It happened last year in December when I was busy chatting in a local BBS, that one of the chatters asked for someone who might like to get two Chinchillas for free because his meant to be male chin has proven to be female and has given birth to two young chinnies. As I’m fond of animals in common (I’ve had a dog, a cat, a horse, and some fish at home) and of chinchillas in special ever since I met one at my friends home, I simply ignored all the voices in my head who whispered that my flat was too small, my time too short and my electronic stuff too valuable to get some pets which look like exploded mice and behave like critters.
Batman & Robin
Alas, four weeks and several-chin related books later I went to the chatter to give two of his four furballs a new home. The owner introduced me to two male chinchillas, a standard grey which was 9 months old and a half black velvet at the age of 5 months. For a few bucks, I also got a large cage and some equipment (the chins came for free) and went home… as the proud owner of the grey “Batman” and the black “Robin”. Within the next days, I came to the conclusion that…
- …Batman and Robin are girls and
- …I needed a larger cage to compensate my jumping balls’ energy.
The following weeks I devoted my time to the observation of the furry things hopping around in their new (self-made) cage and in my flat. Despite my skepticism, Robin and Batman went along fine with each other… they cooperate in any respects: They share a bed (sometimes their sleeping positions remind me of the Indian “Kamasutra”), pellets and any unhealthy thing B they find… usually power cables, pieces of wallpaper or sheets of paper. To get these things, they developed a special strategy:
- The deliberate, cunning Batman (she’s the elder one and a born leader) distracts my attention while
- the hectic bouncing ball Robin gets the desired object and transports it into the cage (which is a quite difficult task sometimes).
- Batman suddenly turns around and hops into the cage and
- my Chinchillas enjoy their quarry (usually in the only corner of the cage which cannot be reached without effort).
Normally the two Ladies are pretty arrogant and standoffish towards me… they won’t let me touch or scratch them… unless… yes, unless I will offer some raisins… typical female. 😉
In June I saw a gray male baby chin in a pet store (he was 3 months old, small and all alone without any sitting boards or other Chinchillas in his tiny glass cage) and I decided to get a mate for my two Ladies. I took him with me and named him Joker.
Unfortunately, my Ladies do not (yet) like him very much; in fact, they tend to chase him away every time he approaches… but this only happens when they are closed up in one cage… once all three Chinchillas run free, there’s no hostility… they just ignore each other. So I put Joker in my second chin cage, in plain sight of the Ladies cage. Who knows … maybe the time will come (when he’s grown up), when Robin’s and Batman’s point of view will change… 😉
Unlike the females, Joker is very affectionate. He enjoys to be scratched under the chin, likes it to jump around my boyfriend’s and my feet and sometimes he even lets us hold and pet him… for a few moments and a raisin.
So here you can see a few pictures of my beloved fur balls… boy it took a great deal of action for me to catch them standing still enough for taking a picture. Finally, I gave up and went back to the old “My chinnies want some raisins?”-trick.
This is a scheme of my self-built chin cage (the one where Batman and Robin live in)… it seems to be a standard procedure to build a cage by your own when you get Chinchillas; either you build a large cage and let them out for supervised exercises once a day (app. 1 hour) or you buy a standard pet cage (the hugest and probably most expensive you find) and let the critters out for half of the night… eating up your house.
This cage has a height of 150 cm, a width of 100 cm and a depth of 50 cm. It is totally built from wood and has a wire mesh at the front side with two large doors in it. The edges of the boards are additionally bite-protected by aluminum strips and the floor is covered by first newspapers then pine shavings, which are changed every two weeks (there is a drawer to make cleaning easier). For their teeth and also for climbing exercises, I secretly took a big branch from my mother’s holy cherry tree when she was not there to forbid it… the chins love it. 🙂
The upper half of the cage can be separated by inserting a small board… maybe I will need it once my two Lady-chins give birth to babies… who knows. As you can see, my chin house has two entries (like the ones from Rene), because otherwise Batman tends to block the only entry and Robin has to start a fight every time she wants to get in or out.
For my little male Joker I chose the second way (the one with the expensive cage and the ripped-to-shreds power cords, books and door frames) because after all, I still had the cage in which my females arrived. I think it is big enough for one chin, especially when you consider the fact that Joker is allowed to run free from ca. 21.00 to 2.00 every night.
Article & Photo Credit: Vera L. , Thank you very much!