Although chinchillas are small creatures, they can be very active and need plenty of space to run around. Providing your chinchillas with suitable spacious housing – with chinchilla-friendly toys and activities – will help keep them active, happy and healthy.
Chinchillas can be very sensitive to the wrong environment, so choose their location carefully. Ideally, the room temperature should be around 10-15°C. They are used to colder, and will not tolerate high temperatures – leading to large amounts of moulting, lack of interest in food and lethargy.
Consider the room they are in. Chinchillas are active at dawn and dusk, and will benefit from a room with low traffic noise levels. Don’t place the cage next to a window or a radiator.
Choose a cage with a solid metal base - plastic or mesh can cause injury and discomfort. Minimum sizes:
Keep your chinchilla happy and occupied
Chinchillas are very active and enjoy items in their cage that they can chew and jump on. It is very important to furnish the cage with safe items that your chinchillas can’t injure themselves on.
Make sure your chinchillas have a nice, soft bedding base for their cage, rather then using a mesh floor. This will avoid injury and help meet their natural behavioural and environmental needs.
Cross-cut short shredded paper is the most cost-effective and easy-to-locate chinchilla bedding. You can also use normal shredded paper created at home or in an office. It’s absorbent and creates a nice, soft, bouncy floor for your chinchillas. Another option is soft, short meadow hay. This is not only soft but also allows them to naturally forage for food as chinchillas can eat hay.
Never use wood shavings or sawdust for your chinchillas. These can be very dusty and are a common cause of skin related illnesses.
Your chinchillas will often choose to sleep either on a platform or inside a box. To make it comfortable for them, line these with soft, good quality hay.
Clean your chinchillas’ cage out weekly to help keep them in good health. Each day, use a small dustpan and brush to sweep the platforms and any areas with a build-up of poo to prevent illness.
When doing a full clean, always use a pet-safe disinfectant to clean the cage. Take the opportunity to add a few new toys in the cage for interest, like a new apple branch or box for your chinchilla to explore.