Thursday, December 1, 2016

How to Keep a Chinchilla As a PetThe chinchilla is a soft, furry, small animal, which makes an exotic pet.

Chinchillas are members of the rodent family, native to South America. They are cute and furry, but they are also high maintenance, particularly in terms of expense. They are also not suitable for children below 10 years. It is important to put in some research and see if keeping a chinchilla is the right decision for you.

Housing the chinchilla

Chinchillas need lots of space to move around in, so they need a two or three level cage. They are jumpers and need their exercise. The cage should have place for the pet to sleep and to play. A wire cage does well, though it should not have more than half an inch of space in between the wires. It is also better to have one with a removable bottom which will make cleaning a whole lot easier.

Some people keep chinchillas in aquariums, which are bigger, but may not offer different levels. Also it is important to line the floor very well with bedding which may consist of special bedding or wood shavings and newspaper. Chinchillas also like to burrow and hide, so you should place adequate toys and other items for them to do so. They are also nocturnal animals, so are more active during the night.


It is very important that a chinchilla be kept at a temperature of between 65ºF and 75ºF. Hotter temperatures can result in heat stroke for this furry animal. It should be kept in a draft free environment and out of direct sunlight. When it is hot and if you do not have air conditioning it is good idea to have a covered bowl of ice in the cage to lower the temperature. Or you can buy a temperature controlled cage.


Chinchilla food is now available at pet stores. Apart from pellets, you can also give them alfalfa and timothy hay, nuts, oats, raisins, bread and even cheerios, though apart from the hay, other things should be given very sparingly.

You can put a deep bowl made of ceramic or steel with the feed and allow the chinchilla to eat. However, if it pees in the bowl, you will have to throw away the feed and clean the bowl. Also keep an inverted water bottle, not made of plastic for the animal to drink water.


Your pet will appreciate lots of toys, wooden blocks, toilet rolls, bird toys and even stones for it to play with and gnaw on. Plastic will be chewed on. If you let your chinchilla out of its cage, you will need to chinchilla proof your house.

As it is an inveterate chewer, it will chew on electric cords, poisonous plants, household cleaners which may be in plastic bottles, your furniture, so you need to supervise its play time.

Cleaning and handling

Chinchillas need a dust bath every day as their fur tends to get oily and oil attracts dirt. You can get special sand from the pet store for this purpose do not use any other sand. This should be kept in a large enough bowl or you can a special chinchilla bath bowl for this. The sand will have to be cleaned every day and changed every week.

Handle your chinchilla very gently and quietly. Do not should and talk in a loud voice, as the animal will feel threatened and can even bite. The chinchilla can get easily frightened and will also remember this for a long time. Good behavior should be rewarded with treats and then you will be able to train your chinchilla.

However, while the chinchilla may be happy in your hand or accepting treats from you, it does not like to be cuddled – you can just about stroke its back.

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