Chinchilla Care Page
Choosing the correct type of home for your pet is a very important decision you have to make.
It is important that he has a home where he feels happy and is safe and comfortable. House
your chinchilla in a wire cage inside your home. Chinchillas love to jump and climb so be sure
to choose that cage that offers shelves. Ferret cages are an ideal choice. Chinchillas are
native to a cool climate and have very dense fur to protect them from the cold. This fur will
cause them to overheat quickly. Aquariums do not offer enough ventilation and can cause
overheating even if kept in a cool room. Chinchillas need to be kept at temperatures below 75
degrees. They are nocturnal meaning they are most active at night. If you are a light sleeper
you may choose not to place the cage in your bedroom.
Your chinchilla cage will need a water bottle and a food dish attached to the side of the cage. If
you use a food bowl on the floor your chinchilla will use it as a potty. Glass water bottles are the
best choice since chinchillas chew. If you can't find a glass bottle look for a metal guard that fits
between the cage and the bottle. You can use pine shavings or pellets made out of recycled
paper to line the bottom of the chinchilla cage. Never use cedar wood of any kind in a chinchilla
cage. It will cause respiratory problems. Chinchillas have teeth that are constantly growing so
you must provide something in the cage for chewing. We recommend wood toys. Parrot toys
made from hanging wood are great and lots of fun for your chinchilla. You can also use Scoria
Stores or lava stones made for small animals. Your chinchilla will enjoy chewing on empty toilet
paper tubes. This is a fun toy but won't be adequate for keeping his teeth healthy.
Your new chinchilla will need a dust bath a few times a week. You can give it one daily if you
like. Take a container that is large enough for your chinchilla to roll around in and fill it with
about an inch of Chinchilla Dust. (This is a commercial product usually made of fullers earth.
Do Not use regular sand). Place it in the cage for 15-20 minutes and let your chinchilla roll
around in it. This removes his excess oils and keeps his fur looking thick and beautiful.
Chinchillas do most of their sleeping during the day and prefer to have a house of some sort to
sleep in. This can be a box made out of pine or cardboard. You can also use a piece of clay
pipe, which will help keep him cool in the warmer weather. PVC is also acceptable. Never use
plastic in a chinchilla cage. Your chinchilla will most likely eat it and this can cause serious
Chinchillas have a very delicate digestive system and can't handle a sudden change in food.
Diet changes should be added gradually over a week's time. Your Chinchilla will be happy and
healthy if he is fed correctly. He should have access to pellets at all times. Make sure that the
pellets are fresh and that you keep them in an airtight container. As part of his daily diet he
also requires hay (timothy or alfalfa). Chinchillas should not be given watery foods such as
lettuce. This can cause serious diarrhea, which can be fatal. Chinchilla love treats, but
remember that they are 'treats' and should not be given in excess. You can purchase various
natural healthy treats for your Chinchilla. Some are in the form of dried grasses, often with
Alfalfa, dried berries, fruit etc... Be careful if buying animal mixes that contain nuts and
sunflower seeds. Your pet will readily eat and enjoy them, but caution must be exercised that
he does not over indulge on treats that have a high fat content. Also, you can give raisins,
which are the number one treat for Chinchillas. Two or three raisins a day is a good amount. A
slice of apple, or dried fruit are also enjoyed. Cereals that have no sugar content and are
natural, such as muesli and cornflakes also help add variety and fiber to your pets diet. You
could perhaps make up a rotation, allowing him one different treat every day. That way he will
never know what is coming and will look forward to a nice treat each day.
A Chinchilla is very social and needs to interact with you every day but will be scared when you
first bring him home. The first day leave him alone to get used to his new home. On the second
day talk to him softly and place your arm inside the cage. Don't try to hold your new pet or take
him out until he has begun to trust you. Use treats to get him to come to your hand. It may take
a few days but with patience your chinchilla will soon be meeting you at the cage door. Once he
has learned to trust you its OK to take him out to play. Remember your chinchilla will chew on
anything so keep him away from electrical wires, plastics, and your favorite furniture. If you play
with your chinchilla in the bathroom be sure to close the toilet. He can easily jump that high and
many chinchillas have gotten a surprise swim that way!