Caring for your chinchilla
The easiest way to entertain a chinchilla is to keep more than one – they’re very sociable animals and will keep each other company. Providing toys and stimulating natural behaviour by hiding treats around their cage will keep them amused and stimulate natural feeding.
In addition, branches and shelves allow your chinchilla to exercise by jumping around the cage. Chinchillas love to chew, so provide lots of wooden blocks or natural toys. For example, the Woodlands Coconut Hideaways provide hours of fun and stimulation.
Regular playtime out of the cage is essential but make sure it’s safe to let your animals out as they’ll chew anything in sight. A small animal playpen is useful as you can keep an eye on them whilst they play.
How to Handle me?
When you first take your chinchillas home, give them a day or two to get used to their new surroundings without being disturbed. You should then start talking to them so that they get to know your voice. The next step is to introduce your hand into their cage and perhaps offer a treat.
Over time you’ll be able to stroke and gently pick them up. You should hold your animal close to your chest and facing you with one hand over its back and one hand supporting its bottom. Hold your chinchilla firmly but gently so that it feels secure. It’s important that you handle your animals regularly to develop their confidence and maintain your relationship with them.
Chinchillas do wriggle a lot but they’ll soon become docile and will enjoy being handled. They’re very sensitive to rough handling and may occasionally bite. If your animals start to shed their coats, this is a sign that they’re either distressed or that you’re holding them too tightly.
Keeping me clean
Chinchillas are clean animals. Replace soiled bedding daily and clean the entire cage thoroughly once a week using a animal-safe disinfectant.