So lately you’ve been trolling the market of pets and something exotic is what you have in mind. Between bearded dragons, iguanas, aviaries, and amphibians, you spotted a cute, fuzzy Chinchilla. Do you know anything about them? And do you really think the pre-pubescent kid you’re talking to knows what he’s talking about? No, hardly not. He wants to make a sale, get commission and get it over with. Here are the many things you didn’t know about chinchillas.
So what do Chins live in? You can’t go and get just any old cage. It has to be tall and wide enough for your Chin to easily move. They do not grow to be very large, but jumping a distance of six feet is easy for them. The more room they have, the less stressed the Chin will be. Do NOT buy a birdcage. People do this all the time, and then end up having an amputee pet. The wires in a birdcage are sufficient for afoot to fall through and then get broken because they can’t get it out. Ferret and Chinchilla palaces are excellent and Pre-assembled, just snap that bad boy in place, pour some bedding in, get some dishes and you’re almost in business.
OK, you got the cage? Awesome… Next article of business! BEDDING! I swear if you get wood chip bedding for your chin, you need to be shot. Really! Wood chips cause respiratory illness in many small animals, and sometimes in dogs and cats. Don’t use it. Get the fluffy stuff! Care-fresh pet bedding is awesome. Your pet will need something to eat out of. Glass or ceramic bowls are best, as you can sanitize them, and they’re chew proof. I prefer to have small hay and feed balers that are metal and attach to the outside of the cage. your pet is less likely to defecate in something suspended mid cage, and it will provide some degree of exercise because they’ll have to reach for it. Petsmart has them for rather cheap. You will also need a water bottle! Don’t hang it inside the cage. They will eat it. If you cannot understand this concept, don’t buy a Chinchilla.
So, you have the cage, bedding, feeders, and water bottle. You need to chew toys, food, treats, a dust bath, and a dust bathhouse! Chew toys may seem to lie something you can skimp on, but they’re not. A chin will ruin its’ cage and whatever else it can get if it doesn’t have chews. It can also cause health problems because its teeth grow all of its life. Lava landings are awesome, and so are lava chews. Wood chews are cool too, just make sure they are specifically for chinchillas. The best food in my experience, and according to ingredients, is called Carefresh Complete FOR CHINCHILLAS. Do not buy a rabbit, Guinea pig, hamster or ferret food for a chinchilla. It does not have the proper nutrition. Hay is a staple concerning chins. I use Oxbow. Get the Botanical Hay or plain Western Timothy hay. DO NOT USE ALFALFA! Treats are another touchy category. I buy dehydrated fruits and veggies or get them fresh fruits and veggies, but only a little. If you give them too much, they become crap propelled jet packs. A dust bath is important. Chinchillas do not bathe in water, it makes their skin crack and bleeds. You must provide a dust bath for at least 2 days a week. I get Vanilla Bean scented Pet Scentations brand. Don’t use a sand bath. IT SUCKS. Anything can be used as a bathhouse though. Mine is shaped like a chinchilla, but anything with a large enough opening can be used.
In short, they are expensive, but they will give you many years of love and entertainment as a part of your family.