Taking care of Chinchillas: What should I do?

Date Posted: 10/10/2016

Chinchillas can be a wonderful pet for the right family. However, taking care of a chinchilla is not an easy task, they require gentle and careful handling.

Introducing a new friend
Chinchillas are social animals. They require a lots of attention and interaction. A lone chinchilla requires a great deal of attention and can be very attached to its owner. If you are unable to devote that much of time to your pet, it is better to have two chinchillas. Two chinchillas can play around together and will not completely dependent on their owner.

However, it require some time to introduce a new chinchilla to the existing one. It is important to introduce them slowly to avoid fight. Firstly, put them in a seperate side by side cage. Allow them to sniff each other without physical contact. Then, give each chinchilla its own dust bath, swap these over daily so that they get used to each other's scent.

After a week, move the cages and beds closer until the chinchillas are sleeping next to each other. Observe them for a while. If they are happy to have each other side by side, then put the existing chinchilla into the new chinchilla's cage. Seperate them for a few days again if there are some serious squabbling.

Housing and Training
Chinchillas are quite large for small pet and also they are very active so they need plenty of space. Chinchillas should exercise as much as possible and at least once a day. Chinchillas are most active during early evening so this is a good time to let them out for a run. Supervised them all the time because they like to explore everything with their teeth. Also, make sure you can catch them again after allowing your chinchillas to run about. Use dustextraced bedding or shredded paper in the bottom of the cage. For bedding, chinchillas need an enclosed bed to sleep during the day. A big bedding is more recommended for all the animals in the cage to curl up together if they want to. However, there should be enough boxes for each chinchilla in case they want some private space.

So, how to clean your chinchillas? Normally, wild chinchillas keep their coats clean by rolling themself in fine sand. However, there are no sand available for pet chinchillas. So, you need to provide bathing sand for them. Also, the bath needs to be large and deep enough, around 10cm for your chinchilla to roll around without injuring itself. Chinchillas should be offered a bath once a day, for about 20 minutes.

Chinchillas are vegetarians and have a sensitive stomach. So they require specific foods to maintain their health. They also eat their own feces. This is very normal and necessary for them to get important nutrients.

A well balanced and nutritious diet is the easiest way to make sure your chinchilla stays healthy. Luckily, chinchilla foods are available in pet shops. The pellet type is the best for your chinchilla. However, the amount of feed should be rationed to about one tablespoon per day for a healthy adult.

About treats, raisins and sultanas are both ideal treats for chinchillas. But, avoid feeding too much as it can cause an upset stomach.

Dental Care
Just like every rodents, chinchilla teeth are always growing so they need something like apple wood or rodent toys for them to nibble on. This is to prevent any dental problems.

Watch out for dental problem as it can become serious if left untreated. Look for the signs such as reluctant to eat, drooling and wetness under the chin, and runny eyes. If your chinchilla show any of these symptoms, it's advisable to consult a veterinarian.

As a whole, these are a few notes to look out if you are preparing to own a chinchillas. It may not be the best guide but it can serve as a basic guidelines for you to take care of your lovely chinchilla.

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