How to Take Care of a Chinchilla

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When caring for a chinchilla, remember that they are crepuscular, which means that they are more active in the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. Base a chinchilla's diet around grasses and hay with information from a veterinarian in this free video on exotic pets and pet care.

Part of the Video Series: Exotic Pets
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Video Transcript

Let's talk about how to take care of a chinchilla. Chinchillas are a neat little unique rodent that come from the South Americas and Andes mountains. They require a couple of interesting and unique things. As far as housing is concerned, they require a large cage, generally that's wired and you know, they can be chewers, so it has to be coated wire. These guys are also, you know basically they're crepuscular which means that they are more active in the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. Usually during the day, they want to kind of rest. And so they really don't like being handled too much during the day. They can be real friendly pets as well. You just have to work with them quite a bit. They are herbivores so their diet is based around hay and grasses and things like that. There are commercial chinchilla diets that are out there. So in their housing in a wired set up with a wired bottom and pine shavings or like a synthetic paper type of bedding, they do really well. They need a water bottle in there, they need food bowls and an area for hay. And they also do really well with a wheel, but make sure the wheel is a solid wheel and not a wire one. They can live for a while. They can live up to fifteen years in captivity. Some have been known to live longer, up to twenty years plus in captivity. They are jumpers, and so you have to handle them pretty close to you. And you don't want to startle them because they can jump actually quite a big distance and a jump down from you can hurt them. And always research exotic pets first before you get one. Talk to your veterinarian or a pet store or get books or look on line and make sure that a chinchilla is right for you. But they do make great pets. Another interesting thing about chinchillas is dust bathing. And so these guys naturally like to coat their hair in dust which is volcanic dust. You can buy a pumice powder and they will coat their fur with it which absorbs oils and dirt and is a natural thing for them to do which they absolutely love.


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