Chinchillas are gentle but adorable animals who need a lot of attention and a bit of care. If they are handled from their birth, then they will be docile and tame. They make perfect pets but they should be gently handled as they are fragile.
1. PROVIDE A CAGE :-
The very first step is to buy a suitable cage for your chinchilla. They are very active so buying a larger cage will be better. However make sure that the cage bars are so closed that the chinchilla cannot stick his head between them. Also, if his head fits into that space then his whole body can fits, therefore, he can escape, he might seemed too big, but remember, it is all fur so do not be fooled. Chinchilla loves to jump so you can buy a cage in which there are multiple levels.
2. BEDDING :-
Make sure to provide healthy bedding to chinchillas. You must not use pine or cedar shavings as bedding as the phenols are quite strong which can cause serious skin, respiratory, liver and coat problems. They are also harmful to your chinchilla if they try to eat it. You can use care-fresh or kiln dried shavings for a healthy bedding. You can also provide nesting box to your chinchilla which should measure 50 cm in lenght and 25 cm in height and width.
3. PROVIDE PROPER FOOD :-
Make sure that your chinchilla always have the good quality of hay. This should be present ALWAYS infront of him. If you want to feed them pellets then you should buy that kind of pellet in which, very little treat is present. I recommend you to feed treats, not frequently as it can upset the stomach. Never give vegetables, fruits, nuts or other treats which are not safe. You can feed them safe treats which includes rose petals ( which are not sprayed from any kind of poisons ), dried blackberry leaves, dried rose hips, unsweetened cheerios, unsweetened shredded wheaties and a safe wood chew sticks. Also make sure to replace the water daily.
4. DUST BATHE :-
Water can damage the fur of the chinchilla, but you can give them dust bathe. The dust bathe is made up of formulating dust powder, made of activated clay or volcanic ash. Make sure to give dust bath to your chinchilla for fifteen to twenty minutes, at least twice a week. Too much of dust bath can actually cause dryness and too little of dust bath can cause a deadly fungus on their skin. The dust bathe helps your chinchilla to get rid of overabundance of grease in their hair. The dust should feel and look like dust and not sand. Some stores sell the sand instead of dust, which are too abrasive for the fur of chinchillas.
5. EXERCISE :-
They are extremely active animals so they should have an opportunity daily for exercise. You can provide an exercise wheel in the cage. However, make sure to provide a solid surface wheel and not the one, which is made up of mesh or wire as they can trap their feet. Letting your pet out of the cage for some time is also very important but it should be under supervision. It should also be a small room and the room should be chinchilla proofed. They will gnaw on furniture, wires and anything in which they can get their teeth on.
6. GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO CHEW :-
Do you know that their teeth grow up to twelve inches a year. You can provide him a pumice stone or a special block of wood, which they can chew. You can also provide them branches, on which they can be climb and gnaw. Make sure that the branches are not cut off recently from the trees which have been sprayed with chemicals or that are hazardous such as, laburnum, fresh pine and yew. You can buy branches from trees including sycamore, apple tree, and manzanita. You can also give them toilet papers to chew which will provide fiber.
7. HANDLING CHINCHILLA :-
Lift him like a kitten, slide your one hand under his belly, and the other hand on the top of chinchilla. Hold your chinchilla, not too tightly, you need to hold him gently as they can be squirmy. It is very important not to squeeze them especially around the “upper torso” as you can actually cause him internal injuries by doing this.
8. GOOD LUCK :-
By caring for chins properly, you can earn his trust and believe me, they will be the best pet for you. However, they are not for everyone, if you have children then I do not recommend you to buy chins for them as they are fragile and small, if they squeezed chins too tight, then the they might bite the kids. They are becoming very popular pet today, however, do remember that they can live upto fifteen years so be prepared for a long commitment. Good luck!