| Some basics::
Chinchilla means "little chinta" Their scientific name is Chinchilla lanigera, Which means long-tailed chinchilla. The chinchilla is from South America, in the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile in the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains.
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| Is a Chin for you?
Chinchilla belongs to the rodent family. Chinchillas are nocturnal and should not be kept in your room , they are noisy at night. Chinchillas can live up to 20 years, so you want to make sure you are up for the commitment. Chinchillas are practically odorless as long as their cages are kept clean properly.. They have soft luxurious fur which is very dense about 80-100 hairs per follicle. There fur is so dense that it does not support fleas like other pets and usually do not cause allergies like alot of other animals can. They need to take special dust baths. They are unable to sweat, they cool down their body tempatures down by radating heat from their ears. Chinchillas must be kept in an area that is well lit, well ventilated cool and dry area. They do not tolerate heat or humidity, and they are more comfortable at lower temperatures. The optimal temperature is 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Tempatures of 80 degrees or higher can be deadly to a chinchilla.
There is no such thing as too big of a cage when it comes to chinchillas. These guys love to run and jump, and if given enough room they become quite comical. If you use a wire mesh cage make sure the grating is 1/2" x 1/2" or smaller. Chins can hurt their feet especially smaller chins. If you do not have a wire bottom cage (drop tray), you can use pine shavings as bedding. Do not use Cedar as it can be toxic to chinchillas. You cage should be big enough for a sleeping box, toys and an exercise wheel. Cages should be cleaned once a week. (More detailed information) <<GREAT Info site>>
You should get a pellet mix made exclusively for Chinchillas. They can be given 2 tablespoons for each chinchilla 1 to 2 times per days. I feed my chinchillas Mazuri Chinchilla Diet and a mixture of Timothy hay and Compressed Alfalfa Hay Cubes. I also give my chins Total Enhancer Supplement, it is a complete vitamin & mineral supplement pellet. It is widely used for pregnant and nursing chinchillas and, also, as an all-around dietary supplement. However it is high in protein and should be used in moderation.
I use Stoneware Feed Dishes. The bowls are heavy which makes them difficult for a chin to turn over. Also, their hard glossy finish makes them easy to clean.
I use Edstrom water bottle. The Edstrom water bottle is made of hard PVC plastic so it is much more chew resistant than regular plastic pet store bottles. Chinchilla's water should be changed daily.
Treat time is a great bonding time for you and your chinchilla. they quickly learn the sounds of the treat containers and the begging session begins. I give my chinchillas Orchard sweet apple logs, raisins, rose hips, and papaya treats. Papaya enzymes can aid in digestion and may help in preventing intestinal hairballs.
WARNING: Too many treats can be harmful to your pet chinchilla. It's easy for first-time pet chin owners to over feed treats. Remember the general rule-of-thumb, no more than one treat per day.
|Chinchillas are wonderful pets, however it is sometimes difficult to find an experienced vet in your area. An experienced vet is very important if your chinchilla becomes ill. Chinchillas have very sensitive digestive tracts and antibiotics can cause life threading intestinal blocks. Unlike a lot of animals chinchillas use bacteria to digest their food and antibiotics can destroy this good bacteria as well so it's important that your vet is familiar with chinchillas. If your chinchilla stops eating you should have him/her checked out right away. When they start showing signs of pain or illness it's usually too late to get them help. See the following site for other health issues.|