How to Take Care of a Chinchilla

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With their playful personalities, boundless energy, and cherubic faces, chinchillas are fast becoming a popular pet. Nocturnal animals, chinchillas can live for as many as 15 years with the proper care, so it's essential that you're absolutely certain you are ready for the commitment before you bring a chinchilla into your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Cage or exercise pen
  • Wood shavings
  • Food and water bowls
  • Plastic tubing
  • Cardboard box(es)
  • Timothy hay
  • High quality pellets
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Untreated branches
  • Untreated wood toys
  • Dust bath
  • Container large enough for your chinchilla

How to Take Care of a Chinchilla

Make sure your chinchilla has a spacious living area, such as a cage or an exercise pen. If you prefer a cage, ensure that it doesn't have wire flooring and opt for a cage that has multiple levels because chinchillas love to climb.

Provide your chinchilla with the proper bedding, such as aspen or another type of wood shaving. Never use cedar shavings, however, because cedar has been found to cause serious health problems in small animals.

Chinchillas are just like people and sometimes they need to get away from it all, so give your chinchilla several boxes, or even plastic tubing, where he can go and hide.

Make sure your chinchilla has plenty to chew, including branches and wood toys that are untreated. Chinchillas, whose teeth are always growing, are notorious chewers and chewing helps keep their teeth short.

Allow the chinchilla to run free occasionally. Just like other pets, chinchillas need plenty of time out of their cage or exercise pen to run around and explore. Before you let your chinchilla run free, however, chinchilla-proof your home by covering all wires and cords with plastic tubing, which you can generally find at most home improvement stores.

Feed your chinchilla plenty of fresh Timothy hay, between one and two tablespoons of pellets each day, and half a cup of fresh vegetables daily, including romaine or red leaf lettuce, basil, and cilantro. Your chinchilla's diet is essential in ensuring that she lives a long, healthy life

Purchase chinchilla dust and a large container at your local pet store, and allow your chinchilla to take a dust bath several times a week for approximately 10 to 15 minutes each time. However, if the weather is humid, allow your chinchilla to have dust baths more frequently.

Give your chinchilla plenty of attention. Chinchillas are sociable animals who can form close bonds with their pet parents.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the container you purchase for your chinchilla's dust bath is large enough for him to roll around in and get the full effect of the dust bath.

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