for Your New Chinchilla
Pet World Visit
originally came from the cool, dry areas in the Andes
mountains of South America. They prefer cooler
temperatures with a low humidity. An
air conditioned home works great.
Temperament: Some reference books insist chinchillas are not friendly. Perhaps today’s chinchillas have been kept in captivity long enough that they’re friendlier these days. We find them inquisitive and quite friendly – especially if you give them a treat once in a while -- a lot like your kids. Just go slowly and gently with your new chinchilla. Give him or her a chance to get to know you. If you give him a raisin every so often, he’ll cozy right up to you. Will they bite? They might, if you stick your finger in their mouth. We always wonder why people stick their fingers in any animal’s mouth.
Activity Level. Chinchillas love to bounce around like a beach ball. If they have room, some can easily jump three feet high. They prefer to jump rather than climb. They also can balance on the thinnest ledge – even the edge of a standing sheet of plywood. They really enjoy getting outside their cage and interacting with you daily.
Size: Adults chinchillas weigh about a pound.
chinchilla food contains every nutrient they need except water.
In a pinch, rabbit or guinea pig foods will work if you run out of
the right food. But you’re
asking for trouble for your chinchilla if you feed either of these for more than a brief
Chris Griffin, DVM, DABVP, Kannapolis, NC, July 19, 2008
Hi. I came across your web site while surfing today and
found your rabbit page.
I enjoyed seeing what you had to say but noticed a glaring and potentially problematic omission from your diet section. All hind gut fermenting
animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, require hay as large portion of the diet. Pellets are fine but actually much less
necessary for adult rabbits than hay (Timothy or Orchard Grass) because of the extremely high fiber content the stomach and intestines (and cecum)
require to stay healthy and functioning.
Also, the pellets fed to rabbits over six months of age (depending on the breed) should be timothy based as well, to decrease the amount of calcium
that will be excreted via the urine.
I hope this information is seen as being helpful. I have treated too many rabbits over the past 10 years on diets too low in fiber (Hay). Prevention is the key, and it is easy enough -- unlimited timothy or grass hay.
The information at www.oxbowhay.com is excellent. I do not work for them, but am very satisfied with their products for rabbits (and other
animals) and think the educational materials they have are great.
Best of luck -- and I hope you find this information helpful.
A: Thanks for the info. I found it helpful.
I'm adding your letter to our rabbit, guinea pig, and chinchilla
Supplements: You need no added vitamins or mineral supplements. They do like occasional snacks of dried alfalfa or timothy. In fact, chinchillas love these dried hays. Feed fresh greens sparingly.
Special Lighting? Since chinchillas work the night shift, their lighting probably makes little difference.
Water: Water bottles always stay cleaner than water bowls. Since chinchillas love to chew, protect their water bottle from their always gnawing teeth. (Chinchillas will also chew on electric wires if you let them.)
Handling: Scoop chinchillas up from below rather than grabbing them from above. Handle them carefully, and they quickly learn to sit calmly on your hand. They like to sit on your shoulder. That fluffy tail makes an excellent handle if your chinchilla refuses to cooperate with you at first. LA.
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