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Chinchilla

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Traits & behavior

Nocturnal
They like to run and play at night and sleep during the day, so be prepared for them to be active and noisy after dark. However, they can adapt to being daytime active.

Social
Chinchillas raised together can live together peacefully (house same gender pairs only). With regular, gentle handling, they will bond strongly with their Pet Parents.

Clean
They keep their soft fur clean by taking a dust bath 2-3 times per week. (It's really fun to watch, too!)
 

Things to remember

Lifting & handling
Handle your chinchilla gently -- scoop her up in both hands and hold her snuggly against your body with cupped hands so she'll feel safe and secure. Remember to never grab her fur or tail -- the hair will pull out.

Nipping
As you tame your chinchilla, be prepared for gentle, harmless nipping, as they use their mouths to become familiar with their environment.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home.

Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the inform or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.

Temperature sensitive
Chinchillas overheat easily, and should be kept in a cool environment.

Nutrition

Staple diet
Choose a fortified chinchilla diet. Fill the bowl approximately 3/4 full.

Hay
A small handful of Timothy hay daily adds fiber to your chinchilla's diet.

Fruits & vegetables*
Treat your chinchilla to a small piece of apple or carrot, or two raisins every day.

Treat sticks
These hard and crunchy treats keep your chinchilla's front teeth trimmed - always keep one in the habitat.

Water
Change and fill your chinchilla's water bottle or dish with clean water every day.

*Remember that fresh food items require their own dish and should be removed from the habitat after four hours to avoid spoilage. Treats should be less than 10% of total food intake.

Health

Signs of a healthy chinchilla:

  • Clean, bright eyes
  • Soft, clean fur with no bald patches
  • Curious, active behavior
  • Eats and drinks normally
  • Well-formed droppings with no diarrhea

Things to watch for:

  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Bare patches in the fur
  • Diarrhea or discolored droppings
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Weight loss; not eating or drinking normally
  • Labored breathing
  • Sneezing; discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

If you notice any of the signs described above, consult a Small Animal Veterinarian as soon as possible.
 

Habitat

Housing
Your chinchilla needs a well-ventilated home with a solid floor, large enough for a food dish and water bottle or bowl, and a hiding house. There should be plenty of room for all cage accessories, and for her to move around freely. Minimum cage size is 30"L x 29"W x 18"H (76 cm x 74 cm x 46 cm).

Bedding
Chinchillas love to dig, so lots of clean aspen or other appropriate bedding is a must. Line the home with 3"-4" (8-10 cm) of bedding, and change it weekly or more often if needed.

Dust bath
Add 2" (5 cm) of chinchilla bath dust to a container 2-3 times per week to let your chinchilla take a dust bath. The container should be large enough for her to flip and roll around. Remove the container when the bath is done.

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

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