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Food

Chinchillas should always have fresh water, pellets and alfalfa blocks available to them. You may substitute the alfalfa blocks for Timothy, Bermuda Grass, or Oats. Water bottles should be cleaned weekly. Chinchillas love treats, but they have very sensitive digestive systems so you need to be careful with the amount you give them. Some good treats are: raw almonds, shredded wheat or other whole grain bread or cereal, raisins, crasins, carrots. DO NOT FEED chinchillas cabbage, corn, lettuce, peanuts, or sunflower seeds in the shell. These can cause gas or other stomach problems. And because chinchillas can not pass gas this can ultimately lead to death.

 

Dust Bath

Chinchillas love dust baths and they are so cute to watch when doing so. They should have a dust bath at least once a week (daily is better). Chinchilla dust is available in most pet stores. Place the dust on the bottom of a bowl large enough for the chin to twist around in and enjoy the show.

 

Handling

Chinchillas are not cats, they do not liked to be heavily stroked. But they do like to be scratched or rubbed around their ears and chin. When picking them up try to put your hands on either side of them and kind of scoop them up rather than grapping them. While holding them, let them move on or around your body, them may even become shoulder trained.

 

Companionship   

Chinchillas are very social animals and do much better with a companion. There should be at least two chins per cage. After you see how cute they are when they groom or snuggle together I know you wouldn't want to leave them in their cage by themselves. Just because they have another chinny to snuggle with doesn't mean they wont bond with you.

 

Housing

Chins should be housed in clean cages with a wire bottom or solid bottom with pine shavings. I personally prefer solid bottom cages because it is safer, easier to clean, and tends to keep it smelling a little better. Chinchillas love to jump around so the cage needs to be at least 2'x3'x3' to give them space. They are also nocturnal so it is important that they have a wheel. Not a hamster wheel, it should be about 14" in diameter preferable solid to prevent leg breaks or other injuries. But one of the most important housing requirement for a chinchilla is to provide them with a hideaway house to feel secure. I normally make a pine box about 4"x6". A pine box is much better for them than a plastic one because chins love to chew and the pine is good for there teeth and is easy on there digestive system. Note that Eucalyptus, Red Cedar, Redwood, and Plywood's are reported to be toxic for chinchillas. If their cage is kept outside it will need more enclosures to prevent drafts and to protect them from becoming fearful of predators. Wood or metal can be placed on top and the sides of the cage for more privacy and to protect them from different elements. Temperatures should never get above 80F or below 40F.