Chinchillas are lovely pets, surprisingly friendly and very inquisitive. They will be happy with their cage located in almost any room of the house but as chinchillas are nocturnal animals they will be active for much of the night so a sleeping area, particularly a child’s bedroom, may not be the ideal location.
Once you have found a good place for your chinchillas to live (and remember that they like a big cage so will need more room than similar small animals like hamsters), what other tips do you need to know for health and happy chinchillas?
Chinchillas are very sociable creatures and because of this prosper well in pairs. That said, if you get two of different sex that become a breeding pair you should expect to have several litters of baby chinchillas a year. If you don’t have the room for an ever growing chinchilla population or to house the babies whilst they are maturing, look to get two chinchillas the same sex.
Because their teeth are always growing, chinchillas will chew almost anything that they come into contact with as a way of keeping their teeth in good condition. This means that you must make sure anything 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 get hold of curtains or coverings and pull them into the cage where they proceed to shred them. Because they need to chew, include items such as a tree branch (apple is ideal) or untreated wooden shelves. Half a concrete building breeze block at the bottom of the cage will give the chinchilla something to gnaw and also a different surface to sit on. Do not be surprised if this quickly becomes more rounded with the corners reduced to dust!
Chinchillas like to exercise and will relish the opportunity to explore outside their cage, under careful supervision. Remember to close windows and doors in the room you will let them out in, and block up any small openings that they could explore and escape from. They will also take the opportunity to chew items they come across, including the skirting boards, electrical cables and loose wallpaper. This can be reduced with some close supervision and by protecting vulnerable areas. Alternatively a staircase can provide a relatively safe location for your chinchilla to run around (and up and down) as they will spend most of their time out of their cage in bounding around, with fewer distractions.
Your pet chinchilla should provide you with years of entertainment, enjoyment and companionship and will thank you for following these small tips.