How to care for a chinchilla: basic guide


The Chinchilla is an adorable, soft and perfect rodent for the whole family, but like any pet this animal also requires some basic care that must be taken into account before getting one.

Choose a suitable cage for your new pet: the chinchilla must remain in a cage, since they are extremely active, the larger the cage, the better. This animal loves to jump, so it is advisable to place multiple levels in its cage so that they do not get bored. Make sure the cage has a solid bottom>

If the head passes through the bars, your entire body will also pass through them and escape. If you choose a wire cage, make sure there are no pieces of wire that protrude because your chinchilla could be cut. Put a safe bed, never use cedar or pine shavings as a bed, since the phenols are very strong and cause serious damage to the respiratory system and skin, as well as liver problems. They are also poisonous to chinchillas if they try to eat them. If you wish, make a nest for your chinchilla. This should be at least 50 cm long and 25 cm wide and high. The nest must be placed on the ground because the chinchilla can fall.

Don't leave your chinchilla without a partner

Take your pet correctly: raise your pet like a kitten. Slide your hand under the rodent's belly and place the other hand on top. Let him rest his hind legs on the other hand underneath so he feels safe. Do not hold the chinchilla too strong, and remember that they can be restless, so you need to keep them strong. It is very important not to squeeze them, especially around the upper part of the torso, because they have what is known as a "floating rib cage" and you can cause serious internal injuries if you do.

Provide adequate food to your chinchilla: one of the basic cares of every pet is food. Your chinchilla should always have a good quality supply. You can feed them small amounts of alfalfa, but not too much, as they could foam at the mouth. Put it in a hay feeder or a hanging wire basket to keep it clean. Feed it infrequently, as it can cause digestive problems. Dried fruits or unsalted nuts can be administered two or three times a week. Do not forget to put water on a daily basis. Remember to sterilize the water when changing it. Algae that grow in water can cause liver problems, severe diarrhea, or even kill them.

Clean the cage daily: remove dirty hay and cage bedding every day. In addition, the chinchilla needs a daily bath, preferably in the morning and with a maximum duration of 10 minutes. Before your first bath, it is advisable to speak with a veterinarian to indicate how you should wash your new pet. Wash the cage with only hot water: in general it is suggested that you do not use any soap or chemicals, but if you mix a small amount of chlorine with hot water and wash around the plastic box or cage and then clean it well With hot water and let it air dry, you will kill most of the bacteria that can harm your chinchilla.

Try to get your pet to exercise: chinchillas are very active animals and should have the opportunity to exercise every day. Condition them an exercise wheel in their cage. The wheel should have a solid surface, and should not be made of wire or mesh, better plastic. If you leave the rodent out of the cage to play oversee it, it must be in a small room and must be chinchilla proof. The chinchilla can jump several meters in the air, and they can pass through small spaces and even gnaw the cables, furniture, and everything they may have between their teeth.

The teeth will grow 12 cm a year

Keep them fresh. Chinchillas heat up easily. Keep your cage in a cool place with air flow. Make sure the cage is not in a place where sunlight reaches it directly. Give your chinchilla dust: come and give it a dust bath. The dust bath is made with a mixture of dust dusted with volcanic ash or clay. Dust baths help the chinchilla get rid of excess oil in the hair.

Remember to stay calm with her, especially at the beginning, so speak softly and avoid shocks. If in doubt, go to the veterinarian, he is the best person who can advise you with the care of your pet.

The chinchillas, those shy rodents

Domestic chinchillas are small mammals with long incisors and soft, dense fur (up to 50 hairs can leave each follicle). Although they need large spaces, they do not usually reach a kilo of weight, with females being slightly larger than males. Until they adapt to the environment and family, chinchillas can be shy and scary. But they become affectionate and very expressive as they find their place in the home. In addition, they are very sociable and hate loneliness. Therefore, do not rule out ending with more than one (if possible, male and female) under the same roof.

This is the theory. It doesn't seem difficult to live with a chinchilla, right? As well. Before you adopt one of these funny rodents, you need to know what you need to lead a long and full life (they can live up to 20 years with us). Take note.

What does a chinchilla need? Basic care

Chinchillas are rodents of endearing appearance, very soft hair and reserved personality. For all these reasons, they soon become a very good option for families. But before taking the new pet home, it is necessary to know how to take care of it:

  1. The right cage. A chinchilla needs a large, safe and level space so she can play as she pleases. Therefore, you must acquire a large cage, with a solid wood or hard plastic base and bars close to each other (if the animal manages to put its head between them, it will end up straining the entire body and escaping).
  2. The basics. Once the cage is chosen, they cannot be missing: hay, wooden toys, pumice stone to gnaw, hiding places, drinking fountain (bottle type) and feeding trough, ecological substrate and a sandpit for the bathroom.
  3. The chinchillas diet. These pets have their specific food preparations in specialized stores. But, in addition, you can complete your diet with green vegetables and, sometimes, with fruit.
  4. Temperature. Chinchillas are animals of cold climates. Therefore, its cage cannot be in a room at more than 25ºC. It is also advisable to avoid air currents, direct sunlight and direct contact with other animals.
  5. Sand baths. One of the most curious habits of these rodents is that of daily hygiene. To carry it out, they need sand and not water, a special and fine sand in which they wallow with hypnotizing happiness. Thanks to this routine, they manage to strengthen and take care of their hair. Check out the process in the following video:

Do you have a chinchilla? What convinced you to take her home?

How to manipulate a chinchilla

One of the main things you should know about chinchillas is that you have to be careful when grabbing them Or manipulate them. You must do it very delicately:

  • If you have to grab your chinchilla, do it as you do with cats. That is, pass your hand under your belly and the other over the spine.
  • Let the rodent rest its hind legs on the hand with which you hold it underneath to make it feel safer, no problem with it.
  • In no way be abrupt or use too much force, as you could harm or cause an internal injury.

Chinchilla feeding

The feeding a domestic chinchilla It's very important. If you want your pet to be in good health and have a good quality of life, you can follow the following tips to know what do chinchillas eat:

  • Try to give your rodent Quality foods and as natural as possible, such as hay, which should be the basis of their diet. It is recommended that hay be 80% of your diet.
  • You can also give small amounts of alfalfa. But do not overdo it, as it can cause you to generate some foam in your mouth. Alfalfa contains a lot of calcium and if consumed in excess can lead to kidney stones. It is also advisable to pregnant or nursing chinchillas.
  • The feeder It must be of those that hang from the bars of the cage so that it is isolated and always clean. Or, use a somewhat heavy feeder so you can't drag it around the cabin and make it dirty.
  • You can occasionally give it some candy for chinchillas, but you should not abuse, as they can cause digestive problems. At most a couple of times a week. No food with sugar or animal protein.

The chinchillas water

One of the main points to know how to care for a chinchilla is that you should always have access to clean and fresh water. Why? By the following:

  • You should know that chinchillas, unlike man, cats or dogs, can not fight bacteria that may contain water. For this reason it is advisable to give filtered or bottled water instead of tap or tap water.
  • You have to remember change your rodent's water every day. Otherwise, bacteria or algae can grow in it and cause your chinchilla serious problems with diarrhea, liver, or even death.
  • It is advisable to buy a drinker of those that hang in the cage. So the water will always be clean and isolated from the rest.

How a chinchilla cage should be

To take good care of a chinchilla you must provide a good cabin. He thinks he will spend most of his time in his cage, so he should feel safe and comfortable:

  • The bars should have a proper separation so that you can see the outside, but not far apart and you can escape between them. If you pass your head, the rest of the body will pass.
  • If the cage is made of wire, make sure there are no protruding points that can be nailed or scratched with them.
  • As they are very active, the larger and more extensive their cage, the better. Lo> The bed of a chinchilla

He suitable bed for your chinchilla It can be made with poplar chip or with an>

Never use pine or cedar shavings for the rodent bed, as they contain a chemical (phenols) that are toxic to the animal. They can cause skin and / or respiratory diseases.

A recommended measure is 25 centimeters (10 inches) tall and wide by 50 centimeters (20 inches) long.

Cage cleaning

The cleaning and hygiene of your chinchilla's cage Must have priority in caring for your pet. You can get it with these tips:

  • You must remove dirt and dirty hay from the base of the animal's cage every day.
  • When you have to clean the cage (bars, ramps, shelves) you can do it with hot water. If it is very dirty, you can add a small amount> The chinchilla should exercise

The chinchillas they are very active rodentss and for that reason they should exercise every day of the week. You should also keep in mind, and this is very important, that Chinchillas are more active at night. To get it the best is:

  • It is advisable that inside your cage you incorporate a flying saucer kind Spinning plate. Make sure it has a solid surface. Better to be plastic rather than wire or mesh, since it could introduce its legs and hurt itself. But it is better to take it off in summer because if you exercise a lot with heat it can cause problems. hamster exercise wheels, however large they may be, they can damage their backs since they are quite large animals and their spine is twisted.
  • You can also take it out of its cage so that it moves outside. But always in a small room, controlled and under your surveillance. Remember that chinchillas can jump a lot and get into very small spaces. I also pay attention that they do not steal cables or furniture.

Chinchillas teeth care

You should know that the teeth of a chinchilla constantly grow. Therefore, you should place something in the cage that they can gnaw and wear their teeth:

A good option is to introduce a block of wood into your cage (remember that they are not toxic) that is consistent so that they can gnaw it.

You can also put branches or small trunks in the cabin so you can gnaw and climb them. The sycamore or apple are perfect because they can bite them and are not toxic.

Another alternative, as with hamsters, is to play and bite the cardboard rolls of toilet paper. In addition, in this way, they will have an extra amount in the chinchilla's diet.

Chinchillas cleaning

You should not clean or bathe domestic chinchillas with water. They are very clean animals and they alone they take care of combing and grooming their hair. But you can also help him:

  • There are on the market some powders made with a kind of clay and volcanic ash that are used to clean these rodents. Do not confuse with the sand, which is something different.
  • With these powders mixed with specific sand for chinchillas, you can make a kind of bath that will help your pet does not accumulate oils or fats in its fur that can lead to fungal causes. You can do it once a week.

Cabin temperature

If you want to know how to take care of chinchillas you should know that they are animals that easily get hot. Therefore, you should ensure that your cage is in place of your home where it is in a dry, airy and cool environment.

Therefore, remove it from direct sunlight and damp sites. Think that above 25 ° C (77 ° F) and below 11 ° C (52 ° F) chinchillas may start to have problems.

The chinchillas are very sociable

If you want to attend a chinchilla correctly it is highly recommended that they have a partner. These rodents are very sociable and they love living with others of their kind.

They are pets that do not like to live alone, they need others of the same species. So it is recommended (not mandatory) that you choose to have at least two chinchillas.

Of course, if you do not want to meet dozens of young in a short time (as with rabbits), try to be the same sex. That is, or all females or all males.

More tips to take care of a chinchilla

  • Chinchillas behave very differently from other pets such as cats or dogs. The latter are predatory animals and sympathetic rodents are prey. For that reason they are always alert and attentive to any movement or noise.
  • At first, do not approach sharply or too close to your chinchilla until she has become accustomed to you and you have her full confidence. They are somewhat suspicious and shy animals. It can also stress them being in an unknown place.
  • Always acquire your pet in a specialized chinchilla hatchery that has a good reputation. If so, in case you cannot take care of it properly, they will accept that you return it.
  • As a general rule, chinchillas are very friendly animals, but remember that sometimes they like to be manipulated for too long.
  • If you detect that it starts to emit sounds, maybe it is warning you that you don't want to get close.
  • Did you know that chinchillas can be trained? You can do it by rewarding them with a treat, but don't abuse them.

Here is an interview with an expert veterinarian in these pets. So you can expand the Chinchillas care information:

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Feed your Chinchilla

Chinchillas have a very sensitive digestive system, so it is important that they follow a diet that can prevent you from getting sick. It is also necessary to understand that these creatures are known as "intestinal ferments."

This means that by not digesting the food completely in the first step in the digestive system, they will continue to eat it through their feces, so that they can extract all the nutrients contained in the food itself.

With what to feed it?

According to the Chicago Exotic Animal Hospital, chinchillas need a diet rich in fiber, composed primarily of high quality hay accompanied by small amounts of alfalfa food, which provides about 18% protein. Your animal will also benefit from reducing portions of green leafy vegetables.

How much is fed:

Hay: Always have fresh and clean hay at your disposal.

Leaf Vegetables: Fill a bowl of vegetables a day, but avoid cruciferous because they can cause digestive gas problems.

Fresh water: Your chinchilla should always have water available. Instead of using an open bowl, equip your cage with a bottle of water. In this way, it will keep it cooler and cleaner.

Chinchillas are nocturnal animals, so they feed mainly at night. Try to replace your puppy with food and water at sunset, at sunset, so that it remains available in case you wake up hungry. Be sure to remove the remains of vegetables first in the morning.

Avoid giving mixed seeds or grains

Assorted seeds and grains can make your chinchillas fat, which could be filled without taking the fibers you need to feel good. If you can't help giving him this kind of food, just know a spoon once or twice a week. A larger amount could jeopardize the delicate balance of your chinchilla digestive system.

Accommodate your pet

Make your chinchilla's home environment safe and comfortable by following these suggestions.

The ideal cage: The ideal cage for a chinchilla should be structured on multiple levels, so that these active creatures have more possibilities to run, jump and exercise.

We recommend solid cages because grilled cages can cause wounds and sores on your pet's feet. To connect the levels, always use solid ramps, since stairs can also be dangerous. Place the cage in a non-explosive area with good indirect lighting.

Temperature and humidity: Chinchillas can easily be victims of heat shots, so make sure that the temperature in the environment where your pet lives never exceeds 26 degrees. Even high humidity levels can be problematic, so it is recommended to keep them around 40%.

A safe trash bin: Straw and poplar shavings are a perfect garbage bin for your chinchilla. However, it would be better to avoid using pine wood or cedar shavings because the fumes emitted by them can be toxic to the animal.

Clean the cage: Clean the cage Clean the cage Remove feces as soon as you notice that they are accumulating. Once a week, clean thoroughly with a solution composed of half vinegar and half water, and change the sanitary tray. If you have two chinchillas in the same cage, you will need to clean it twice a week.