Top tips for a healthy and happy Chinchilla

Chinchillas are lovely pets, surprisingly friendly and very curious. They will be happy with their cages located in almost any room in the house, but since chinchillas are nocturnal animals, they will be active for much of the night, so a sleeping area, especially a child’s bedroom, may not be the ideal place.

Once you’ve found a good place to live your chinchillas (and remember they like a large cage, then need more space than similar small animals like hamsters), what other tips do you need to know about health and happy chinchillas?

Chinchillas are very social creatures and because of this it blooms well in pairs. That said, if you get two of different genders becoming a breeding pair, you should expect to have more litters of baby chinchillas a year. If you do not have room for an ever-growing chinchilla population or to house the babies as they mature, look for two same-sex chinchillas.

Because their teeth are always growing, chinchillas will chew just about anything they come into contact with as a way to keep their teeth in good condition. This means that you need to make sure everything in their cage is safe for them to digest and that items outside the cage are well out of reach. It is not uncommon for a chinchilla to grab curtains or coverings and pull them into the cage where they continue to shred them. Because they have to chew, include items such as a tree branch (apple is ideal) or untreated wooden shelves. Half of a concrete building breeze at the bottom of the cage gives the chinchilla something to gnaw on and also another surface to sit on. Don’t be surprised if this quickly gets more rounded with the corners reduced to dust!

Chinchillas like to exercise and will enjoy the opportunity to explore outside their cages under close supervision. Remember to close windows and doors in the room where you let them out and block small openings from which they could explore and escape. They will also take the opportunity to chew items they encounter, including floor moldings, electrical cables and loose wallpaper. This can be reduced by some close monitoring and by protecting vulnerable areas. Alternatively, a stairway can provide a relatively safe place for your chinchilla to run around (and up and down) as they will spend most of their time out of their cage delineating with fewer distractions.

Your pet chinchilla should give you years of entertainment, enjoyment and companionship and will thank you for following these little tips.