Chinchillas are a popular pet for caring teens and adults. Chinchillas are a member of the rodent family. A new pet Chinchilla maybe a little jumpy at first, but that is mostly because you haven’t gained his trust. Be patient and it will happen. A Chinchilla will quickly become a favorite pet and family member because they are friendly, most don’t bite unless squeezed too hard and have no odor like other pets in the rodent family. As long as your Chinchilla gets adequate playtime and attention, you will have a long and happy life together.
As long as you have time to spend with you new, little furry pet, he or she will do fine by themselves. If you don’t have much time consider buying or adopting two Chinchillas so they can keep each other company. If you choose two Chinchillas, try to get cage mates or brothers or sisters rather than two who’ve never met each other because you don’t want any cage fighting going on. Never put a male and female together because soon you will have more Chinchillas than you know what to do with. If you don’t have any time for one or two Chinchillas, reconsider pet adoption because it really isn’t fair to them.
When considering adopting or buying a Chinchilla one of the first considerations is the Chinchilla cage. Chinchillas have size and materials requirements that need to be met so your new little pal can stay happy and healthy.
Chinchilla Cage Materials
Choose a metal cage with a locking door. Some doors will slide through the bars of the cage and back through to secure the top of the door on the next cage bar up. Other cages have a small slide or flip type lock. Those are good choices because a curious Chinchilla may climb and push on the door and open it.
Choose a Chinchillas cage with all metal parts including the floor pan and bars. The other types of cages may look pretty, but your new pet will quickly gnaw his way out. Your Chinchilla isn’t being difficult or naughty, he is just being himself. As stated earlier, they are part of the rodent family and rodents like to chew, in fact they need to chew in order to keep their ever growing teeth in check. Plastic parts on a cage will not only not hold him in securely, but they are dangerous. If your Chinchillas chew on the plastic, small pieces will break off and your new baby will choke or if he ingests them can become very sick and may die. Some manufacturers advertise cages suitable for rabbits as a good cage for Chinchillas, unfortunately many of these cages are more like a rabbit hutch and are made of wood. Here’s the problem Chinchillas love to chew on wood and unless you want to replace your cage every few weeks – stay away.
Choose a cage that has flat metal shelves or replaceable wood shelves. Even if your Chin chews the wood shelves, which typically take some time, you can replace them. If you choose to make shelves, use a hardwood that has not been treated with stains, finishes or pesticides.
Chinchilla Cage Size
Chinchilla cages should be at least 30 inches wide and 24 inches deep with a minimum height of 36 inches. Why so much room? Because Chinchillas love to climb and explore. Most large Chinchilla cages have platforms and ladders which allow the Chin to climb from level to level and explore.
The metal bars should not be spaced more than 1 inch apart.
When it comes to a Chinchilla cage the biggest size you can fit in your house the better it will be for him.
What to Avoid in a Chinchilla Cage
Do not house your Chinchillas in a fish tank with a screen top even if you see them like that at the pet store. Fish tanks don’t offer a Chin enough fresh circulating air. Air inside of a fish tank becomes much warmer than the air in the room. Chins have very thick and dense fur to keep them warm, their home needs to be on the cooler side. Temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the Chinchilla to become overheated. An overheated Chinchilla is a very sick Chin that can easily die.
If the cage you choose has a wire floor, see if the floor is removable before purchasing the cage. If your Chinchilla is forced to walk on wire all of the time he can develop painful arthritis in his feet. The wire floors are also dangerous because his foot can fall through the wire and if he moves suddenly he can break his foot.
Avoid wire shelves where he can get his feet caught or otherwise hurt them permanently.
Avoid a wood or plastic base – covered above.
Do not buy a Chinchilla cage that has bar spacing of greater than 1 inch. Your Chin can get his head stuck between the bars or can squeeze out of the cage and roam around the house where he will chew your furniture, electrical wires and ruin anything his teeth come in contact with.
What Do you Need in the Chinchilla Cage
The Chin needs a glass water bottle that secures to the cage bars with a metal holder. Do not use a plastic water bottle that hangs inside the cage because he will chew right through.
A food dish that hangs from the side of the cage made of food grade ceramic. Avoid plastic dishes because he will chew the dish.
A chewable hiding house. Choose a house made of woven Timothy hay or sticks, both of which are available from pet stores and online pet shops. Do not make your own stick house or hideaway from gathered twigs from the backyard because you never know if they’ve been sprayed with an insecticide.
Lots of chew sticks to keep him busy, happy and healthy.
Avoid placing the Chinchillas cage next to furniture where he can poke his face through the bars and use your end table as a giant chew stick.
Keep the cage away from electrical wires where he can grab the wire and chew it.