Caring for Your New Chinchilla
Info from Aqualand on Chinchilla lanigera

 

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Earthworms
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Infusoria
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Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

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Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
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Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
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Quarantine Tank
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2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

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Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Chinchilla Factoids

Origin

Andes mountains

Sexual Differences

Not obvious at first glance

Temperature

Below 80o.  Air conditioning helpful.

Climber

Wants to climb (or leap) to different levels

Attitude

Alert, inquisitive, very active, jumpers

Schedule

More active at night.  Sleeps during day.

Exercise

Take out of cage daily.  Add a large wheel.

Substrate

No cedar chips

Security

Needs a hide box

Strong Chewers

Needs wood and a pumice block for teeth

Foods

Chinchilla pellets (use untippable bowl)

Supplements

Dried alfalfa and timothy

Treats

Raisins, dried bananas, nuts

Water

Use a well protected water bottle

Chinchilla Dust

An absolute must

Housing

Sturdy wire best (holds up to chewing)

Cleaning Schedule

Weekly suffices.  Their droppings are dry.

Breeding Age

At 3 to 5 months.  Eight months better.

Gestation Period

111 days

Brood Size

1 to 6 kits.  Usually 2.

Keep with mom

At least six weeks

Breeding Comments

Avoid whites w/whites and blacks w/blacks

LA
Careful when he's by your neck.  Those whiskers will tickle you to death.

Origins:  Chinchillas 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.

Natural Environment:  Volcanic dust and dry vegetation are an important part of their natural environment and diet.  You must provide both if you intend to keep chinchillas.

LA Pic
Act friendly to your chinchilla and he'll be friendly to you.

LA Pic
New chinchillas squirm a lot when you first pick them up.  They adapt to you quickly.

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.

LA Pic
Chinchillas need a dust bath twice a week.

LA
We don't see very many white chinchillas.

LA
Nosy little guys always looking around -- even at bath time.

 

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.

LA
Chinchilla balls let them zip around your house without fear of losing or stepping on them.

Size:  Adults chinchillas weigh about a pound. 

LA
Most chins like chucked under the chin.

Foods:  Standard 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 period.  
 

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 pages.  LA
PS  We carry the oxbow products.

LA
Everything comes to a standstill when you give your chinchillas timothy.

LA
Chinchillas  like it.  They love it.  They want some more of it.

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.

LA
Chinchillas like to nap during the day.

Special Lighting?  Since chinchillas work the night shift, their lighting probably makes little difference.

LA
Just lazin' out.  Young chinchillas waiting for the party to start. 

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.)

LA Pic
This guy rolled too fast to catch on camera

LA
Another nosy chinchilla.

LA
Lighter chinchilla on right already took his "bath."

LA
Both chinchillas now freshly bathed.

LA
Neat looking new dust bath containers for chinchillas (and degus).

 

Dust Bath:  Chinchillas need a dust bath on a regular basis.  If yours gets a matted or “greasy” look, give him a dust bath.  If you give him a dust bath only occasionally (instead of all the time), he cavorts in the dust like a spawning carp.  A flat fish bowl makes a great dust bowl for your chinchilla.  Or a cat box with a rim.

LA Pic
Incorrect grab on left.  Correct handling on right.

LA
Six-week-old mosaic at Iowa Aquaria grabbed for a photo op.

LA
Better hold here (by the tail).

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.

© 1997, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005, © 2006, © 2009  LA Productions

LA
Outtake photo for fun.

LA
Chins do like their timothy.

LA
Pondering diving into the dust bath.

LA
2-days old.  Mom standard grey.  Dad white.

LA
Eyes open and quite motile.

LA
Gets around on his own but still needs his mom for six weeks.

LA
Snoopy little devil.  Probably looking for mom.

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