The Lowdown on Chinchilla Care

Chinchillas are pets that have gained worldwide recognition and appeal. Making and having solid information on responsible pet care is of utmost importance. They are perhaps one of the cutest, cuddliest types of rodents. Many prefer them over their creepy counterparts such as rats and mice. They are particularly playful and as such, they tend to be more interactive than other rodents.

Strulch Chinchilla - Armin Rodler

Image Credit: Armin Rodler

So, your chinchilla can last up to twenty years if you take care of them really well – They are delicate creatures that rely on gut feeling. If they are cared for properly, and can live long, here’s how:

Moderating the Temperature

The function of our sweat glands is to release the heat in the body in liquid form. This way, our bodies can adapt to increasing temperature without causing a breakdown in our system. Ever notice how our body starts sweating when we’re just too tired or the heat is becoming too much to bear? That’s our sweat glands at work.

Unlike us, your chinchilla doesn’t have sweat glands. Obviously, this means that it doesn’t have an ingenious way of adapting to increasing temperatures. Once the temperature becomes too much to take, it will most likely suffer of heatstroke. The threshold chins when it comes to handling temperature is much lower, partly due to its lack of a complex immune system and tiny body. The ideal temperature is 65-70. Anything beyond will be harmful for your chinchilla.

Chinchilla photo by Smithsonian's National Zoo

Image Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Also, if you’re thinking its thick fur will protect it from the cold, you’re alarmingly mistaken. Immediately beneath its thick layer of fur is its skin. In other words, the only thing protecting your chinchilla from harsh temperatures, including the cold, is its fur. If the environment gets either too hot or too cold, your chinchilla will have undesirable complications and may even die.

The Basics

First, a pet owner needs a good cage or pen for them. There isn’t a particular size for their cage, but the bigger it is the better it is for your pet. Usually, they should be as wide as possible, or tall with several slopes. This is so that the kit chinchilla can run and play around. They can be made of wire, but it shouldn’t have a wire bottom.

They need these type of wood and chew toys to keep them short. Make sure it isn’t cedar as this is harmful for them. Pine is good for cages. The bedding must be cleaned once a week.

Best Cage Features

  1. The cage needs the ramps and other climbing toys because kits love to climb on them. The ramps need to be made out of good material, but also need to be risk-free.
  2. You should have their cage away from windows and in an area that is quite during daytime. Temperatures need to be low around 55-70 degrees. Remember they are much more active at night. So, give your chinchilla care during the day when it’s sleeping.
  3. They need to have dens as well. This is where they will do be doing most of their sleeping.
  4. Lastly, they need a bowl with chinchilla dust in it. This is so they can go in it to take their baths. They can’t take baths in our normal running water because their fur is so thick it can’t dry. Pet stores have many chinchilla baths and dust.

Finding a Vet

Though chins make perfect pets, they are classified as exotics. This doesn’t just mean that they are endangered and are not allowed to be used for animal clothing. In pet lingo, this means that they’re much harder to care for and require much more attention than the average rodent pet – Unlike bigger animals, the owner can’t simply leave food for them and expect them to get through the day.

Chins must be taken to the veterinarian regularly. How can you find an experienced veterinarian for exotic pets? Consider it a challenge that any pet lover has to go through. Don’t settle for just any vet who claims to have an experience with rodents. Make sure the vet is someone that actually knows how to deal with chinchillas.

Chinchillas are cute animals and fun companions to have. The chinchilla pet care can be simple and inexpensive.

What Makes Chinchillas Fantastic Pet

Chinchilla by Smithsonian's National Zoo 1024px

Image Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Small pets such as chinchilla require less care compared to dogs. The chinchilla seems to be one of the most convenient companions for families. They are classified as rodent species and there are many people who decide to make chinchillas their own pet. If cared for correctly, these animals can reside for up to two decades. They are really adorable!  That’s the reason why getting them as family pet is definitely a great idea.

What is typical for chinchillas? First of all, their teeth might elongate extremely. That’s the reason why owners ought to keep their teeth healthy. Their overall appearance is just like some other rodent species. These small animals feature big ears, wide head, short limbs and a long tail. They have the densest and softest coat  that’s the reason why  chinchillas shine  when compared to other  rodent species.

What to consider before you adopt or buy a small pet?

Chinchillas, just like any small pet, will need a lot of attention in their environmental and also health needs.  Prior to buying your companion, be sure to take this in mind. They’re also social rodents. Because of this, in their natural habitat they typically form a colony.

Chinchillas are found in rocky mountains.  They ought to be able to roam around and catch food freely.  That is why their cage has to be huge.  Keep in mind that they are nocturnal animals that’s why by night time, expect them to become very lively. This rodent is playful to humans. They’re very sensitive to sound. This pet is extremely responsive to sound even to an extremely low noise.

Cage requirements

Another thing that your chinchilla require is a cozy environment where they can be active.  Huge cages with many levels are bought by most pet owners due to this. There are also accessories that you must consider placing inside the cage such as exercise wheel, tunnel, and hammocks. Put wood branches so that they can gnaw. Stainless steel alloy is normally used to create the cage including its wire mesh floor. Wood or plastic solid shelves must be set up as well.  Comfort and ease of movement is the major priority when picking for a cage size and design. Be aware that your cage should be high enough above the ground to keep animals such as dogs and cats from harming your treasured rodent.

When you are choosing a place to put the cage, be sure that the location features low humidity, mild temperatures, and also a space that is not directly hit by sunshine.


Pet owners can protect the floor cage with shredded paper, wood shavings, or cardboard. Changing the bedding at least twice a week is important. A wooden house or a box must be placed in the cage of your new pet. There, they can hide or rest whenever they would like.

Food and treats

Be attentive with the food that you feed these animals because they have a sensitive gastrointestinal tract. Select only dried leaves, herbs, and fruits. Chinchillas will feel ill if you feed them with high sugar and high fat food items. Raisin, seeds, and nuts can cause weight problems. That is why they must be restricted. To be safe, give your chinchillas hay since it is low in calories but rich in protein. Another fantastic approach to meet their nutritional requirements is to feed them with pellets that are created especially for chinchillas. If you don’t feed the ideal type of foods, your pet will surely be ill or worse – will die due to poor health.

As herbivores, there are a variety of hay options for chinchillas. Some good examples are alfalfa or timothy hay, or simply provide them with dried grass.  Feeding balls are also good for your own chinchilla. As they prefer feeding on hay, this will be an excellent add-on. The right amount of pellets you give daily should be equal to two tablespoons or 25-30 grams. Make certain that your small pets are also well hydrated all the time.  You should provide filtered water to drink, and the bottle needs to be cleaned three times per week.


Ultimately, put a special sand box inside the cage.  This is sold in pet stores, and you can also get it online.  The special sand box is where you will take your chinchillas for their dust bath to keep their coats clean. Basically, they need to roll over the dust for 15-20 minutes to clean their fur while massaging their body.  Take note that your chinchilla should be groomed three or twice a week depending on season.

Video: Playful Chinchillas Having a Dust Bath

chinch-dust-bathWhat prettier way to display your cute chinchilla pets! They are so playful while having their dust bath! This movie picture show depicts how these rodents are having fun. It is interesting to note that this vase-like glass container is too small for 2 fur balls. I would recommend a square plastic container. The box should be large enough for chinchillas to roll around in.

The 3 Step Guide To Taming A Pet Chinchilla

The chinchilla is an intelligent and sensitive animal, but it also suffers from an extremely nervous disposition. As with all rodents, these furry little creatures can be rather jumpy and anxious around human beings. To be fair, we are a whole lot bigger than they are, and they have evolved over many thousands of years to hide from predators.

Baby Chinch

Image Credit: Zuvieh S.F. (Flickr)

The good news is that you can tame and train a chinchilla to be comfortable interacting with humans, but it is a very slow process, and takes a great deal of time and patience. This handy three step guide to training your chinchilla will help you learn how to communicate with your pet.

Step One: Capturing the Interest of Your Chinchilla

The very first step is to teach your companion that you pose no threat. The best way to do this is to slowly open the door of the cage, and put your hand very gently inside – do not move around, just let your hand rest. If your pet is naturally inquisitive, it should slowly and cautiously approach your palm to have a look. If this does happen, resist the temptation to instantly try and stroke it, because you want the chinchilla to choose to make contact. For chinchillas who are too afraid to initiate contact, holding a raisin on your open palm can be a good incentive.

Step Two: Interacting with Your Hands

Whilst it may feel frustrating to not be able to pet and handle a chinchilla right away, this slow interaction process is very important and should not be rushed. Once your chinchilla has shown an interest in you, prove to your pet that they are safe, by allowing them to run back and forth to your hand without trying to follow. If the chinchilla continues to avoid your hand, or appears to be agitated, you are advised to end the training and retreat for a while.

Step Three: Learning that Petting is Safe

The important thing to remember is that all chinchillas, like all human beings, have different personalities. There are some pets who simply do not like to be played with as much as others, and there are some pets who cannot get enough of petting. If you are lucky enough to end up with a very affectionate and playful animal, wait until your pet is very comfortable with your presence, and then gently scratch them behind the ears and under the chin. The trick to this is to allow the chinchilla to come to you for contact, rather than forcing it upon them.

Learning How to Take it Slow

The fact of the matter is that chinchillas are not the right kind of pet for everybody, and young children particularly tend to be the wrong kind of owners. These animals can be extremely traumatized if you handle them incorrectly, so every effort to be gentle and respectful of their space should be made.

The key to successfully taming and training a chinchilla is not force or even persistence, but patience and a kind hand. It also helps to understand that some animals will never wish to be petted, because they have more fragile or more isolated personalities.

Selecting the Right Chinchilla Food

Chinchillas are both cute and cuddly, with soft fur and other lovable attributes. Having this image in mind, it’s not surprising that many people are turning to the small animals as a lovable pet that can grow with a family for up to 21 years.

Chinchilla Keos - My newborn chinchilla is already here - Carlos Gracia

Image Credit: Carlos Gracia

Chinchilla Breed Information

It is important to keep in mind that these magnificent creatures differ from other typical pets in a variety of ways. For example, some rodents can be fed anything. Conversely, a chinchilla requires special attentiveness to their diet. With sensitive digestive tracks, they are unable to handle many typical pet foods. By doing proper research, you can outfit your chinchilla with a diet that will keep them happy and healthy for years to come.

Small Pet`s Diet

A chinchilla’s natural habitat consists of areas that are high in roughage. A good diet will replicate this by providing the proper nutrients and consistently of food. For example, good grass hay serves the purpose of settling down the digestive track of your pet, it also allows them to develop proper bathroom habits. When a chinchilla has the proper roughage, it will be easier to potty train. Getting into these habits early is very important for the successful domestication of the pet. Living modern life can be very different from the forest life that the chinchilla is accustomed to. Anything to make this transition easier is great for both you and your pet.

Make sure that the grass hay is changed on a daily basis to ensure that it is fresh. Animals are more receptive to grass hay if it is changed often. It’s a good idea to experiment with different brands to figure out which is your pet`s favorite. A little experimentation and observation will do the trick quite well.

The main component of your pet’s diet is the food pellets. Make sure that you purchase chinchilla pellets specifically. These are made to keep your small animal healthy. They feature a variety of vitamins and nutrients that might not be found in other pellets. Importantly, they are also easy on the digestive track of your pet. This is very important for this animal.

Chinchilla Photo by The.Rohit

Image Credit: The Rohit

Picking the right pellet is another situation where trial and error might be appropriate. It also may be a good idea to go to the local pet store for samples of different chinchilla food. This will save you time and money. A favored pellet will be the one that is eaten first and most consistently by your pet. Different foods will offer different benefits, so don’t be afraid to change up what you feed your chinchilla.

General Recommendations

Caring for a chinchilla can be tough work, but the benefits always outweigh the costs. Make sure that your home is suitable for a chinchilla, and don’t adopt until you are truly ready for the added responsibility. With enough effort, you will have a loving exotic pet that provides great value to your life. The bond between a pet and its owner is a sacred thing, so it pays to put your best food forward when caring for your animal. If you’re interested in owning an adorable pet that isn’t too much of a hassle, look into buying a chinchilla today.

Tips On Raising a Healthy Chinchilla

Chinchillas are generally very resilient and healthy pets. Take care of your pet chinchilla properly and they will be prevented from catching any diseases and live a happy, long life.

Strulch - Armin Rodler

Image Credit: Armin Rodler

This article looks at ways to keep your pet chinchilla healthy as well as looking at common chinchilla diseases, their symptoms and their treatment.

Keeping Your Pet Chinchilla Healthy

Prevention is always better than cure. Make sure you have a complete understanding of the best nutrition for your pet and provide a suitable environment so that your chinchilla can thrive.

  1. A safe cage – keep your pet chinchilla in a well-constructed cage in a cool environment away from any dampness.
  2. Noise and lighting – ensure the cage is kept in an area away from loud, startling sounds, especially during the day and away from sources of bright light. You must ensure, however, that your pet has access to natural light and is not kept in darkness.
  3. Humidity – don’t allow your pet to become too hot or humid as this can be fatal. Room temperatures should not exceed 75°F.
  4. Routine – chinchillas do best when kept to a regular routine. Allowing your pet between 1 and 2 hours out of their cage daily and keeping to regular feeding times is essential to their wellbeing.
  5. Proper nutrition – feeding your chinchilla a balanced diet and refraining from over-feeding your pet is essential.
  6. Cleanliness – change water regularly to prevent contamination and throw away old pellets and soiled hay every morning and replace with clean.

Signs Of Chinchilla Diseases

Chinchillas often mask signs of illness in captivity as they would in the wild. Check your pet regularly for signs of:

  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Pawing at mouth or other body area
  • Red ears
  • Drooling
  • Changes to food and water consumption
black chinchilla

Image Credit: Stefan Jurgensen

Common Chinchilla Diseases

Chinchillas are most at risk of:

  1. Respiratory conditions – treatment involves giving your pet antibiotics and keeping them quarantined.
  2. Enteritis – this serious condition often has no symptoms and proves fatal. If your pet seems ill, contact a vet immediately.
  3. Ringworm – this condition can be contracted by humans too. If you notice a sign of balding, take your pet to a vet.
  4. Yersiniosis – this serious condition is contracted by eating infected feces and is often fatal. Taking your pet to a vet at the first sign of illness may make antibiotic treatment an effective option.
  5. Dental problems – although problems with teeth are quite rare if a chinchilla is able to eat a healthy diet and has access to plenty of wood for gnawing, sometimes teeth develop malocclusion. This results in problems with eating as well as painful mouth sores. Treatment involves seeing a vet for teeth trimming.

As long as you take good care of your pet, you should experience no problems with your chinchilla. Nevertheless, be observant, and if you notice any change to your pet’s appearance or behavior be sure to consult with a vet. Failure to do so may result in not spotting a potentially fatal condition.