Wet Pets 2014 Ltd
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Home / Small Animals / Chinchilla

Chinchilla

SHELTER

Each adult chinchilla must have its own cage. Same sex adults do not live peacefully together. A male-female pair will share the same cage to breed, but only after they have been carefully introduced to each other. There must be a lot of space in the cage for a chinchilla to run about and stand up. So always choose the largest cage you can afford.

Carefully choose where to place the cage. Chinchillas live best in a moderate climate so try to keep them housed indoors. An outdoor habitat, including a drafty garage or attic, may result in the Chinchilla becoming ill due to harsh changes in temperature. The added benefit to keeping your pet indoors, of course, is that it will be easier to recapture. A pet kept outdoors may never be recovered.

Also, keep the cage away from areas subject to major fluctuations towards hot or cold temperatures. This includes kitchens, heaters, radiators, and places prone to smoke, excessive humidity and direct sunlight. Ensure there is enough ventilation without the cage being inundated with sudden drafts. In the wild a Chinchilla will always prefer a secure burrow free of intrusion from outside weather conditions. This sense of security can be emulated indoors by placing the cage in a corner or up against a wall to provide a feeling of safety.

FEEDING

Fit the cage with proper food and water dispensers. Invest in a small pellet dish that can be hung or fastened to the side of the cage. Such dishes are compact in size and allow an ongong supply of fresh food that can''t be spoiled by waste materials. A closed water system is essential for chinchillas. Commercially available water bottles are the best option; they inverte and attach to the outside of the cage via a wire holder while a small metal tube extends into the cage.

Thankfully, a chinchilla''s diet is cheap and straightforward. The animal enjoys pellets, hay and water. The occasional treat may also be given.

Chinchilla pellets contain alfalfa meal, wheat germ, molasses, oats, soyabean oil, corn and essential vitamins and minerals. About two tablespoons of pellets per day is the norm. Only untreated hay is suitable for Chinchillas. It shouldn''t be too fresh, though, and needs to be free of mould. Always use crisp, dry hay.

HEALTH

In normal circumstances, Chinchillas will do well in captivity. The best means of keeping ilnesses at bay is to maintain a clean cage accompanied by a balanced, correct diet. More importantly, a robust Chinchilla is better equipped to shrug off minor ailments. The appearance of a serious condition, such as a prolonged loss of appetite or unusual behaviour, should be referred either back to the Pet Store where the animal was purchased or to a registered Vet.

Be on the alert for any signs of illness:

  • Look out for lethargy or a loss of appetite.
     
  • Check the color, consistency, and size of the Chinchilla''s faeces. Droppings from a healthy Chinchilla are rounded and of a uniform size. Their color can be an olive green to dark brown.
     
  • Watch for any lack of balance, or seepings from the eyes, nose, or mouth, plus irregular breathing patterns.
     
  • Keep infected Chinchillas isolated from their companions to prevent the spread of disease.Thoroughly clean the cage and all its contents on a regular basis until the sickness has disappeared.

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