Chinchillas are nocturnal rodents which means they spend most of the day sleeping and napping. In their natural environment their thick fur helps keep them warm in the frigid mountain temperatures. One of the chinchilla's most defining features is its fur. It is important to monitor the temperature where your chin cage is being kept. In the winter months it should be kept in a draft free spot. The ideal temperature for a Chinchilla is 68 degrees. In the summer, if you do not have air conditioning it needs to be kept in a well ventilated area. Keep the cage out of direct sunlight. In the summer the chin should be kept in an area which is no hotter than 75°F (24°C) and caution should be taken at temperatures this high. Like all rodents, chinchillas have 4 large incisors that never stop growing. Chinchillas will chew and need access to chewing material (such as wood) to keep their teeth properly trimmed.
Chinchillas make great indoor pets because they are odorless and their fur is so dense that they can not get pests such as fleas. Chinchillas also have no dander so people who are allergic to other pets can usually tolerate chinchillas without problems, unless allergic to their hay or their dust.
They are housed much the same as a ferret would be, in a wire cage. Shelves are a must since they love to jump and climb. There are two basic floor choices: wire bottom and floor pan. If you choose a wire bottom then the spaces in the wire must be no larger than 1/2"x 1/2". Wooden ledges also help comlpete a cage and protect the feet from bumblefoot. Plastic shelves in cages can cause digestive problems if ingested, so is best to be avoided.
Chinchillas require fresh water which is best given in a glass bottle. They need chinchilla pellets and hay daily. Timothy or Alfalfa can be used and are available loose or in cubes from most pet stores. Food should only be changes slowly so be sure to get a bag of food with your new chinchilla to avoid a sudden food switch.
Chinchillas have to take dust baths a couple times a week. You can buy chinchilla dust at most pet stores. It is poured into a container and placed inside the cage for about 15 minutes. The chinchillas will dive right in rolling and bathing in the dust!
Chinchillas love to climb and play. Shelves and wheels can be added to the inside if the cage. Chinchilla wheels are best if they are a solid circle that attaches to the side of the cage.
Most chinchillas are gray. This is what you find in most pet stores. However they also come in other colors known as mutations. We are breeding quite a few mutation colors at the moment. Some colors are more common than others so prices of the chinchillas will vary.
Chinchillas are pregnant for 111-120 days. The kits are born with their eyes open and fully haired. We leave the kits with their mother for at least 7 weeks. During that time we hold them for short periods to get them ready for a human companion. They are then weaned and put into seperate cages to be monitored before going to new homes.