this is hard on Chinchillas feet so its recommended against those. They also prefer a little nest box or house for their slumber and down time.
Toys and enrichment: Chinchillas really like to chew on things and run and jump and play, this means they need a very good variety of toys. This will keep them active and busy and getting chewing ones that are good for keeping their incisor teeth filed and in good condition. Blocks of wood and tree branches that are free from pesticides make good chew toys. It is very important to prove toys that are not to small or plastic because these could be ingested. Wheels can provide really good exercise, You would want one with a solid running surface and at least 15 inches. Wire wheels are NOT recommended because they can damage their feet and tails.
Neutering and spaying Chinchillas: Neutering and spaying is the best way to prevent any unwanted babies being made. It is also makes the males less aggressive and calmer in some cases. Handling: You have to be very gentle with your new Chinchilla so that you can gain their trust. Some times it takes them time to get used to being handled and held. Most Chinchillas will never really like to be held they prefer to be exploring or they may prefer o just climb on you instead of being restrained. Being able to gain their trust and interacting with your Chinchilla will be rewarded with a loving pet.
Do they have scent glands or a smell? Chinchillas are clean, quite, odorless, and attractive rodent. They do not have scent glands and do a very good job and keeping their fur groomed and cared for. Do they require any vaccinations? Chinchillas do not require vaccines, the chance of a Chinchilla getting rabies is extremely low. A rabies vaccine is not recommended for Chinchillas it has not been approved. What is their general personality? They are very playful and cuddly and have a lot of energy but they can sometimes be very quite and shy. How are they with other pets? Chinchillas are prey animals and keeping them in a hosue with predator animals that can hunt like cats or some dogs can be a danger to them. Even if they are playing around it could be to rough and they could get injured. Chinchillas are very social and can sometimes live in colonies of more than a 100 chinchillas so other chinchillas are ideal. Can I take my Chinchilla outside? It is not recommended to bring your Chinchilla outside to often, they are very sensitive to heat because of their thick fur. Before considering bringing the Chinchilla out make sure it is not to hot. You also have to be very careful about them escaping. They are fast and they are wiggly, some people use harness but be very cautious and make sure it is all put on correct so the chinchilla do not get harmed. Always keep an eye out for predators when your Chinchilla is out and be wary of any yard areas that were treated with chemicals. Will my Chinchillas bond only to one person? Chinchillas are not going to be as affectionate as a dog or a cat but when they are raised by you this forms a very special bond. Interacting with them on a daily basis is important and keeping your Chinchilla stimulated with encourage a very trusting relationship and they can form a heavy bond. They can bond with many different people but usually will be extra close to the caretaker of them.
Are Chinchillas legal to own where I live? Since every state, city, country and even certain home owner associations all have different laws and guidelines for owning pets there is no way for us to know the laws in your area. It is our responsibility to find out if you need a permit or if they are allowed to have them as a pet in your home. A good place to check is your USDA office which can be found here on the link, click on it and find your state.