Whenever you are buying a pet you need to understand everything about that pet and what you are buying into. This means knowing how to keep the pets happy and healthy, what to feed them, and what their temperaments and behaviours are. It’s no good having unwelcome surprises crop up after you own a pet, especially if it is something you do not think you can live with in the long term.
Understanding pets before you own them will help make your job of looking after them a lot easier. Knowing what foods a pet likes means you can give them the best food from the beginning. Knowing how and when it likes to play means you can bring the best out by playing with it, helping the pet to become familiar with human social interaction. So as you can appreciate, doing the research before you bring a pet into your home is very important, doing the research beforehand will save you a lot of stress afterwards.
A chinchilla is a small pet that has becoming increasingly popular over the past few years, although they are not classed as a common household pet by any means. They are very soft to the touch, most people agree they look very cute, and they are fascinating to watch. Because they are not common there are a lot of misconceptions about them, and also a lot of information that is not well known. So before bringing one into your home, take a read of this article and some other resources you will find in the Pets4Homes rodent care articles regarding chinchillas to ensure you are fully prepared.
There are a few things that you absolutely need to know about chinchillas before bringing one home, this will help ensure that they are the right fit for you and your lifestyle and vice versa. Below are some of the most important factors regarding owning and looking after chinchillas. While it does not cover absolutely everything there is to know about them, if you can live with all of the following points then a chinchilla might just be the perfect pet for you.
Like a lot of rodents chinchillas are nocturnal animals, this means they will be more active during the night than the day. So think about this, you do not want their cage in your bedroom or anywhere you will be disturbed overnight when you are trying to sleep, and likewise you do not want to wake them during the day when you are active.
They can be quite noisy when they are scratching or chewing on wood to grind their teeth, so
if you are a very light sleeper and live in an apartment or small house there may be no escaping the noise. This is something you should consider carefully, it would be a shame to create the whole set up and not be able to get a good night’s sleep.
One of the biggest surprises to new chinchilla owners is the discovery that they take dust baths. This is a practice that is freely available to them in the wild, but something you need to facilitate in their cage. You need to buy some specially formulated chinchilla dust and dust bathing house, place this in their cage and they will use it when they are ready. It is recommended that you provide the dust bathing house around 3 times a week, this is usually sufficient. If you think this is too often or not enough you will get an idea from looking at the coat on your chinchilla, if it looks and feels a little greasy then you can offer more regular baths, if it is shiny and clean then you have it just right.
All pets like to spend some time playing with toys and other accessories and chinchillas are no different. You will find a wide range of toys and other items in pet stores, the key thing to remember here is that chinchillas gnaw on almost everything! So don’t expect anything to last a long time, especially if it is made of soft materials.
Because chinchillas will gnaw on almost anything they can get their teeth around you need to be careful when choosing a cage. Wooden cages will absolutely not be suitable, they will chew their way out of there is no time. So a metal wire cage is always the preferred choice, these tend to be fairly light and inexpensive too so that’s a plus.
When buying a cage specifically designed for chinchillas you will notice it has a couple of floors, some items to jump on or climb over, and an easy to clean tray at the bottom. Buying a readymade cage is usually the most cost effective and easy way to go about it.
If you have a busy home with lots of noise you are not best placed to have chinchillas. They like having peace and quiet around them and any sudden or loud noises can cause them stress. Remember they are nocturnal animals, so during the day they will be sleeping, if you wake them they will not be happy. The best location for them is in a room with no TV or radio noise and not too much traffic walking past during the day.
The reality is that when keeping a pet in a cage as opposed to the wild, their environment is a lot more static and as a result chinchillas will get bored from time to time. For this reason it is always best if you have at least two chinchillas, this way they can keep each other company. When they are happier, their health will be a lot better, their coats look a look cleaner and they will be more social with you.
Also, as mentioned above having a good cage set up with plenty for the chinchillas to climb and explore will also help.