Chinchillas are sweet and gentle little creatures and make a great pet for gentle adults and teens. Chinchillas like other members of the rodent family are nocturnal by nature, meaning they are most active at night. A Chinchilla-breed will adapt readily to a day time schedule to fit your schedule. Chinchillas, unlike many pets and animals in the rodent family do not bite and they do not smell. Chinchillas don’t get fleas because their soft and silky fur is so tight and compact, fleas cannot make their way in to a Chinchilla-breed’s skin. Chinchillas are typically skittish at first, but with patience and gentle care, they come around quickly because they become as attached to their owners as their owners are to them.
Getting Your Dog
They are available through rescues, adoption, breeders and pet shops. Although many recommend against buying a Chinchilla at a pet shop because many pet stores buy their Chinchillas from mills where mom, dad and babies don’t get good care and live in poor conditions. That is not to say all pet stores use mills, but please check out the reputation of the store before buying one there. As with a pet store, always check out the reputation of the breeder before buying.
After you bring your new pet home, you will most likely find that he runs from you. This is normal and to be expected. Like most pets, it doesn’t know you bought him to love and take care of him, he just knows he’s in a strange place.
When you bring him home and get him settled in his new cage, leave him alone for the rest of the day. You can watch him, but don’t attempt to pick him up and take him out – he’s not ready for that. Day two place your hand up to the bars in his cage and let him come to you to sniff and assess. Do this several times. Day three place your hand into the cage and let him sniff, don’t make sudden movements because you will scare him. Day four take him out. Use care in picking him up and holding him because a Chinchilla has tiny bones that you can fracture easily. If you squeeze him hard, he will probably bite you – this is pretty much the only reason it will bite.
The best place to get to know your Chinchilla and begin the taming process is the bathroom. Chinchilla proof your bathroom before bringing him in there to play. Close the doors, windows and toilet seat. Put away all cleaning products and anything with dangling wires. Bring your Chinchilla in the bathroom and close the door. Start in the bathtub – no water – sit in there and let him climb on you and explore for about 20 to 30 minutes. Increase the time weekly and the amount of space he can explore in the bathroom. You will notice in a few weeks, your Chinchilla will get used to you and the routine.
Provide your Chinchilla with a large multi level cage where he has plenty of room to explore and move around. There are several cage requirements such as no plastic or wood cages, metal only, secure doors and proper bedding.
Feed your Chinchilla the best pellet type food available which is Oxbow. Oxbow provides the correct nutrients without a lot of treats or unnecessary additives. Provide your Chinchilla with Timothy Hay daily – choose Oxbow to meet your hay requirements. Avoid giving your Chinchilla sweet treats such as fruit and raisins. Although the jury is out on whether raisins are ok for a Chinchilla, err on the side of caution because he really doesn’t need it as long as you provide him with a healthy diet. If you want to use something as a training aid, choose plain old Cheerios.
Hang a glass bottle in the cage for water. Change the water and rinse the glass bottle daily.
Chinchillas are very clean animals and groom themselves. The only thing you have to provide is a dust bath at least three to four times per week. The dust bath consists of adding a specialized powder to a bowl or specialized dust bath enclosure and allowing your Chinchilla to roll through the dust which helps to remove the excess oils in the fur. Fill the dust bath with ¾ to 1 cup of the dust, pour it into the container of your choice and place it in his cage. After your Chinchilla has had a chance to bathe, remove the dust bath. Sift out any clumps or poop and save the dust for the next bath. Typically, you can reuse the dust for two weeks as long as your Chin hasn’t peed in it excessively.
After your Chinchilla settles down and becomes comfortable with you handing him, you can brush him with a small brush. Never try to pull through knots or matted fur because you will hurt him. Most times the fur doesn’t become matted because the Chinchillas do shed year round. It is not excessive shedding just some fur here and there. Always remove the fur from his cage to prevent him from eating it which will cause serious problems.
Put a running wheel in the cage for your Chinchilla to get plenty of exercise and burn off some of his energy.
Make sure your Chinchilla has plenty of chew sticks and blocks. The chew sticks and blocks are more than just fun – they keep your Chinchillas teeth from over growing. A Chinchillas teeth never stop growing and chewing on the wood helps keep them in check. If your Chinchillas teeth ever grow out to where you can see them or they are having difficulty eating, a trip to the vet is necessary so the vet can file his teeth.
Chinchillas, like every other animal will poop. Not a big deal since it is small pellet type poop. While your Chinchilla is off playing in the bathroom with another family member, take out your hand held vacuum or use a vacuum with a hose attachment and vacuum up the poop, excess food strewn about and wet bedding material. Place new bedding in the spot that you just vacuumed up. Every seven to 10 days, change all of the bedding.
Call some local vets to find out who takes care of Chinchillas. When you first get your new Chinchilla, you can take him to the vet to have a quick check up, but this really isn’t necessary. The only time you will need a vet is if your Chinchilla has diarrhea, his teeth over grow, he has ingested fur or if he becomes overheated. Keep the temperature below 75 degrees Fahrenheit for the health and safety of your Chinchilla. Higher temperatures will kill him.