Chinchillas are rather shy animals but they can make great pets. They are native to the semiarid mountain areas of the Andean mountains of South America and live in a very dry and cold environment. In the wild, they live in burrows systems and are critically endangered animals because of illegal hunting for the fur trade and also due to the reduction of the habitat quality. But nowadays it is possible to own a pet chinchilla and you might be wondering if they are easy to take care of.
Chinchillas are not the easiest pets to take care of, but it is possible for beginners to keep chinchillas as long as they provide the necessary environment, items, and diet to keep the pet happy and healthy.
In the following, you will find information on how to take care of chinchillas and if it is easy compared to other pets.
Daily and Weekly Chores
The regular chores include feeding, changing the water in the glass bottle, allowing the chinchilla to take sand baths, and cleaning the cage.
The diet of pet chinchillas in captivity consists of hay and pellets. They cannot eat fruits or vegetables of any kind because their digestive system is very sensitive. In the wild, they feed only on grass and hay. Make sure to acquire good quality hay for your chinchilla, such as Timothy hay.
Check out this article to find the best hay for your pet chinchilla: What is the best hay for chinchillas
Chinchillas are very clean animals that enjoy a clean and hygienic cage. Make sure to meet their needs in order to keep them healthy.
Chinchillas are Very Shy
Chinchillas are rather shy animals by nature and need to be tamed if you want to interact with your pet. They must be approached slowly and it takes time to build a trusting bond. Let your chinchilla get used to your voice and your presence before trying to touch it. Give it some time and allow your chinchilla to come to you. Once it is ready to come to you, it’s a good sign that you can touch it. When holding the chinchilla, support your legs and hold it close to your chest.
You have to be patient when owning a chinchilla. It simply takes a lot more time than connecting with a pet mouse or a pet rat.
Chinchillas are Active at Night
Chinchillas are nocturnal and crepuscular creatures, but they can adapt to a more diurnal lifestyle, just like many other pet animals do.
You have to be aware of the fact that chinchillas can be loud at night jumping around and simply being very active in their enclosure.
Keeping a pet chinchilla in the bedroom might not be the best idea.
Chinchillas Need a Lot of Space
Chinchillas are very energetic animals. They need a really big cage, where they can run and jump around and fulfill their daily need for exercise. They will also happily jump around in your room if you allow them to roam free.
Chinchillas Get Very Old
Compared to many other pet rodents, chinchillas can get very old. Most chinchillas live for 10 to 15 years, some even live for 20 years and more. Make sure that it is possible for you to keep a chinchilla for that amount of time.
If you want to know more about how to take care of a chinchilla for beginners, check out this article with all the information you need to keep a fluffy chinchilla as a pet.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂