What Do Chinchillas Need

Once you see a chinchilla, you will not be surprised why many people desire to have this rodent as a family pet. They are very cute! When you take care of them correctly they could live up to 17-20 years. There are a few important things to take into consideration before purchase this small animal. Since they are rodents, their teeth never stop growing. Another important thing is that they need a sand dust bath on a weekly basis.

What Do Chinchillas Need?

There are a few important basic things to take into consideration before you purchase this small animal. Since they are rodents, their teeth never stop growing. Another important thing is that they need a sand dust bath on a weekly basis. They need a safe place to live, food, water, regular grooming, toys & vet care plus plenty of playtime!

  • A Place To Live
  • Safe Cage Interior
  • Food
  • Water
  • Proper Hygiene
  • Active Playtime 
  • Toys For Entertainment And Stress Relief
  • Vet Care

A Place to Live

What Do Chinchillas NeedOther than meeting the health demands of their chinchillas, pet parents are responsible in making certain that their home is ideal for taking care of a small animal. Prior to buying your chinchilla, be sure to take this in mind. Your funny companion will live in a cage but he will need a space outside the wire mesh to exercise.

If you would like them as pets, ensure you have sufficient place exactly where they could maneuver around, look for food, and also play. These creatures are also very sensitive to noise. In reference to that, you need to keep the chinchilla pet in a quiet spot.

Apart from noise, they’ve got this sensitivity to heat. This is why you must place the house in locations that are far from heat, with low humidity and also moderate temperatures.

It is best to place a chinchilla in a large cage where they can remain healthy as well as amused. These animals want to run around and hop, so the housing should be high and tall. The residence should have a number of levels. A wire mesh serves as the flooring. To help make the cage more enjoyable for your own chinchilla, you must add playing accessories. Give your pet something to chew on by placing natural wood sticks.

Safe Cage Interior

In general, pet owners cover the floor with safe wood shavings. If that is not on hand, make use of shredded cardboard that does not have any ink! Never use newspaper!  It is important that your chinchilla receives the correct amount of bedding materials, which you should change twice a week. Additionally, put a wooden house inside the cage. This will be the exclusive place where the domesticated rodent can hide or relax.


Wild chinchillas are naturally inclined to live in dry climate. Plants and vegetables which grow in mountainous areas are what precisely they normally eat. Their diet consists of leaves, herbs, and very few specific fruits. Hay is the ideal food for chinchillas as long as it is green in color, never buy brown looking hay! It is also good to feed them grass. Aside from that the point that it has got low calories, it’s also protein rich. If you are not careful when choosing what food to provide your pet; their health will be jeopardized. The perfect food for a domesticated chinchilla is Oxbow essentials, APD-Alffy Pellets (American Pet Diner) and Mazuri pellets

High fat and sugary foods are not appropriate for chinchillas. Food products like snacks, raisin, and nuts can make your pet fat. That’s the reason why they should be averted too. Dry apples or banana chips could be provided as snacks. It is also helpful to realize that chinchillas aren’t fond of eating fresh plants.


Keep your chinchilla well hydrated by adding freshly filtered water in its cage. Always keep the water bottle clean, and replace the water every day to avoid bacteria growth.

Grooming and Hygiene

Another important item that must be placed inside the cage is a special sand and box. Like most products today, you can get this online or you can go to the local pet shop close to you. This is important for their grooming since the only way for chinchillas to keep their coat thoroughly clean is to do the dust bath. Chinchilla dust bathing must be completed two to three times weekly.

When are Chinchillas most awake and active? Active Playtime

What Do Chinchillas Need

Chinchillas are Crepuscular (derived from the Latin word for “twilight”), and not nocturnal as most people think. Being crepuscular means that your pet chinchilla will be most active and awake during the low light times of day, which are at dawn and dusk. Sub-categories of crepuscular are the terms matutinal (or “matinal”), meaning active at dawn) and vespertine, (referring to active at dusk). Chinchillas are not the only animals casually described as nocturnal that are in fact crepuscular. You might be surprised to learn that cats and dogs are also crepuscular, along with rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, skunks, and rats!

If you are wondering why chinchillas are primarily active at dawn and dusk, think for a moment about how they adapted to survive in the wild. Chinchillas are a preyed upon animal, and many predators hunt intensely at night. Other predators are active at mid-day and see best in full sun. So the low light of dawn and dusk would have provided some respite from being hunted. There is also the likely possibility that being out and about at dawn and dusk was a way of avoiding the hotter mid-day sun, while still capitalizing on available light.

So, the moral of the story for pet chinchilla owners are:
1. Although your chinchilla will get some sleep at night, be sure to allow your chinchilla some privacy and quiet to sleep during the day as well.
2. Socialize and bond with your chinchilla in the evenings when they perk up and are more active.
3. If you’re not an early riser, make sure your chinchilla’s cage is not near or in your bedroom, since they will be up and active with the dawn’s early light!

Do Chinchillas Need Toys?

If you trek to the Andes to have a look at chinchillas’ natural habitat, you won’t see a variety of fun-shaped, colorful, sisal-pumice-wood combination chew toys laying around or hanging overhead. But what chinchillas DO have in the wild is lots of natural stimulation, activity, and herd interaction. Wild chinchillas are constantly busy foraging for food, and hopping and scurrying around the rocky terrain taking care of their young, grooming themselves, dust bathing and avoiding predators. They don’t have time to be bored because they are busy with day to day survival activities. And yet even then they still find time to ‘play’ with various natural objects.

For your pet chinchilla, out of cage playtime with tunnels and obstacles, and a variety of chew-friendly chinchilla toys are key ingredients to “recreating” the natural activity that your chin is missing. There isn’t a whole lot of rock jumping to be done inside a wire cage, and that food bowl is pretty easy to find – no foraging required! Chinchilla-safe toys and playtime provided by you are necessary to satisfy and serve some of your cchinchillas’ basic needs:

Chewing – Chinchillas chew on objects instinctively to meet their health needs (keeping their constantly growing teeth in check!) It is annoying to some people that the cute toys they buy for their chinchilla are inevitably destroyed by chewing. But enjoyment and stimulation through play and chewing is precisely the point to providing them! Chewing satisfies both physical and psychological urges by exercising a chinchillas jaws and by occupying his mind. If you don’t give your chinchilla some chew toys, I guarantee he will FIND something to chew that might not be an item you agree with!

Exercise – Pet chinchillas do not have to run from predators, search for food, or navigate rocky terrain like their wild brothers and sisters. No matter how big a cage you have or how much time they spend on their wheel or saucer, your chin still needs the activity of outside of cage and toy playtime. Without adequate exercise, your chinchilla will become overweight.

Boredom – One of the main reasons to provide toys for your pet is to prevent boredom. Don’t take it personally, but as much as you may interact with your pet chinchilla, it just does not have the same busy life that its wild brothers and sisters do. Many chinchillas in captivity become bored and depressed when their environment is not enriched with toys. Your pet chinchilla relies on you to provide variety in his life.

Stress Reduction – Imagine how stressful it is for a little chin who has to learn to adjust to the sights, sounds and smells of your home, get used to the comings and goings of other pets and people in the house, learn what can be chewed on and what can’t, all while feeling confined. The diversion that toys provide can lessen the stresses of life as a pet. Toys are a great way to help your chinchilla vent its extra energy.

Interaction with YOU! – You are a very important figure in your chinchillas life. Chinchillas are social creatures, and you are a key member of his/her herd! And so your pet wants to play with you. The shared fund of playtime with you, among toys and playground items is a great way to interact with and bond with your special friend!

 Proper Vet Care

You must be vigilant since most chins will hide/subdue most health issues until it has become quite desperate. This is when most keepers will run for the first vet office that will see their pet. WARNING! Chins are still basically wild animals. They will hide all symptoms and health problems very well until they are quite sick and literally miserable. If you suspect your chin is not feeling well, you have to get to a qualified vet ASAP. Many chins have been lost this way. Please don’t have this happen to you. It is best to find a vet that has experience in exotic animals and have experience in treating chins. Find this clinic and speak with the vet as well as the staff before you need them.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Brett

    Warm Regards

    1. ~ Chinchilla Baby ~

      Thank you for stopping by.

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