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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Chinchilla Setup Steps

Chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera)

Experience Level: Intermediate

Chinchilla in dust bath


Did you know? Chinchillas require lanolin to remove dirt and debris from their fur. Commercial dust baths are similar to volcanic ash in that they contain lanolin.

Step 1Choosing a Habitat

• Chinchillas will begin to show signs of heat stress when temperatures exceed 80° F.

• Chinchillas raised together can live together peacefully (house same gender pairs only).

• Your Chinchilla needs a home with a solid floor, large enough for a (A) food dish (B) water bottle/ bowl, a (C) hay manger and a hiding house.
Minimum size is 30x29x18".

Multilevel homes are preferred since they provide additional space for exercising.

Cage Placement
• Place the habitat in a cool 65-75º F (18-24º C), low humidity area, out of direct sunlight.

Step 2Play and Hide

These items are essential for your Chinchilla’s comfort, health and well-being.

Exercise Wheel (not pictured)

• Remember Chinchillas are nocturnal and may use the exercise wheel after your bedtime.

Hide House (not pictured)

• Hide houses should be easily cleaned.

• Edible homes are available and encourage normal chewing behavior.

Dust Bath (not pictured)

• The container should have enough room for your pet to flip and roll around. Add 2” of Chinchilla bath dust to a container 2-3 times per week to let your Chinchilla take a dust bath for 10-20 minutes.

Chew Toys

(D) Your Chinchilla’s teeth never stop growing, so your pet needs lots of healthy things to chew on like treat sticks and chews.

Step 3Bedding


(E) Chinchillas love to hide and burrow, so provide lots of aspen, pine or recycled paper bedding. Line the home with 3-4” of bedding.

• Cedar shavings are not recommended for small pets

• Bedding should be spot cleaned weekly and completely changed monthly.

Traits and Behaviors

• With regular, gentle handling, Chinchillas will bond with their Pet Parents. Be prepared for gentle, harmless nipping, as they use their mouths to become familiar with their environment.

Temperature Sensitivity
• Chinchillas overheat easily and must be kept in a cool environment.

• Marble cooling slabs, called (F) chin-chillers, can first be frozen and then put into a habitat to reduce the ambient temperature.


New surroundings and environments can be stressful for Small Pets. Prior to handling your pet, give her 3-4 days to adjust to her new surroundings while monitoring her behavior for any signs of excessive stress or illness.


• Cloudy, sunken or swollen eyes

• Overgrown front teeth

• Bare patches in the fur

• Diarrhea or discolored droppings

• Lethargic behavior

• Weight loss; not eating or drinking normally

• Sneezing; discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

If you notice any of the signs described above, speak with a PetSmart store associate or small animal veterinarian about the health of your pet.

PetSmart Cares
Pets purchased at PetSmart are a part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.

The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store pet care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase  price.