Chinchilla Care Guide
There is a lot of misinformation online about the type of care chinchillas need so we are here to help! A lot of this misinformation is why chinchillas end up without homes. There is a lot more care and delicacy to them than what is expressed online and on pet store pamphlets. Feel free to message us with questions and we will be happy to help as soon as possible.
Chinchilla Lanigera (long tailed chinchillas) are crepuscular rodents from the Andes Mountains in South America.
A chinchilla's life span is 15-20 years, but the oldest chinchilla was 29 years and 229 days old. I frequently hear from my customers that they have chinchillas in their 20's so I let all adopters know that they can live up to 30 years!
Watch the video below for quick run through. We will be adding more care videos to our Tiktok and Youtube! @Pandamoniumpets
Toys and Chews
Their teeth grow continuously and they chew to file down the growth. Due to this, wooden ledges or chew toys are a must. They will attempt to chew anything they can reach so plastic, paper, and cotton/polyester items are big no. All of these items will cause an internal blockage if consumed.
Some safe chews include willow toys, pumice, bamboo canes, bamboo shredders, coconut shells (NO fibres), palm, loofah, yucca, cholla, safe sticks and wood slices. Look a list below for safe sticks and slices.
Make sure all chews are organic and non treated. If they are dyed then food coloring is the only safe dye for chews!
Safe Woods include: Apple, Aspen, Birch, Cholla, Cottonwood, Grape, Grapevine, Hawthorne, Hazelnut, Kiwi, Lime Tree, Mardona, Magnolia, Mulberry, Palm Leaf, Pear, Pecan, Pine (Kiln dried), Poplar, Rosewood, Willow (NOT White) and Yucca.
Cage and Accessories
The 2 cages I recommend are the Ferret Nation and Critter Nation. The Ferret Nation (FN) is best because bars are stronger and the frame overall seems sturdier. I have had issues with the Critter Nation (CN) bars breaking from just ledges. The downside to these cages is that you need to cover the plastic trays in fleece or replace with metal pans. We do make both.
You also have to remove the stairs. Stairs are dangerous because they can get their legs caught in these and break them. However the fact that you can open both doors to clean makes your life so much easier!
Accessories for your cage can only be made of fleece, metal (powder coated metal or stainless steel), wood (kiln dried pine and poplar are my favorites) and ceramic.
Make sure wood is kiln dried and non treated.
Any painted metal items must be powder coated-this is the only safe method to coat metal for them. It is 100% non toxic.
Wheels must be 14" and larger but I always recommend 15"+. We sell budget wheels with pan width of 3.8" and 4" but if your chinchilla is on the larger side then 5-6" would be best!
Check out all our accessories in our shop. We have hideouts, hammocks, wheels, ledges, bridges, stairways and cage guards.
Diet and Care
The 2 chinchilla foods recommended are Oxbow Essentials (red bag-not garden select) and Science Selective. I use Oxbow essentials since it has been a favorite for all my chinchillas and rescues.
You must also feed timothy hay and it helps grind down their teeth further.
Never give nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and sugary treats. There are a lot of issues with these leading to bloat, seizures and fatty liver disease.
Dried flowers, and herbs are best. See below for treat list. Treats should withheld until 6 months old. From 6 months old to a year you can only give: Roses, Rosehips, Calendula and Chamomile.
We sell treat bundles so your chinchilla can discover their favorites and we can also avoid any treats you know they don't like. We recommend treats to be given only 1-2x a week and only a pinch. Due to this, treat bundles should last a year or more.
Quick Chin Tips!
These are tips commonly recommended. I will be adding a new video with more thorough tips and updated ones. Cheerios are no longer recommended due to cancer causing agents.
I also prefer to set my temp to 67-69 for them. This can be expensive so think of this before getting a chinchilla.
Due to how quickly they can overheat playtime shouldn't be more than 15 minutes and must be supervised. Also no outdoor time. Playtime should be indoors in chin safe room or play pen. They will chew walls and baseboards if they can reach them!
I hope to add more tips, advice and experiences to help owners. My goal is not to discourage but to educate so owners are prepared for this commitment.
They are smart and compassionate pets but they do have specific needs.