Chinchillas are little rodents native to South America that live in rocky, arid highland environments. They are lively and energetic animals that, with proper attention from a young age, may grow extremely tame and form close bonds with their owners. But don’t expect them to enjoy being handled and cuddled in the same way that dogs and cats do. They normally don’t, but they will show their care for you in other ways.
Chinchillas are primarily nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. They are sometimes referred to as “crepuscular,” which means that their activity peaks at dawn and dusk. In any event, during the day, they should be kept in a somewhat quiet environment. They prefer a steady pattern for handling and feeding and may become upset if their pattern is disrupted.
They require a large cage for exercise and daily fun because they are so active and playful. Warm temperatures are more dangerous to them than cool temperatures, and owners should take steps to prevent their pets from being overheated.
If at all possible, you should begin touching a chinchilla at an early age. According to Spruce Pets, older chinchillas that haven’t been handled much are unlikely to ever warm up to it. Depending on their personality, some of them who are touched at an early age may not be interested in being held. Spruce Pets recommends starting carefully and being gentle with your chinchilla to gradually acquire its trust.
Food and Water
Chinchillas required a special diet that is far from “low maintenance.” They require a lot of hay: Vet Street suggests timothy hay for non-breeding adult chinchillas and alfalfa for younger ones up to 9 months old. Pelletized feed designed exclusively for them is recommended by NC State Veterinary Hospital. Feeds containing loose seeds, nuts, or dried fruit should be avoided.
These rodents will pick out the bits of the meal that they like best, refusing to eat the other sections that contain critical nutrients, much like children who refuse to eat their vegetables. The pellets include everything they require and do not allow them to chose. NC State also suggests providing children with small amounts of fresh fruit on a daily basis and avoiding sugary snacks.
If you’re thinking about getting a pet chinchilla, you should be prepared to make a substantial commitment, just like you would with any other pet. According to Animal Diversity Web, chinchillas in captivity can live for 15 to 20 years. They are gorgeous and lively pets, but they do necessitate specific care and a great deal of patience. However, seeing a chinchilla bath is really worth it.
Chinchilla teeth grow two to three inches a year, and if they don’t align properly, causing them to wear down on each other, they can develop malocclusion, a condition common in rodents, according to Sawnee Animal Clinic. It’s commonly seen in their front teeth, which grow out of their mouths.
If this occurs, they will require veterinary care to trim the teeth and prevent them from causing pain, which can prevent them from eating and cause other health problems. According to Spruce Pets, even these furry ones without malocclusion should be given a “chinchilla block” or pumice block to gnaw on, which will trim their teeth as they nibble on it.
According to NC State Veterinary Hospital, young ones should be inspected by a veterinarian once a year to verify their overall health, and older with health issues will likely need to be seen more frequently. Chinchillas can become unwell as well, and NC State states that they are skilled at hiding illness, so if you should become familiar with typical signs, such as;
- decreased appetite,
- sneezing or nasal discharge.
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