Chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger)

 

Chinchilla Facts

Average Adult Size:12 inches long
Average Life Span:Up to 10+ years with proper care
Diet:Herbivore

Chinchillas have an inquisitive and gentle nature, but also have a lot of energy.

Diet

A well-balanced chinchilla diet consists of:

  • High-quality chinchilla pellets and limited amounts of vegetables and fruits.
  • Provide Timothy hay at all times.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
  • Do not feed chocolate, caffeine or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions. Avoid sugar and high fat treats.

Feeding

Things to remember when feeding your chinchilla:

  • Fresh food (pellets and hay) and water should always be available.
  • A limited amount of vegetables and fruits can be given daily, but should not exceed 10% of their total diet.
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within 24 hours should be discarded.

Housing

  • Chinchillas acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should never be in direct sunlight or in a drafty area.
  • A large multi-tiered habitat is recommended because chinchillas love to jump and play; wire habitats with a solid bottom are required to protect their feet. The space between the wires should not be bigger than one inch. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible.
  • 1-2" of bedding should be placed in the habitat; proper bedding includes high quality paper bedding, crumbled paper bedding, or hardwood shavings. Cedar-based products are not recommended.
  • Different types of small animals should not be housed together.

 

Normal Behavior

  • Play during the night and rest during the day (nocturnal).
  • A well-socialized chinchilla likes to be cuddled and carried.
  • Chew on objects to maintain all their teeth, which grow continuously; ensure they have plenty of wood chew sticks or mineral chews.
  • Chinchillas have a very fragile rib cage. Be gentle when handling them and do not squeeze their rib cage.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Clean and disinfect the habitat and its contents at least once a week with a 3% bleach solution. Rinse and allow to dry completely before placing the chinchilla back into the habitat.
  • Remove wet spots daily; change bedding at least once a week, or more often as necessary.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Chinchillas require a dust bath at least twice a week
  • Fur may be brushed with a soft brush.
  • Avoid getting your chinchilla wet.
  • Consult with a veterinarian if a chinchilla's teeth seem too long.
  • Chinchillas are born with white teeth, but over time, their teeth turn yellow; cleaning is not necessary.


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