Chinchillas make super cute pets, but their energy and constant urge to explore new things might be a little challenging. Since chinchilla toys are not always cheap in stores, you might be wondering, if there are good DIY toys for your chinchilla. And you are lucky, there are plenty of great ideas for chinchilla toys, and we have them right here for you.
As a whole, chinchillas love to chew toys, places where they can hide, and things they can climb on. Houses, hammocks, chew sticks, wooden shelves, and cardboard hideouts are all easy DIY toys for a chinchilla.
Make sure to use only materials that are safe for chinchillas.
Wood is generally a wood material, but not every type of wood is suitable. Kiln-dried pine wood, poplar, and aspen are woods, as long as the wood is untreated and free of any parasites, fungus, or mold. Check out the list of wood types that are safe for chinchillas in this article: Which wood is safe for chinchillas?
In the following, you will find several great DIY ideas for toys that are safe for your chinchilla to play with.
How do You Make Chinchilla-Safe Toys?
Chinchillas love things they can hide in, climb on, jump on, chew on, and eat. You can be really creative when it comes to chinchilla toys. Just make sure that the toys are safe for your pets.
Keep in mind that small gaps or slots can be a risk for chinchillas because they can get their limbs entrapped, and since they chew on everything they would accidentally eat glue if you use it. You should also avoid nails because chinchillas might chew through the wood and reach the nails in the wood.
Here are some ideas for great chinchilla toys and how to make them on your own.
Wooden Chewing Toys
Chew toys are the things that are worn down the most, and you have to get new ones pretty frequently. This is how you can make your own wooden chew toy sticks for your chin.
You need wood, that is safe for chinchillas. You can go for apple, aspen, birch, hazelnut, pear, pine, or poplar. There are some more types of wood that are safe for chinchillas, but these are the more popular ones. Make sure that the wood you collect is untreated. If pesticides or herbicides were used on the wood, you should not use it for your chinchilla anymore.
When you found a tree that you want to use, you can cut a small twig into finger-long pieces.
The wood has to be cleaned from any insects. You can use normal water for cleaning the twigs. Don’t be surprised at how brown the water gets. It is totally normal, that you have to rinse more than once before the water is clear.
This cleaning step is necessary because the chinchillas we own as pets were bred for many generations in captivity. They have lost most of their instincts of what is good and what is unhealthy for them.
They also do not have the kind of immune system their fellow chinchilla friends in the wild still have.
That means that a pet chinchilla is much more likely to get sick from something it puts in the mouth that comes from outside.
After cleaning the twigs, you can cook them. Put the twigs in a pot and fill the pot with water.
All the twigs have to be inside the water. If you want to, you can add a smell of flavor that is chinchilla-safe as a herb. You can use rose petals, chamomile, fennel herb, or hibiscus.
The smell is just to get the chinchilla more curious about this new chew toy, but if you don’t add any flavors, it’s not a problem at all. Now cook the twigs for about half an hour to make sure that anything that is still alive in the wood is dead.
You don’t want any bugs in your chinchillas’ enclosure. If you want to be extra sure, you can do the boiling step twice.
After boiling the twigs, you can drain the water and put the twigs on a baking tray. It’s time to dry them.
Bake the twigs at a temperature below 250° C and move the twigs every now and then so that all of them get the chance to dry. After a few hours, the moisture should be gone.
The outside of the twigs should be darker than before, and you might see some cracks in the wood. You can also try to bend the twig. If they bend easily, they are not dry enough yet.
The twigs have to be really dry before you give them to your pet. Otherwise, they will mold quickly.
Store your chew sticks in a paper bag or box that is not completely closed. Wood is a natural product that can mold if it is stored in rather moist conditions.
Chew Toys for Chinchillas
Chew toys do not necessarily have to be made of wood. Even though chinchillas love to chew on wood, they will also happily chew on other materials that will help them to wear down their teeth.
These things can also be used as chew toys for chinchillas: Untreated loofah, cardboard boxes, coconut shells and rope, cuttle fishbone, and banana leaf.
You can either offer the material just as it is or make an individual chew toy out of it.
One example would be to drill holes in coconut shells and create a chain of several coconut shells using a sisal string. You can hang that toy from the top of the enclosure as a chew and climbing toy for your pets.
Wooden Shelves and Platforms
Shelves and platforms in chinchilla enclosure are almost essential. But plastic platforms are chewed on, and wooden platforms from the store are often rather expensive.
But lucky for you, there are easy ways to make your own wooden shelves and platforms for your chinchilla.
All you need is a screwdriver, wooden pieces of a type of wood that is save for chinchillas in the size you want the platform or shelves to be, wing nuts, a fender washer, and hanger bolts.
The shelves should be properly secured on the metal bars, so that nothing falls off, even when a chinchilla jumps on them.
You should not use any nails or glue, because chinchillas will chew the wood off and might hurt themselves.
Make sure that the edges are sanded off properly so that the chinchilla cannot injure itself.
If the wood gets dirty, you can clean it with water or sand it off.
Sewing Chinchilla Toys
You can sew your own chinchilla toys. Use fleece or fabric to sew hammocks or hanging hideouts.
In order to hang it from the ceiling of the enclosure, you can use sisal string. Make sure that the hideouts are properly secured and cannot fall down.
Ropes and Ladders
With the help of some twigs and sisal string, you can make your own ladders that go through the cage. Only use chinchilla save wood and clean it before using it in the cage.
You can clean wood by washing it with cold water, boiling it afterward for 30 minutes, and drying it in the oven for several hours. This process is important to avoid any fungus, mold, or bugs in the cage. The wood must be free of any pesticides.
Cut the twigs into the same length and if the twigs are big enough, drill holes into the edges, where the sisal rope can go through. If that is not possible, you can also use a sisal string to knot the twigs together into a ladder.
Paper Rolls for Hay
Paper rolls make great toys for chinchillas. They are usually free of perfume and colors and can be used to put hay in them. You can even make small holes in paper rolls and hang them from the top of the enclosure with some sisal string.
You can also cut the paper roll into rings and put them together into a ball. That call can either stay empty or filled with treats or hay.
Use a regular scissor to cut a paper roll into rings.
Then put the rings over and under each other to create a ball. This ball can also be filled with hay to make it even more interesting for the chinchilla.
Plumbing tubes make great hideouts and tunnels for chinchillas. Make sure that the size you buy is big enough for your chinchilla to fit through.
You can use single pieces, or piece several items together and create a tunnel system for your chins. Just make sure that they cannot get stuck anywhere.
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 🙂