When chinchillas are out in the wild, their fur is their protector from the elements. When they are captured and turned into pets, adjustments have to be made in order for them to be comfortable and survive.
If you plan to keep a pet chinchilla in your house, the animal needs to be somewhere where the area is cool and serene, but eliminating drafts. If you have an available room in your house, make sure there is plenty of room for the animal to roam. Chinchillas are very active and they need to have enough space to move freely.
It’s better for them to have a large cage, in part because of what was stated earlier. The length should also be tall (long). The floor space needed is about 24 by 24 inches. If you get a tall cage, get one with shelves and ladders for climbing. This is a great way the chinchilla can stay active. Don’t get cages that are manufactured with plastic; a wire cage is the best quality cage to purchase. If you want to make it easier for cleaning purposes, find one with a pull out tray. The pull out try can have wood shavings (except cedar). A wire floor is good for them because it keeps their bottoms from getting dirty. In the event you have a wire floor, you should have a wooden piece to cover the bottom wire area. This way, their feet won’t wear out from constant activity.
Secure the cage in an area of your house where they won’t be disturbed by others. It should not be exposed to any sunlight. Sunlight causes the chinchilla to sweat and could lead to overheating. In the summer, the area where the cage is sitting should be watched and if need be, move it to a cooler section of the house. You can turn on the air conditioner for a while, or you can add a pan of ice cubes.
You should have glass water bottles for the animal. They are better than plastic because they can’t chew through glass. If you do use plastic water bottles, you can get chew guards for them. Get a ceramic food bowl so it won’t tip over so much, if at all. The heavier the bowl, the less chance it will tip over and will stay steady in the cage.
The best toys for your pet chinchilla are wooden blocks and tree branches. The branches should be pesticide free. Willow balls and rings are good for them to have, also. The toys should be free from small or plastic parts where the animal can accidentally swallow them. They can also use pumice blocks; in addition to using it for playtime, these blocks can maintain their teeth.
Wheels may do your pet chinchilla good, provided that they start using them at an early age. A wheel that is 12 – 15 inches is the best choice and the surface should be solid and made of metal. Having wheels installed in the cage provides them with good exercise. As mentioned, it is only beneficial if they’re introduced to it early on.
As long as they’re closely supervised, your pet chinchilla should get some time outside of the cage. Make sure that you don’t have things in the area that can harm or cause some type of danger to them, such as electrical cords. You should be able to coax the animal back to their cage with a raisin or some other dried fruit. Sometimes, they just make their way back to their cage without any help. If possible, refrain from chasing them, as this does nothing but frustrate you and the pet.