Chinchillas

Chinchillas are rodents, native to the Andean mountain area of South America. Chinchillas are a protected species in the wild.

The ones offered for sale in this country have been bred in this country & make ideal pets.
They are active in the evenings but are not purely a nocturnal animal.

Chinchilla are available in a variety of colours – light / medium grey, beige, black velvet, mosaic, silver and white being the most popular.

Housing

Chinchillas of either sex may be kept singly, but if you wish to keep a pair they must be of a single sex and must both be purchased as babies and at the same time. A breeding pair should be at least seven months old before the female is introduced to the male.

The cage should be of wire-mesh construction with a raised wire-mesh floor to prevent the coat becoming soiled. A removable tray placed under the floor will make it easier to keep the cage clean. A nest box or shelf should be provided. The cage should be placed in a dry area, away from draughts and excessive heat. Great care should be taken not to let your chinchilla escape. Essential cage accessories include a food container, water bottle, hayrack and dust-bath. Chinchillas do not like damp or draughty conditions.

It is essential for your chinchilla to have a ready supply of fresh drinking water, which should be given in a chew-proof gravity feed bottle.

Water

It is essential for your chinchilla to have a ready supply of fresh drinking water, which should be given in a chew-proof gravity feed bottle.

Feeding

Your chinchilla should be fed on a diet of specially prepared chinchilla pellets. It is important to give quality hay to provide essential roughage. Rabbit pellets and rodent/hamster mixes are not suitable. The use of wrong foods will reduce the lifespan and breeding capability. Any changes in diet must be introduced gradually. You should mix the two foods together and gradually increase the volume of the new food and reduce the volume of the old one until a total change is achieved. A piece of cuttlefish bone is a good form of calcium supplement. As a treat one raisin or sunflower seed may be given daily.

General Care

Chinchillas have the densest coat of any land mammal (60 separate hairs from a single root). To keep the coat in peak condition they are given a dust bath. The dust bath consists of a metal container, which is filled to a 5cm depth with chinchilla sand (a mined volcanic dust). The bath is placed inside the cage each day. Your chinchilla will then ‘roll’ in the dust to clean his coat. The bath should be removed after ten minutes. Fullers Earth and silver sand are not suitable for this purpose. Your chinchilla should be groomed at least once a week. Your pet shop will have a range of suitable grooming combs and brushes. As a general rule chinchillas are hardy animals and rarely become ill. Should you become concerned about your chinchilla’s health you should consult your vet.

Life Expectancy

A chinchilla’s lifespan is 15–20 years.