*Remember* chins under six months of age are still considered babies.
When bringing a new chinchilla home, you will want to make sure you have the basics in mind:
**Please note, just because something is sold at a pet store does not mean it is chinchilla safe**
Here are the supplies you'll want to get before bringing your chinchilla home:
We do not give playtime to our chins often as it can be dangerous. We strongly urge all pet owners to take extreme caution when engaging in this activity. We absolutely DO NOT recommend playtime for chins under six months of age. Excessive playtime or playtime for kits can lead to:
Once your chinchilla reaches six months of age you can start letting him/her out of the cage. I strongly recommend playtime ONLY in the bathroom. Keep cabinet doors shut, toilet lid down and make sure your chinchilla is supervised at all times. Limit playtime to no longer than 15-20 minutes a few days a week. Chinchillas do not need playtime, this is something that most pet owners enjoy doing with their animal. If you feel that you want to pursue playtime out of the cage, limit it to only three to four times a week.
This is a basic guide to keeping things safe while you and your
new pet get to know each other. Remember your new pet can live up to 20 years
with the proper care.
The most common question I get asked from new owners is, “how long before I can play with my chinchilla?” Right now, your chinchilla is still adjusting. For young kits, just like most babies, erring on the side of caution is better.
Don’t try to grab or “chase” your chinchilla around the cage: Chinchillas are prey animals, and the general rule is they don’t enjoy being picked up. Quietly sit in front of your chinchilla’s cage, talk softly to them, let them come explore who you are. Having your chinchilla be the one who sets the pace helps keeps the stress levels down.
If you would like to interact with your chinchilla outside of their cage, place the duster inside. Make sure to add a small amount of dust (general rule is a tablespoon) and once they hop in, gently place your hand over the duster. With them sitting inside your duster (or dust house) they can feel secure while you remove them from their cage. Please remember, no playtime outside of the cage until they are over six months of age. Any playtime before that can cause health issues or possible death.
Your new chinchilla is used to having his or her cage cleaned once a week. We here at Sunshine Chinchillas use pine shavings for our young chinchillas and fleece for our older chinchillas in larger pet cages.
If you are going to use pine shavings these can be purchased at your local pet store. Chinchillas on pine shavings need their pan completely cleaned once a week. Remove the pan, shake it into a trash can, and wipe the pan down with paper towels and vinegar. If your pan is extremely soiled, taking the pan outside (or in a laundry sink) and washing with dish soap is fine. We rotate all of our pans once a week, with each pan being washed with soap and water weekly. Once advantage to living in the hot sunny state of Florida is that you can let your pan bake dry in the sun.
If you choose to use fleece liners for the bottom of your cage, a two day cleaning is ideal. For a single chinchilla fleece can be an excellent option. Most owners like to keep extra fleece liners on hand to swap out on cleaning day. Your chin will usually jump up onto a shelf to watch you pull out their fleece. Remove the fleece, shake into a garbage can and set aside to wash. With the fleece removed, either remove the pan to shake into garbage can, or with a small broom sweep out the pan. If needed you can wipe out the bottom of the pan with paper towels and vinegar. Please note, never put anything other than fleece (or pine shavings) into your chinchilla’s cage. Towels, puppy pads, blankets, clothes, carpet, dirt, grass, etc can cause harm and or death.
Your chinchilla takes a dust bath to keep clean. Place about a tablespoon into the metal duster or plastic dust house. No need to use more as it will just go to waste. Chinchillas should not ever get wet as they have very dense fur. You can over dust your chinchilla, once every two to three days is more than enough. Over dusting can result in dry scaling patches on the face, hands, feet, tail and ears. Most chins will soil their dust, it is best to dispose of it after use.
Your chinchilla should be given a fresh amount of pellets daily. Establish a routine, early mornings or later evenings work well. With a single chinchilla, about two table spoons of food is enough. Make sure to put fresh timothy hay into the cage as well. When choosing a pellet, always remember, less is more. Nothing should be in the bag aside from the pellet. We use Oxbow here and have sent home a starter sample for you. If you are unable to purchase Oxbow from your local pet store, please feel free to contact us as we do sell it. Please note, never feed your chinchilla fresh fruits or vegetables. This will cause gastric upset, soft poop and possibly diarrhea. I have run across some pet stores, veterinarians, Facebook groups and websites saying this diet is okay. IT IS NOT. Your chinchilla purchased from Sunshine Chinchillas has been fed a dry diet of only Oxbow pellets and timothy hay. Any other diet fed to one of our chinchillas could cause gastric upset and possible death.
Water: Boiled or filtered water only.
Tap water contains microorganisms which can cause giardia. Giardia causes diarrhea and death in chinchillas. Once a chinchilla has contracted giardia, they can pass it to another chin through their stool. We use bottled water for all our chins. Once a week remove the water bottle and rinse with hot tap water and let dry. If your water bottle has the appearance of looking dirty, it is time to clean it. Glass water bottles are the best as you can run these in the dishwasher for the best possible clean. Don’t worry, while you clean their water bottle, your chin will be fine for an hour or two without water.
Sometimes... especially in the summer, chins can get what is called "fungus" or "ring worm." Florida can be extremely hot and humid; the perfect climate for fungus to grow. While most chin owners realize that their chinchillas need to stay cool, what about the humidity?
Keeping your chin room cool and low in humidity is vital to your animal’s health. Chinchillas have very dense thick fur. With our humid weather this can cause developed a fungal rash.
Yikes! Fungus?!? That sounds really gross and nasty! I don’t want that on my cute cuddly fur buddy!
Well, unfortunately it is more common here in the south than up north. All chinchillas regardless of where they come from have the potential to display fungus. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you are a bad housekeeper, it just means that the room you are keeping your chin in might be too warm. Warm, wet air is the perfect combination that creates this issue.
Well, how do I get rid of it? What does it look like? Fungus looks like small patches of fur gone with rough scratchy skin underneath. It isn’t fatal and you don’t need to take your chin to the vet. A simple fix is to add antifungal powder to your chinchilla’s dust. Tinactin, Lotramine or your local store brand will work. Gently squeeze about two good puffs into the dust each time you dust your chinchilla. This will act as a preventive and help clear up any fungus that may have started. It can take about six weeks for a spot of fungus to clear up and fur to start to grow back. Again, fungus can be a huge pain, making your chin look like they received a bad haircut, but it isn’t fatal.
Chances are you won’t ever have to deal with this pesky issue, but it is better to be prepared. We here at Sunshine Chinchillas dust our animals regularly with Lotramine as a preventive.
Please also remember to always wash your hands after handling a chin with fungus. I also recommend on cleaning day that you wash, with soap and water, anything that may come in contact with your chinchilla.
Rescuing a chinchilla can be a little different than bringing home one bred by Sunshine Chinchillas.
Keep in Mind:
Your chinchilla right now has been moved from a few different environments. Please remember this when interacting with them.
A few things to remember while you get to know
your new pet:
Please take into consideration that the information on your new pet is limited.
**Please Note** there is no health history available on this animal. Upon placement animal was healthy enough for adoption.
Sunshine Chinchillas does not buy back or offer refunds on rescue animals. These are animals that were not bred by us, and we have no prior knowledge of their health or temperament history, other than what we have seen in our care.
Sunshine Chinchillas strives to help rescue and place chinchillas who need homes. Your adoption fee makes this possible for us. ~Thank You!