Caring for your chinchilla includes choosing a place for it to live. There are two options for housing these fluffy creatures – a large chinchilla cage or a special room in your house.
The living space is a key component in chinchilla`s environment that strongly influences its well-being. The best chinchilla cage is one that offers stress-free and hygienic atmosphere. The proper enclosure should be large enough to enable the pet to run around.
Some people prefer cheap chinchilla cages, others insist on buying deluxe cages. Every chinchilla parent wants to provide the best environment for his adorable animal. It is proven that chinchillas need to be housed in a place designed specifically for this type of small rodents. The special housing has to be safe and spacious. These rodents need many hours for running and jumping. Chinchillas may become depressed if they live in a small lodging.
Chinchilla Cage Comparison Chart
Cage Dimensions: The Larger the Cage is, the Happier is the Chinchilla
Chinchillas need a cage measuring at least 24″ x 14″ x 16″. For a chinchilla family – opt for bigger cage size – 30″ x 18″ x 24″. The most comfortable design features dimensions of 36″ x 30″ x 60″.
The pet is an active climber so consider at least two levels of the house, two ramps, and 2 balconies. Larger chinchilla cages are equipped with three floors.
The wire mesh should have spaces up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) especially if one of the pets is pregnant. Baby chinchillas could squeeze even through small cage bar spacing.
Chinchilla Housing: Materials
A galvanized wire mesh cage is a good choice since it allows the fresh air to flow and to prevent the pet of overheating. The metal house offers a well-ventilated atmosphere. Sometimes in a hot summer day, the chinchilla clenches the metal fencing with teeth in order to find a cooler place to stay.
The best chinchilla cages are equipped with a durable plastic tray. There are several options including drop-in or pull-out pan which makes cleaning easier.
If you opt for another material for the chinchilla ho, your smart pet could chew it and escape.
Wire Flooring or Solid Bottom Pet Cage?
There are two types of floors available – wire-mesh or solid-bottom. The wire floor is preventing the transmission of disease because excrement easily goes through to the bottom rack. It is easy to clean this floor and to control the exposure of the animal to urine and dirty bedding. Doctors specialized in disorders caused by toxins claim that this enclosure reduces pet parent allergies.
However, many veterinarians claim that solid bottom with bedding is better for a chinchilla rodent and the wire floor is inappropriate for it. They think that wire-bottom caging may cause pathological changes such as limb lesions. In fact, bedding should be part of the chinchilla environment, but pet owners can use it either in wire flooring and solid bottom options.
It is important to know that the non-toxic plastic floor can be easily damaged by chemicals and chewing so it has to be replaced every 3 years. Other species of the cage with a plastic base is that owners have to change the bedding of the open-ended lodge at least once a day.
Experienced owners affirm that their exotic pets are successfully housed in wire chinchilla cages. You just have to ensure that the mesh does not have sharp edges. Place enough bedding and shavings to cover the pull out plastic tray at the bottom of the cage. Take into account that high bedding volume and frequent changes reflect positively your chinchilla well-being. As a conclusion, the ultimate indicator of whether or not enclosure is appropriate is the way your chinchilla feels and looks.
Pet Cage Monitoring
The chinchilla living areas must be checked every day. Ensure that the cage conditions are good: doors have to be closed; food container and water bottle have to be full; surfaces have to be clean. Make certain that the light, noise, and temperature levels are adequate for the nocturnal animal. A major consideration is the provision of opportunities to rest and socialize and interact with the whole family.
The chinchilla owner has to monitor the pet`s health status. You can distinguish signs of disease when there are significant changes in chinchilla behavior. A sign of disorder is any reduction of food or water intake, in excrement.
Cage floor covering serves to absorb moisture from excrement and provide the natural environment. The material should be dry, absorbent, low dust content and non-toxic. The aromatic softwood is not recommendable.
The perfect bedding for a small pet cage is consisting of wood particles such as sawdust, hardwood chip of oak or ground corncob. Some people use shredded paper. The fibrous particles have to be changed as soon as any wet is noticed.
Where to Place the Cage?
Keep the chinchilla cages out of direct sunlight, heat, humidity or wind. It is a good idea to cover a part of the house during the day to make your pet feel even more comfortable.
Vets claim that during the day the cage should be placed in a quiet corner of the house. That will help them spend their time sleeping. Some pet owners do the opposite – they try to communicate with chinchillas all the time. Although chinchillas are nocturnal creatures, they require a great deal of attention. If your rodent is curious and needs affection, it will allow you to hold it. You can even provide chinchillas with wood sticks or cardboard to keep them busy.
As an owner, you have to protect the pet from a lot of noise during the day but do not ignore it. Speak to your chinch in a soft voice and try to approach it for a scratch.
Rearranging Pet House Guidelines
Changes in the environment of chinchilla enclosure have an important effect on their well-being and behavior. The intent of introducing new decoration and accessories is to keep rodent fit and happy. Housing enrichment, although an important part of pet care, can be stressful for a chinchilla. The ways your pet respond to environmental change will help you determine how frequent to put new items in rodent house. Sometimes animals need a stress recovery period to new surroundings.
Chinchillas need a wide range of accessories that allow climbing, nesting, hiding, and exploration. Ramps, running wheels, and hammocks are great for exercising. Boxes may contain treats and food. A good idea is to place rolls made out of grass, cardboard or wood in the cage. Your pet can easily rearrange them and construct a labyrinth.
In most cases, objects have to be replaced with new ones on a regular basis to provide an engaging environment. As we have already mentioned in our special article on chinchilla toys, the activity wheel provides a great opportunity for play and exploration. Although this toy looks funny, not every rodent voluntarily runs on a spinner. Some do it if they get a food reward. Many small animals are not confident to spin on a high-performance wheel.
For example, we bought a wheel for a 6 years old male chinchilla Chippi. Several weeks after we had placed the toy in the cage he still hadn’t used it. Our pet obviously did not like to run in circles. Instead, he uses the wheel to swing. We were delighted to watch him explore the novel item. The pet put only his front legs on the spinner. It may take several months to begin using it, so we decided to leave the activity wheel inside in case Chippi becomes interested. We will update the article if he learns to get running within the exercising wheel. In cases like that, it is better not to force exotic pet since getting used to new furniture can lead to stress.
This was an example of how cage changes and housing supplementation may reflect the chinchilla behavior. Although housing density is important, each particular animal reacts differently to exposure to new accessories. Let the chinchilla settle in for a few days and gradually introduce different items.
Feeding and Watering Accessories
The water bottle with a flip-top cap is perfect for a small pet such as a chinchilla. You can attach it anywhere on the wire mesh. This waterer with a ball tip features dripping control. This is very important for the proper chinchilla care since this small animal does not like to get wet. One of the best sellers is Lixit Corporation DW-44 No Drip Dog Top-Fill Water Bottle. It is suitable even for carriers.
The food bin feeder is definitely in the list of the useful chinchilla cage accessories. It is a great way to offer loose hay. This accessory also keeps the house clean and organized. Good examples of feeders are Kaytee Hay-N-Food Bin Feeder with Quick Locks and Super Pet Rabbit Hay Buffet Feeder with Snap-Lock. These accessories dispense dry grass without the food being wasted. That way your chinchilla pet will eat only fresh not wet, damp or soiled food. There is a variation of the breeder named Rolling hay holder. It can be fixed in the cage or used as a rolling toy.
Cage Accessories Ideas
Tunnels, funny small houses, and hammocks are great activity centers. They promote nesting, exploring and natural chewing instincts. These accessories are made out of renewable, non-toxic materials, natural wood or woven grass. Some of the best sellers are Ware Hand Woven Willow Twig Tunnel Small Pet Hideout, Woodland Getaway, Kaytee chinchilla hut hideout, and Prevue Hendryx Nature’s Hideaway Grass Hut Toy. The construction is safe. It is usually made without using screws or glue.
Chewing balls or sticks are perfect toys for your pet`s playtime. They offer a healthy activity for your cute animal. Another option is to provide your furry friend with a marble slab such as Kaytee Chinchilla Chiller Granite Stone. It keeps the pet cool in warm weather. This stone could be placed on the floor or on the shelves. Your chinchilla will love to sit on it especially in the summer.
Lava Ledge is among the specific cage accessories. It serves as a step, a place for resting or jumping.
Cleaning the Cage
The cage floor is often covered with wood shavings. The cage tray has to be cleaned 3 times a week and even more often in the summer in order to get rid of the smell. The odor comes not from your pet but from the part of the cage where the chinchilla pees. The used cages should be washed with warm water and then carefully dried every 2 months.
The prices of chinchilla cages vary from 50 US dollars to 270 US dollars depending on dimensions, materials and plastic trays.
Special Room for your Chinchilla
Some pet owners have a special room for their pets. There the chinchillas not only exercise and play but stay all day. Actually, it is not recommendable. Your pet can chew on the electrical cables and injure itself when it isn’t supervised.
If you want to take good care of your pet chinchilla, be sure to take your time and read some facts about chinchillas.