So you’ve found a chinchilla for sale that you want to buy, but you want to make sure that you can care for your chinchilla the best you can. Great! That’s just the right attitude. Here are 7 important tips for chinchilla care that every owner needs to know:
1. Chinchillas Are Skittish
Though chinchillas can grow accustomed to human interaction, especially if handled properly as kits, they are naturally resistant to handling and touching. Just keep this in mind for the first couple of months that you begin taking care of your chinchilla. It’s especially important to let your children know this too, as many will have a tendency to want to play with the chinchilla too much at first, which will be too much for the chinchilla to get used to all at once. If you have very small children, veterinarians recommend that you don’t buy a chinchilla until your child is old enough to understand proper chinchilla care.
2. Chinchillas Befriend Slowly
Partially because chinchillas are generally skittish, they take quite a bit of time getting to know each other. If you introduce two chinchillas in the same cage, they might start fighting with each other. A slow introduction process is important, as some chinchillas may never get along; no matter what you do or how much time is given. However, if you introduce your chinchillas at a young age, they are much more likely to interact well with one another. Be careful about placing members of the opposite sex together as they may get along too well, and you might have a few extra unexpected mouths to feed.
3. Chinchillas Mimic Roosters
Chinchillas can be quite vocal at times. The noises they make range from cute squeaks and chirps to loud coughs and barks. Since chinchillas are active in the wild mostly at dawn and dusk, this is usually when they make the most vocalizations. This could mean that you won’t be able to sleep in late on the weekends like you’d prefer, since your chinchilla may start chattering away just before sunrise.
4. Chinchillas Need Space
Chinchillas are native to mountainous regions, so confining your chinchilla to a cage that is too small will seriously distress it. Chinchillas need room to climb and explore. They also need a diverse environment with different items of interest to keep them stimulated. (We’ll cover this topic in next month’s newsletter.)
5. Chinchillas Need Fresh, Dry Air
It’s important to keep your chinchilla in a room that has plenty of ventilation to simulate their natural habitat. Also, the room should not be too humid, as this could lead to fungal infections. Chinchilla fur is not only susceptible to fungus, but can also cause the chinchilla to overheat if stagnant air reaches temperatures that are above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The best place to keep your chinchilla is in an air conditioned house, as this will circulate dry air and regulate the temperature.
6. Chinchillas Are Finicky Eaters
You should use pellets, hay, and raisins for treats. If you stray too far from this simple dietary plan you will probably be doing more harm than good to your chinchilla. Gastrointestinal problems are common if you do not exercise good chinchilla care when selecting a proper diet. Overfeeding can also be a problem, as bloat and diarrhea can have serious implications for the health of your chinchilla.
7. Chinchillas Need Love
The easiest step of all: providing your chinchilla with lots of love! As long as you follow the rest of the tips in this article, this last step will happen naturally, and your chinchilla will be healthy and happy for a long time. Good chinchilla care means having loving compassion towards this small, fuzzy creature. If you care for your chinchilla with love and patience, then everything else will fall into place.