Chinchillas

Housing

When it comes to choosing your chinchillas’ cage, your motto should be the bigger – the better. Chinchillas are busy, active, inquisitive animals and they love lots of space to jump and play around in.

Quick Tip

Chinchillas need lots of Timothy hay in their diet. Hay is naturally abrasive and helps to wear their teeth down.

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The best cages are made from wire mesh (which should have a mesh no larger than 15mm x 15mm) which extends across the floor too. They love to chew and would gnaw their way through a wooden floor in no time.

To give your chinchillas’ feet a rest from standing on the wire (which can lead to a chronic condition called bumblefoot), fit some solid shelves and branches to sit on – ideally these should be apple or pear as some branches have sap that can be poisonous. Make them out of soft wood – it keeps your pets entertained to have something to chew on.

Within the cage, you should create a small bedroom area where your pets can snuggle up and feel secure. You can buy a small chinchilla nest box from specialist pet shops, and these don’t need bedding. But your pet will eventually chew through it, so make sure there are no nails or staples in its construction.

Showing behaviour that’s unique amongst rodents, your chinchillas will love a bath – not a water bath, but a good sand bath to keep the coat in tip-top condition. Have a special container and fill it with approved chinchilla sand only, which stops the skin being damaged. Put the bath in the cage several times a week, but only for ten minutes at a time, in case it gets used as a toilet.

A constant temperature is ideal, so you should put the cage out of direct sunlight and away from draughts and radiators. Your chinchillas will bear cold quite well, but may be prone to over-heating. At temperatures greater than 25°C, chinchillas cool themselves down by sending blood to their large ears – so red ears can be a sign of over-heating.

Did you know?

Chinchilla's teeth are continuously growing which is why it is important that they have constant access to things they can gnaw on.

Did you know?

Chinchillas don't pant or sweat which means they are prone to heat exhaustion.

Cleaning

The wire cage bottom also allows urine and droppings to fall through into a tray where it can be absorbed by newspaper or dust-free wood chippings. This not only makes cleaning up easier, it keeps your chinchillas away from damp litter too – they’re very prone to catching colds in damp conditions.

The handy tray also stops droppings getting caught up in your pets’ thick coats.

Replace soiled litter every day and clean the entire cage with a safe disinfectant (you can buy special cleaning agents from specialist pet shops)

Quick Tip

Chinchillas are incredibly social animals and out in the wild they will live in colonies of more than 100 individuals.

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Have a question?

If you have a question, please email us or call us on 0800 413 969. Our dedicated consumer care team are available to answer any questions you may have. If you are concerned about the immediate health of your pet, please seek the advice of your vet as soon as possible.

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