You’ve taken the plunge and made a serious commitment. You’ve bought a chinchilla. Now you need to know what to expect from this cute, fluffy ball of fun.
You’ve asked the pet shop or breeder for feeding and general health details but there is so much more to know about your pet.
Some chinchillas are sociable from the beginning but others may need a little tender loving care to help them understand that you are not an enemy and do not need to be bitten each time you pick them up.
Unfortunately, some chinchillas never learn this lesson and continue to remain unsociable all their lives. If this is the case with your new pet, give them space and learn to love them from a distance. You will still be able to enjoy your pet and build up a good relationship with him.
Chinchillas like routine. They like to be fed at the same time every day and failure to do this can result in you being pelted with droppings or screeched at as you approach the cage. This screeching noise is quite different to the normal chuntering noise they make when they are playing.
This does not mean that your chinchilla is bad tempered – it simply means that he is unhappy and is trying to tell you this.
Make sure you include plenty of toys like tunnels, chews, pieces of wood and even mini ladders as your pet loves to play. Change the toys regularly to prevent boredom. An active pet is a happy and healthy pet.
Chinchillas love to hear your voice and will come to you when called. This is particularly useful as it makes it easier to find them after they have escaped. You are probably thinking that this will not happen to you but remember this – chinchillas are very fast and can climb and jump quite large distances.
Sandbaths are a must. Make sure the bowl you use is large enough and deep enough for your pet to fit in comfortably. Stand well back when you put in fresh sand as you will be surprised how far the sand will fly through the air.
Chinchillas are great fun and make great pets, you just need to allow time to get to know them and build up a relationship with them. Get to know their quirks and characters and you will find that you have a unique and fun pet.