all chinchillas should be examined
by a veterinarian. Please monitor your pet and call us if you have any concerns. Some signs include: eating less or not eating at all, defecating less or not passing feces at all, and appearing uncomfortable, hunched, or quieter than normal.
Some of the most important pieces of making sure your chinchilla is well taken care of include:
Chinchilla Care Instructions
In general, we recommend the following diet for chinchillas:
- Unlimited access to grass hay, such as timothy, orchard, or meadow. Oxbow is a great brand.
- 1/8 cup of good quality timothy-hay based pellets per day (adult chinchilla). Oxbow is a great brand.
- Vegetables and fruits can be offered in very small amounts as treats. No more than 1/2 teaspoon per day. Treats high in sugar, such as yogurt treats are not recommended and can cause a dysbiosis and diarrhea.
- Chinchillas are crepuscular to nocturnal animals, and they can be active during the day.
- They are social and pairs or harems can live together peacefully if they are all the same sex.
- All chinchillas should get at least 30 mins of activity a day outside of their enclosure.
- Dust baths should be offered regularly (30 min per day). The dust bath house should not be a permanent structure in your chinchilla’s habitat. Please keep the dust clean, as chinchillas tend to urinate and defecate on it.
- Chinchillas require material for chewing to reduce the risk of dental overgrowth. Branches of unsprayed deciduous trees (e.g. willow, birch, hazelnut) are suitable. Do not offer branches from stone fruit trees or conifer trees.
- Chinchillas require a large amount of space with multiple levels for jumping and climbing. The minimum enclosure dimensions should be 20” wide x 60” tall, with a volume of at least 3 m The floor should be solid and covered with a paper based absorbable product, such as Care Fresh. Select a cage that has small wiring ( ¼” x ¼”) on the inside levels to prevent limb injury. Alternatively, you can add shelving or anti-slip kitchen mats to these levels to avoid sores from developing on the bottoms of their feet.
- The best enclosure for chinchillas is a room with branches and wooden platforms for jumping/climbing with a paper bedding flooring.
- Chinchillas can be trained to use a litter box.
- Provide visual security with sleeping cottages, cardboard boxes, or plastic caves that are a minimum of 30 x 20 x 20cm. Each animal should have its own hiding box. These can be placed at each level of the enclosure. However, the highest box will most likely become the preferred sleeping spot.
- Rodents have very sensitive respiratory tracks. Candles, incense, aerosol products, scented products, aromatic diffusers/essential oils, or heavily scented cleaning products should not be used near or around them! When cleaning and disinfecting their enclosure and food bowls, ensure it’s well rinsed off with water and air dried before replacing your pet back into its home.
- Clean, change, and check to make sure the water bottles are functioning frequently.
- Chinchillas do best at cooler room temperatures of 59-70°F with low humidity (<40%). They can easily become heat stressed if it’s over 80°F or if the humidity is too high (>55%).