Chinchilla Care Sheet

Posting Date : 2022-05-25 14:42:07

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What is a Chinchilla?

A chinchilla is a rodent with extremely dense, beautiful soft fur. They are intelligent, active
creatures with big personalities. They originate from the top of the Andes in South America,
where it is cold and arid. They are crepuscular (not nocturnal) which means they are most active
at dusk and dawn.

Life span: average 13 – 15 years (Proper care)
Origin :Chile and Peru
Weight : 500g to 600 g
Temperature : below 27 c

Do they make good pets?
They make wonderful pets for young children and adults, but young children must under
parental supervision. Under all that fur, they have a very delicate bone structure which means
they can easily be injured if handled roughly or squeezed. These inquisitive, energetic animals
can move very quickly but are rock hoppers as opposed to accomplished climbers (although
they will climb up the side of a cage). Like all species, they have their own individual
personalities, some like to be cuddled and handled, others do not. Generally, they are gentle
creatures but the occasional one will sometimes bite, especially if they feel threatened or
scared. Although it is unusual, they can also “slip their fur” which is a defence mechanism and a
way of getting away from predators in their native habitat. This will initially result in a bald patch,
but the fur will grow back, although this can take a few months.
Although crepuscular, they are happy to interact during the day. They live a long time, normally
between 13 and 15 years, but can live up to around twenty, so they are a long-time commitment.
This needs to be carefully considered when taking them on as a family pet. They are relatively
easy and inexpensive monthly maintainence to keep, just requiring suitable housing, good
husbandry practise and appropriate feed. They can be kept as a single pet or after a suitable
period of introduction, as same sex pairs or different sex pair with pedigree certificate to avoid
inbreeding (note: although this is usually possible, this is not guaranteed to be successful).


A chew proof cage at least 45 x 60 x 60 H (cm)is the minimum size for one chinchilla. You should get the biggest cage possible so your pet has lots of room to sleep, play, and movearound. Chinchillas should not be housed in tall cages without separate floors, there should be a
maximum of 60cm or 2 feet between floors and even less with young kits present. Havingmultiple shelves and/or hammocks in a tall cage will not protect them from injury There should be no plastic or rubber in the cage since this can lead to a blockage of the intestines, which is almost always fatal. Cages are best made from strong ¾ inch metal wire mesh with a pull-out tray underneath on which dropping can collect.
Chinchillas would appreciate access to wooden shelves, wooden houses etc. but these should be made out of suitable untreated wood (e.g. pine). Shelves and houses made out of wood-based products such as plywood and MDF are not suitable because they contain glue
and inevitably, they will be chewed. The chinchilla’s teeth grow continuously throughout its life. Therefore, they need a constant supply of safe materials to gnaw on(e.g. 100% natural ChewingStone , Apple Stick or Kiwi Stick).


althy adult chinchillas can tolerate cold (anything above freezing point), the enemies being heat and damp. Inevitably, they struggle in temperatures above c.28°C. To prevent overheating, direct sunshine (including through windows) should always be avoided and they should never be housed outdoors or put in a run in the garden. Fans, stainless steel cooling house and cooling tiles can be used to help keep them comfortable. Living in a damp environment can not only lead to respiratory problems, but it also affects the fur which impacts on their ability to stay warm. Although it is not essential for a chinchilla to have “playtime” outside of their cage, if you choose to do so, they need to be fully supervised at all times since they will chew wires, skirting boards etc. Care should also be taken to ensure they do not overheat as a result of over vigorous exercise, especially in hot weather. In general, they are not afraid of other animals and pets, however, caution needs to be exercised since some species can pass on diseases to chinchillas. Currently there are no commercially available vaccinations developed for chinchillas. With air conditioning : Chinchillas have beautiful fur ,Air conditioners work by removing the heat from the inside of your home and transferring it outdoors .temperature control at your fingertips Without air conditioning: Need to make sure room temperature is below 27c


Chinchillas have specific nutritional requirements and their diet should consist of a good qualitymeadow or timothy hay,


fresh clean water and a quality with variety ingredient chinchilla dietwhich meets their raw fiber and vitamin needs. Chinchillas rarely over eat, so food and watershould be available at all times. However, food bowls and hay racks should not just becontinuously topped up, Lack of appetite is often one of the first signs of a health issue. Foodshigh in sugar ,pesticide and color additive , those sold for chinchillas, should always be avoided.These are likely to lead to selective feeding (i.e. they pick out their favourite bits), which moreoften than not, will result in an inadequate diet and health issues.Feeding good hay, as well as providing important fibre in their diet, also helps wear down theteeth. The teeth of a healthy adult chinchilla are deep yellow/orange in colour, creamy/whiteteeth are an indication of poor diet or other issues (although this is a fairly common temporarycondition in heavily pregnant/lactating females). since pellets and hay can becomestale/damp/contaminated and it is important to be able to monitor how much the animal is eating.Chinchillas should not be fed fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds or nuts. Their natural environmentis relatively barren and their digestive system is unable to cope with such “rich” foods.Commercial sugary treats should also be avoided for the same reason. All treats should belimited. The chinchilla’s digestive system is not robust and any mouldy, contaminated orunsuitable food can lead to serious health issues and even death. Incorrect diet and housing aretwo major causes of health problems in pet chinchillas. To avoid sudden changes in diet as thiscould upset their digestive system and make them very ill.

Chinchillas should have access to a dust bath with special chinchilla dust, preferably for 10 to
15 minutes 2 to 3 times a week. This dust can be sieved to remove any droppings. Having
regular dust baths helps keep the fur clean and help them to release stress their stress.
Chinchillas should never take a water bath. Chinchillas can’t dry themselves quickly or
adequately as we have discussed thus far. A water bath runs the risk of your chinchilla getting
fungal infections, respiratory infections, and makes your chinchilla extremely uncomfortable.