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Basic Chinchilla Tips


Chinchilla Temperament

Chinchillas are very unique amongst the small animal pet world. They look like a cross between a squirrel, rabbit, rat, and who knows what else, but in reality... It's just a chinchilla. A cute ball of fur.

Chinchillas aren't as friendly and socialable as many of the other small animals out in the pet world, such as ferrets and rats, but with the correct socialization and training, they can be very sweet and docile. But, they will NEVER be lap pets. There is a very, very small percentage of people will get a chinchilla and sit and watch tv with it for hours. It's just not the most common situation in the world.

You can't potty train a chinchilla like you can a hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, rat, mouse, or ferret. It's just not going to happen.

You can't trick train a chinchilla like you can a rat. So that means no 'roll overs,' 'sit,' or fetches. That, also, means that you can't agility train them. I've tried; they'll do the obstacles, just never on command.

If you're looking for a cute, trainable, and super socialized small animal pet, I'd go with a rat. But, if you're looking for a cute, semi- independent, socialized small animal pet, a chinchilla may be the way to go. I mean don't get me wrong, you can cuddle with a chinchilla and play with them, just not for long periods of time. They want to run and jump around.

The Timothy hay's all his.

The Timothy hay's all his.

Chinchilla Diet

Chinchillas need a special chinchilla formulated pelleted diet. I prefer Mazuri, as I feel it is the better brand in general, not just for chinchillas. Kaytee Timothy Complete, ZuPreem Nature's Promise, and Kaytee FortiDiet, are other brands that are suitable for chinchillas.

The one thing you really want to keep in mind when it comes to a chinchilla's pelleted diet is that it is composed of ONLY pellets, meaning no extras in the bag- no vegetables, fruits, seeds, or grains- because the extras are very fatty and should only be given as treats, not part of the everyday diet.

Chinchillas should, also, be provided with Timothy hay on a daily basis. You can supplement alfalfa hay on occasion, but you really want to stick with Timothy hay


Chinchilla Treats

As for treats that you can give a chinchilla... You can give them dried fruits such as apples, papaya, raspberries, and blueberries. They also love unsalted sunflower seeds, as well as pumpkin seeds. Vitakraft makes a Chinchilla Cocktail that my chinchillas have always loved.

Treats for Chinchillas

Housing Chinchillas

Chinchillas need a cage that is taller than it is wide. Think about it, they're from the Andes Mountains, and not the bottom half, either... The top. My first cage was a nice starter cage; it was about three feet wide and a foot and a half - two fee tall, and there were two ledges. Now, this is a fine STARTER cage, as it only housed one chinchilla for just a few months before I upgraded to a much larger cage.

In general, chinchillas need space to jump. They need ledges and shelves.

As for ALL small animals NEVER use pine or cedar wood shavings as they contain high aromas and oils. Chinchillas are very sensitive and do not need that extra complication. Personally, I use aspen woodchips in all my small animal cages, to include my chinchilla cage. Care-fresh is a good brand to use as well. I would NOT use Kaytee's Total Comfort in a chinchilla cage, as it is VERY dusty, and they have sensitive respiratory systems.

Clean the cage out at least once a week. And, spot check for wet bedding. You do not want to leave wet bedding in the cage for too long, as it can grow mold.

Try to keep plastic out of a chinchilla cage as they will chew it. They chew EVERYTHING. In the photo above there is a plastic house, which has since been removed and placed in my rat cage. But, once in the body, the plastic will completely tear up the chinchillas digestive tract.

My first upgraded chinchilla cage. It's a Ferret cage. Cages with plastic ledges and parts should be used with caution.

My first upgraded chinchilla cage. It's a Ferret cage. Cages with plastic ledges and parts should be used with caution.

After chewing the platic pieces off their first cage, I had to upgrade to a Martin's Cage, that is all wire.

After chewing the platic pieces off their first cage, I had to upgrade to a Martin's Cage, that is all wire.

Chinchilla Behaviors

Chinchillas are prone chewers, they're teeth grow throughout their lives, so they MUST be provided with safe things to chew on. Pumice stone and wood blocks are great things to give a chinchilla to chew. You can even go to the bird section of the petstore, and purchase a hanging wood toy, and place in the cage. Having hanging wood toys will give the chinchilla something different to do versus hold a single wood block. Super Pet Nut Know Knibbler is a fun chew toy to give a chinchilla to munch on, as well.

Never get branchs or wood from outside or a lumber store, as you do not know what it has been exposed to. You do NOT want to give any small animal something has has been treated with any form of pesticide, stainer, or other treatments to chew on.


Chinchilla Books

Chinchillas As Pets

I know that I said that chinchillas aren't the most social in the world, well that's just towards people. And, again, with work you can have a chinchilla coming to the door of the cage when you walk near the cage, it just takes time. But, when it comes to being alone, chinchillas, don't like it. And, unless you can provide them with tons of attention, you should really keep them in at least pairs. Having two boys or two girls really does make your chinchillas happier. They have a constant playmate and the constant attention they love and really do want.

Chinchillas are very delicate, and have sensitive respiratory and skeletal systems. You NEVER want to spray anything in the same room with a chinchilla. I have heard many horror stories of spraying febreeze, and the chinchilla dying within 24-48 hours without ever knowning anything was wrong. If you must spray in the room, spray on a rag outside the room and bring the rag in, or remove the chinchillas from the room. Your BEST bet is to just remove the chinchillas from the room.

As for skeletal systems, you do not want to squeeze a chinchilla, much less any animal. But, with chinchillas to much pressure can break their ribs.

Chinchilla Dust Bath

Tips for Caring for Chinchillas


Ray on January 30, 2013:

My daughters chinchilla is lifeless what is best way to nurse it back to health?

Sam on June 29, 2012:

You CANNOT get a chinchilla wet, their fur is too dense to dry and they will mold, get sick, and die.

tonio ximenezypulong on April 29, 2012:

is the dust bath manditory or can i just bathe him?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 07, 2012:

I would highly recommend changing it to Mazuri

Keri on March 04, 2012:

I am getting a chinchilla from a lady that cannot care for it anymore. It is currently being fed 'charlie chinchilla food'. I just wanted to know if i should change his diet to pellets? Thanks!

Chinlover on January 21, 2012:

My very first chin just died last weekend. I loved her like she wss my own kid. Im eleven years old and I did fine with her. She was only about six when she died dont know what happened. M uh parents A

Kate on January 13, 2012:

Chinchillas can be potty trained to and extent. They will poop wherever (it's easy to vacume up )but they will pee in one specific spot. I let my chinchilla run around my room and he comes when I call. He is very attached to me and climbs and sits on my head whenever he gets the chance. My chin only need an hour of attention and you can change their sleeping habits just give it attention during the day. I don't give mine treats I just put my hand in the cage and talk to him it got him used to my voice eventually he started climbing up my arm. You can also read books to it. And as for chew toys bird toys are usually toxic wood to chinchillas I'm very careful with what I give to my chinchilla.

Liliza on October 16, 2011:

When I put my chinchilla out of his cage, he is wild. I put him in my room and closes the door. I can't cath him and he hides in places I can't get him. What must I do?

Anna Jane Manchester on September 21, 2011:

i have chinchillas they are cute

Angel on August 30, 2011:

So i adopted an older chinchilla. She is very shy and timid. I was just wondering how would I break her out of that. I am familiar that they are not social animals but when ever I go and try to pick her up she makes this noise and jumps up and runs away. I was just wondering why she is like this?

Bekah on August 08, 2011:

Ok... so im thinking about getting a chinchilla... they have always been so cute to me and i believe i could be a good chinchilla owner im just scared that the chinchilla may not like my family... i have a 9year old brother and a 14 year old sister... also are there books to potty train a chinchilla? How do you know a chinchilla is the right pet for you? i want a pet i can play with and hold and pet... but dontwant a dog or cat..... is a chinchilla the right kind of pet?

sarah on July 21, 2011:

hi to answer both amanda and amy's questions

amanda: i have had a chinchilla for 10yrs and i had a similar problem and i found the best way to stop it was to have my family members give him the treats instead of me. (still no more than 2 a day)he eventually stopped being aggressive and lets everyone in the house pet him and love him. hope it helps

amy: chins are nocturnal and crepuscular (twilight), so leaving them during the day is fine. mine usually won 't come out of his house until about 6:30 pm. so that should not be a problem, just make sure that ur ready for sleepless nights if he's ur new roommate because they make tones of noise at night. and it takes some time to get used to.It's happened to me more than once where I'm being woken up at 4:30 am the night before an exam because my chin was especially active that night

Amy on July 12, 2011:

Hi I'm looking to buy a chinchilla a male one, is it okay to leave them during the day because I go out to school at 8.10 and come back at 3.50 I know they are nocturnal but would he still be asleep? Also I have two dogs and I have to take them out at 4.30, and come back at 5 would he be awake by then so I can let him out of his cage. I'm doing a lot of research on them because I think I might be getting him in January. Thank you.

Amanda on July 06, 2011:

I was wondering about my chinchilla. He is a grey male and he is 3 years old. He is living alone right now. I don't know why but he seems to hate my brother and would randomly bite him and bark at him. He also doesn't seem to like my other family members that much, but he never bites me or barks at me. He is very friendly with me. Any ideas on how to solve the problem?

Crimson on May 17, 2011:

So, I got a chinchilla from a friend around a year ago.

It has a 3 story wire cage, but I give it normal rodent food rather than pellets since it just wouldn`t eat pellets, and I worried it would starve. Also, his sand bath is just store bought sand from the pet shop, and is made of plastic, yet he never chews that.

I let him loose often, but only in my room, since I was told it needs attention. It always goes between my bed and the radiator, but starts squeaking without warning though. It used to do that when it went between my rabbit cage and the wall too, so I thought it was stuck, but it wasn't.

So, why does it squeak? The rabbit`s good-natured so never does anything if let out at the same time, so what`s wrong with it?

I heard from the pet shop owner that they like tight areas, so I gave it a shoe box, and it loved that. Anything there that could`ve damaged it?

LT on February 28, 2011:

KILN-DRIED pine is perfectly safe and even a recommendation for chinchillas. It's baked so that any harmful chemicals, residues, or parasites are killed. Aspen is, of course, the best, but not everyone has access to aspen wood. As for potty-taining, it's VERY possible, just as training them to do small tricks is possible. My new 2 month old is using a litter pan already. We placed it in the furthest point away from her food, which was important. Just because you weren't able to do it with yours, doesn't mean it's not possible. They're highly intelligent little animals, and they have fairly good memories.

Vanessa on February 22, 2011:

the martins cage you have pictured on this page, is it the chinchilla skyscrapper , or the chinchilla high-rise? because the skycrapper looks smaller then the cage you have im just not suree.

Miranda on February 11, 2011:

The dust bath won't stress him out. They love taking baths!! :) as for the previous comments about the chinchillas fur matting or getting clumps in it... It's happening because their fur was somehow getting wet. The fur can't get wet or this will happen. I noticed a while ago that my little guy had these terrible clumps... Some under his chin and some on his rear haunches. When I tried to tug on them he would yelp at me but he let me groom it. He actually sat still while I took a pair or scissors to his precious fur to get all of the clumps out because that's what it took. Those things are brutal. After some detective work, I found out that I was hanging his bottle too low and it was leaking down his chin when he drank... And he pushes his food bowl just so that when he ate, he pushed his little butt into the water bottle and it leaked on his haunches. Once I cut out the clumps and moved his food dish to another level, he was a happy chinch and all of our problems have been solved. :)

may on February 02, 2011:

hi. My chinchilla who is nearly 5 years old hates dust baths. Her dust bath is in a little box, enough for her to roll around. I normally give her baths once every two weeks (I read that it should be a weekly basis but I am afraid that it stresses her out if its too frequent) Is this ok?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 28, 2011:

No, it is not ideal to do that.

priscillaaa on January 26, 2011:

is it ok to keep their sand house in its cage 24/7?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 03, 2010:

I wouldn't go too small. Remember that these guys can get really stressed out and are quite fragile. I wouldn't recommend getting just one, and honestly, I wouldn't recommend too much transportation between one house to another house and another cage.

Ashley on December 03, 2010:

Getting a chin for my boyfriend for Christmas. Gonna have to house it for a month. Can I get buy with a small wire cage? I just wanna keep it in good health.

Courtney92 on November 09, 2010:

I have a female chin, she's 10 months. I've had her for 2 months. She is very social towards me and she greets me every morning and when I get home from school. Then I let her out. [normal routine] But Saturday I got a male chin that's 5 months old. They're in seprate cages. Side by side far enough apart so they can't reach eachother. But I tried to let them out together after a night of them 'looking at eachother through their cages' but as soon as my male went in the bath house, my female went in there after him. My male came out with fur falling off his body. So i tried to get him, to see if he was okay, but ofcourse he ran away. Then before I could put my female up she ran at him again. So now I don't let them out together. I'll try again in a month or so. I let them out for hour or so each, everyday. And I show both of them the same attention. The male is new and isn't as friendly ans social as my female yet. But I'm sure he's scared. Being a new enviorment and all. His teeth are alittle crooked. My boyfriend told me that they usually have more of an attitude when their teeth aren't straight [he's had his female chin, for 6 years]. But when I try to pet him or let him out he grunts and or pees on me. He will not let me touch him, but he will take treats from me. I was wondering if he is scared from the fighting or if is just scared of me? & What should I do about the fighting. Star [my female] Thinks the bathhouse is hers. So I'm going to buy another one, hoping that will solve that situation...

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 08, 2010:

If the chinchilla is losing weight, then yes you need to see a vet.

Allison on November 08, 2010:

why isn't my chinchilla eating? He's losing weight. Do I have to take him to the vet? please help me out!

Monika on November 05, 2010:

I just got a male chinchilla to put with my female chinchilla. Is it normal for him to keep doing it to her at least once or twice a day? And is it also a normal sign that the female will get a little bit upset to get her out of the cage while a males in the cage also?

maureen1977 on November 05, 2010:

Hi, My female chinchilla had 2 kits a week ago. I had to remove one of them today as one of the kits was lying on her side. Her face was dirty as if her mother didnt care for her. i fed her by had, baby milk and rub tummy and seemed ok. i put her back in the cage and her mother dealt with her but tonight i found her again lyin outside the cage as if dead. i have removed her and cleaned and have abit of milk. she is breathing abit funny too. what will i do?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 02, 2010:

Yes and no. That is the safe way, but if the chinchilla is tame enough to just walk onto your hands, that is better. I personally, don't like that method of picking them up. I'd rather my chinchillas come to me and want to be pet and picked up. That method is a little more forceful.

Lisa on November 01, 2010:

I have a chinchilla, and she seems impossible to pick up. In the chinchilla book I read recently, it said you should pick them up by the base of their tail and slide a hand under them for support. I was wondering if this is the proper way to pick her up.

Anji Russell on October 25, 2010:

Free to roam? No, of course not! Lol! Lily has a gigantic cage (custom made by John Hopewell who specialises in chinchilla cages). However, I do ensure that she has up to 2 hours of free-time outside her cage of an evening (fully supervised of course) and I give her hours of love and fuss (because unfortunately I can't have a second chinchilla).

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 27, 2010:

It all depends. Two of my chinchillas would let me comb them, but it didn't really do any good.

Jessie F on September 25, 2010:

I have a chinchilla who is 7, inherited from a family member. We've had her for about a year now, and from the descriptions of other chinchillas, she is fairly tame. She will come to the door of the cage and loves to be pet, and sometimes will come out to play. She does nip, though, and has sprayed me once when I needed to give her some eye drops for an infection she had. She takes dust baths regularly, but this summer developed 2-3 mats in her fur. I've tried tugging on them gently to get the loose hair out, but she squeaks and nips at me. I've been reading about chinchilla combs on other websites...do you know much about this, and do you think combing is pleasurable enough that she would maybe let me do it without going crazy? Thanks, Whitney!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

You will need to quarantine any new chinchilla that you get to ensure that it isn't sick. You'll need to do a slow introduction in case the current chinchilla is a little territorial, you don't want to throw the new one in there and just let them have at it. You'll want to set up a cage beside the current cage so they can get used to each other that way, and slowly introduce outside of the cage and then short periods of time inside the cage.

The current chinchilla would still play with you and want your interaction.

Katie on August 05, 2010:

So I'm starting school again soon and I'm thinking about getting my chinchilla a friend because she won't get as much attention as she did this summer. If I did that would she still want to play with me and come up to the cage door before I open it like she usually does or will her new friend keep her entertained to were she doesn't want to interact with me anymore....

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

Not necessarily. You may get many standards and darker standards, as well as a few ebony chinchillas. It really works on genetics and whether the colorations are recessive or dominate genes. Standard is dominate, so if ebony and beige are recessive, you'll get all standards with genes for those colors. I'm not fluent on chinchilla colors, so I'm not sure how they evolved.

Personally, leave the breeding up to the professionals. It can be very detrimental to the females health, and not all females make it through labor.

Janelle on August 03, 2010:

I have a beige female and an ebony female .. I would need a standard male to mate with them to have standard, beige and ebony babies or would they not come out in those colors?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 31, 2010:

If you're worried about the wood, there's nothing to stop him from chewing it except constant attention. I wouldn't recommend free roaming the room at all times. It's not safe. Caging unless you can watch the chinchilla run around fine, but not a full free roam.

Zaydee on July 30, 2010:

I have a male chinchilla(1yrs old)and he is really friendly.My parents thought of letting him run in our bedroom and a cage there just for him to sleep unless he is potty trained.My sis and i are still doing that.The problem we have is that we have wooden steps in our bedroom and wooden tables too. We also have a so called 'walk in' wardrobe and he loves to jump on our clothes.The most irritating thing he does all the time is that if we let him jump on MY bed...

He would pee...He thinks that my bed is a bathing sand...

My 'walk-in' wardrobe is wood also...

Not just that,he would bite my family members when he doesnt get his way sometimes but he rarely bites me.

From all the problems that i wrote,what are the best solutions to these?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 29, 2010:

Metal is better than plastic. You should eventually get used to him, but he won't stop making noises, and there's not much you can do to stop him.

robert on July 28, 2010:

I'm pretty sure the one I'm looking at is metal, ill definately make sure. I keep the fan on at night to drown him out, he usualy only wakes me up once around 4am, but I'm sure ill get used to him and sleep right through.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 28, 2010:

Starter cages are usually quite small, so definitely try to upgrade. I'm not sure about Ferret Nation; are the levels plastic or metal? Plastic isn't a good idea, but I'm not sure about metal. I'd assume if it's metal, you'd still get tons of noise and knocking.

The ferret cages are plastic typically, so you'll have the chinchilla chewing and potentially ingesting the plastic, which can be a major concern.

To reduce the noise, there's not much you can do. If you make wood ledges, or buy wood ledges, you'll still hear bouncing around and gnawing. If you pad them, you risk the chinchilla ingesting the material or padding.

Since these guys are nocturnal, you either have to get used to the noise or move the cage out of the room and into another. I used to get woke up all the time with mine, as they'd get carried away and tear up and down the cage and levels just enjoying themselves.

robert on July 28, 2010:

The cage he came with was just the "starter chinchilla kit" cage... I saw good reviews for ferret nation cages I was looking into them... do you hav any suggestions for the nightly noise he creates?? Perhaps padding his ramps and teirs? Or making wooden teirs?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 28, 2010:

More than likely not. I've had chinchillas in the plastic ferret cages, as well as the wire cages with an open bottom (so they're on the bedding not wire), and they will make noise no matter what. My guys actually made more noise in the plastic cage than the wire.

I did have a sturdy wire cage. What brand cage do you have? If it's really flimsy, you may want to consider something sturdier, but the wire is still better than plastic (not necessarily for noise, but in case the chinchilla chews it, plastic can get lodged in the intestines).

robert on July 28, 2010:

Hello, I just adopted a chinchilla, he came with an all wire cage with wire ramps. We stay in the same room and he can be noisy at night; he has to stay in my room. Do you think getting a more sturdy cage would reduce the noise??

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 27, 2010:

It could just be the light that you're looking at the eyes under. Typically the eyes are a dark brown or black.

Kasie on July 26, 2010:

Okayy so my chinchilla has dark green eyes. :o

my aunt(a breeder)said chinchillas don't have green eyes.. But I've looked alot of times&&even my mom&&sis saw they were green.. Sooo..chinchillas do have green eyes rightt. Or are we just crazy..lol

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 12, 2010:

I'm not sure what type of sound you are referring to. If it's a wheeze, it could be a respiratory concern. If it's a bark, it could be excitement. It's hard to tell without hearing it. :-/

Shelbi on July 08, 2010:

Ok so my chinchilla makes this sound.. It's not like barking or a hiss or anything it's kinda sounds like a whine I guess? People can make the sound in the back of there throat idk.. Just wondering what it means?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 08, 2010:

I wouldn't recommend the chinchilla sitting on your shoulder for long. I definitely wouldn't walk around with the chinchilla on your shoulder, as you don't want her to fall or decide to jump and get hurt.

Callie on July 07, 2010:

My chinchilla Breezy is about 5 months old...my aunt breeds them so I've been playing with her since she was born and she gave her to me :)) and everytime I come to her cage she jumps all over my arms and now my shoulders lol...at this rate do you think she will be able to just stay on my shoulder while I walk around my room without being scared or me not having to worry about her jumping off?

Kaitlyn on June 16, 2010:

Hi, just wanted to say that my little guy is 8 months old and is litter trained! WOO!! I also have a 4 layer cage and he loves it! when I got him he came in a cage that he could barely move in felt terrible for him. I read something above about not being able to catch your chinchilla when it escapes. My guy jumped out of his pen the other day and if you offer a dust bath or just the bath house you should be able to cath him. He came running back when I offered that to him, and I just put the container in the door of his cage and told him to go in.

Joseph on June 05, 2010:

well, the sleeping outside their houses looking dead with their legs sticking out of the cage is horrifying at first...absolutely normal 8) i have had my baby for awhile and i've run into very few problems others had...i saved for a long time and looked up everything possible about chins...getting a cage should be important as long as they can live so i got one that stands about five feet tall and has 4 layers...but no chance of hitting the bottom with a drop(completely safe layering technique)...it can separate in the middle and it is all made of wire...i use fleece to cover most of the wire in her cage... and she uses fleece swings...few treats...sometimes rice crispies(5-8 pieces), sometimes a dandilion drop...a small piece of papaya or a raisin...about once a day...great rotations of treats.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on May 26, 2010:

I wouldn't worry about it. It may be getting warm within the house, so they're sleeping outside. Be careful of breeding. It's going to happen.

Sarah on May 26, 2010:

I have a young female and an older male and they live fine together but lately I've been noticing that they've been sleeping outside of their little homes on their sides. It scares me becasue I'll walk by and think they're dead. Is this normal?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on May 11, 2010:

Is she kept in a cage or is she free roam? It's not safe to let chinchilla free roam. They do like having partners, and actually do best in pairs or small groups. If you decide to get another, definitely make sure that you get another female if yours is truly a female.

Anji Russell on May 11, 2010:

My chinchilla is called Lily and I've had her for almost 2 years. She's hilarious! She understands certain words too, such as:

Dust bath?



Good girl!

Jump on shoulder?


Lily has her own TV... (yes she's spoiled rotten).

The only down side about Lily is that she has demolished my cabinets - this occurred when I first got her but now when I say "No" she understands and cheekily runs off to play with/chew on her own toys!

I'd love another chin to keep Lil-Lilz company but hubby gave me months of the silent treatment when I turned up one evening with a pet chinchilla! For now it's just me and Lily :-)

Whitney (author) from Georgia on May 03, 2010:

The fur matting is odd to me. Where is he matting? Is he still eating and drinking normal? Normal behaviors? Still bathing himself properly in the dust bath?

It's probably cooler on the bedding than in an enclosed dust bath house, but the fur matting is a potential concern.

jess on May 03, 2010:

i have had my male chinchilla for about 2 years. he has been in good health and to my knowledge still is. his coat became slightly matted about 3 months ago in one particular area. i have always given him a dustbath every other day. i tried lightly brushing it out but it won't budge. i also noticed that he started sleeping flat on his bedding when he usually sleeps in his dustbath. our apartment has been a little warmer than normal but not hot. just wondering if any of these symptoms sound unusual...thank you.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 22, 2010:

Some are more social than others. About what you can do is to be slow about it, as if you rush, he may become more anti-social.

Bella on April 22, 2010:

I got my chins a couple months ago. one's very social...the other...not so much. The social one will willingly sit on my arm for up to 5 minutes, the other will run as soon as I enter the room. I can't seem to do anything, and it gets worse every day. Any socializing tips?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2010:

They are best in pairs. In my opinion, it should not be an option. Spraying is common with females, not as much with males. The biggest concern is they throw their hair. I don't care how comfortable they get, you'll always have hair around the cage, walls, and floor surrounding the cage.

Kylie on April 07, 2010:

I am saving for a chinchilla nut I have a few questions. Will the chinchilla spray, and do you hvae to get two or is that just an option. I have a ton of time and I would be able to spend all my time with my chinchilla. I have picked out a breeder already who raises top notch(spelling?) kits. So thanks so much.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 07, 2010:

It would be quite stressful on them.

Lea on April 06, 2010:

Hey, my bf and I just got 2 chinchillas. We live in different cities (2 hrs apart); the chinchillas stay at his place for now and I was thinking of buying a cage for my place too but I am worried how this may effect them. Would travelling 1-2 times a month to a second home be too stressful for the little guys? (We have a medium-large sized travel cage that we bought them in as well).

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 01, 2010:

I had the same problem with mine. They would run around my room, and go under or behind something to rest when they were done. When I went to put them up, they'd take off again. I was never able to tame them to get them to go back in their cage without a hassle. You don't want to chase them. I ended up buying a puppy pen for them to play with, but I had to stay in the pen or at least the room with them, because they would jump and hit the corners just right and could jump to the top and jump over. I used the SuperYard XT Gate puppy pen.

Xadra on March 31, 2010:

Hey, i got my chinchilla 3 months ago. Hes about 5 months old, and was quite shy and scared at the begining. We are doing better now but hes still quite scared by any medium to loud noise or quick movements. He is fine with me approaching him when he is in the cage, he actually runs to the door and jumps on my hands to get him out to play but then when he is out,my problem is to try catching him back..it is impossible!its either i will wait4him2get back in his cage on his own will or i will completely loose my patience and chase him around to catch him myself which as u can imagine is quite stressfull usually. But whenever i do it i try to grab him quick and very gently! Any ideas on how to tame him?so he doesnt freak out everytime i try pick him up?I think he is quite okay generally cz he rarely barks and doesnt release any hair everytime i hold him..so i guess hes alright...rite?Any tips would be soo appreciated, thanks x

Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 22, 2010:

They re not recommended for young children because they are very fragile and prone to illness and injury. They have very sensitive skeletal systems, which means they have bones that can be easily fractured or broken. They are not the type of pet to generally just sit and hang out.

MOE on March 22, 2010:

hey im thinking of getting a chinchilla I saw that a chinchilla is not good for a eleven year old why is it so bad!

Hilary_Beijing on February 28, 2010:

Hey Whitney, I read your lovely thread and thought I'd like to share my story of my long-loved pet Chinchilla Coffee as well :D

I've had Coffee since I was in junior high and he's turning 6 this year.

Maybe it's because of his outgoing personalities by nature, I've had very little problems gaining his trust and cuddle him on a daily basis. I got him when he just turned 3-month-old and I managed to potty-train him as soon as he got home.

Even though he's been kept 'single' all his life, he's always been a tame little kid in the house and is very energetic!!

2 days ago I went to the pet shop (where I got him from) to take him home since I was out for weeks on holidays, he instantly recognized me and came to the door when I was there to get him. He jumped out on my elbows with funny desperation that even the owner of the shop (who took care of him) was surprised at.

From my experience, the key to succeed in training your pet chinchi to be docile is to have him/her home at a young age, preferrably 3 or 4-month-old and keep communicating with him/her frequently.

Wish all new chinchi owners learn from the successful experience and enjoy your sweeter life with these lovely and furry creatures!!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 25, 2010:

I wouldn't suggest a chinchilla for an 11 year old. They are very fragile, need to be in a large cage with at least one other chinchilla. They can be noisy at night. I would suggest a guinea pig, instead.

lolo on February 24, 2010:

My daughter wants a pet. she 11 years old and im considering a chinchilla. we live in a apartement and im deciding if this is the right pet for her.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 15, 2010:

It may be stressful moving the chinchilla, you would need to watch very carefully for signs of stress.

ECDB on February 13, 2010:

We have a young chinchilla (6-8 months)in a very large 4 story cage. Once a week our 10 year-old daughter stays with us and her room is next to the chin's room. She has had so much trouble sleeping because the chin is so loud at night, running in its cage and jumping from story to story. We have a couple of times taken the chin downstairs and put her in a small cage for the night; it was a rabbit's cage and it's about 3ft long by 2.5ft tall. Is this too stressful for the chin to be put in a smaller cage? And to be moved from her cage/environment once a week? We don't catch the chin, we wait for her to come to us and then hold her and carry her downstairs. She's become very friendly with us and will allow us to touch her, hold her and is comfortable running all over us. We've been racking our brains trying to help eliminate the noise. We've bought a noice canceller for the child's room. We just don't know what we can possibly do next.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 11, 2010:

Back off on the hay, as the chinchilla needs the pellets. The chinchilla will not be healthy eating only hay. Raisins few, not many actually like carrots, they're not really the best anyway for chinchillas. There are many commercial chinchilla treats that are good. I have a few listed above that I would recommend.

What brand of food are you using?

Andy on February 11, 2010:

ok so Zoie LOVES her hay but she will not eat her pwllets! Is that a bad thing? I just have what her last owner gave me. Should I change her pellets do a diff. brand? Is just the Timothy hay fine for now? Also She loves raisins but I saw a chinchilla at the pet store eating carrots, so I tried to give one to Zoie but she wouldnt take it...is that ok? What else can I give her as a snack or treat?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 10, 2010:

How do you know you're a chinchilla person with 3 weeks of experience? I would go ahead and replace the dust bath for a new one. Try not to leave it in the cage to reduce chewing. Ask your friend how old the chinchilla is. What size cage do you have? You'll definitely need a larger one if you decide to add another chinchilla. If you decide to get another make sure it's the same gender; You'll need to quarantine the new one for at least 30 days, then slowly try to introduce them together with outside play and then short amounts of in the cage time before you can 100% leave them together with full confidence of no bullying or stress. Some chinchillas that have been alone for a long time won't accept a new partner, but most love the company. It will all depend. After the 30 days, and you're trying to get them used to each other, put the two cages together so they can smell and sniff each other at all times, leaving the cages together.

If she's chewing on the ball, you'll want to be extra careful. Plus be extra careful about the ball in general, as long periods can increase heat and potentially cause heat exhaustion. My guys loved theirs, but most people don't actually recommend them. You just have to be extra careful

Andy on February 10, 2010:

I just got my chin about 3 weeks ago...nvr had one before but I got her from a friend who didnt want her. I thought she would make good class pet but turns out...not so much :) I love her now just want to give her the best. her dust bath hut is plastic and has already been chewed on. Do I need to replace it? I dnt know how old she is but she still seems very small, the cage that came with her is a small one so I will get a bigger one for her but what about adding a friend? I would like to get another one as I am a Chinchilla person now but I dnt want her to get hurt or hurt the other one, how do I know if she is used to being alone (as I have only had her for about 3 wks) of if she would like a friend? Also I have a ball that she rolls around in and I noticed the she is starting to chew the lid...she is only in the ball for about 15 min at a time but should I stop with the ball or what? I dnt want the ball if the plastic is going to hurt her...

Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 08, 2010:

Pet stores 1) don't care and 2) don't typically know proper care of chinchillas. Stick with your wooden house. I once used a plastic one, but they chewed it pretty bad. I changed to the wooden because it is much safer. No matter what you put in the enclosure, they will chew, chewing means potential digestion. They're going to run and bounce on anything in the enclosure that they can, they will still make lots of noise with plastic.

Lamar on February 07, 2010:

I have a question. Every single pet store that houses chinchillas has a plastic house for them.. Now my two chinchillas have wooden but everywhere I read or look up is saying that plastic is bad. Now is the plastic at the pet store some sort of miracle plastic where it doesn't affect their digestive systems. I want to give them plastic or something non wood because its less hustle and less noise. Any suggestions

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 10, 2010:

He should calm down. Yes, you should have gotten a cagemate. You should let him come out on his own. You should slowly work with him to get used to you. They need a good bit of attention, which is why cagemates are recommended and optimum. Try contacting the breeder to see if she has another about the same age and size that you could purchase. You will need a larger cage as the chinchilla grows; try to stay away from plastic, as mentioned above they will chew it and the plastic bits can easily block the intestines.

Becky on January 09, 2010:

Hmm, I keep thinking of getting a new cage for my chinchilla, it's the same as the first picture you showed(ferret cage) and I had to remove the ramps because yes, the pieces were chewed off. And the cage I got from Kijiji, it was missing the connecters so it's being held together poorly and is only the two stories rather than all of them.

I got my chinchilla from a breeder, she offered me two for 150 but I ended up only getting the one and I probably should've gotten a cagemate. But, he was 2 months when I got him in August. It seems it was easier to take him out of his cage than it is now, since now he'll always bark and try to bite but once I do grab him he'll calm down after a while. Should I let him come out on his own rather than me try to get him out? Or..I don't know, I feel I don't give him enough attention as he needs, and I'll probably invest in a better/larger cage too.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 23, 2009:

I did try that and stuck with it for a while with chin that I got at 6 weeks, and it didn't work. 99% of the time it isn't going to work with chinchillas.

It's not a good idea to let a rabbit and chinchilla share a litter box.

murphy on December 22, 2009:

THE earlier statement about not being being able to potty train a chinchilla is not entirely true.My chin 'tofue' only goes pee in his litter box,and also shares the community litter box in the living room with my rabbit 'flower'.All you have to do when thier babies is pick up the bedding where they pee and put it in the litter box.The best kind of box for a chin is a corner box,and make sure you use corn litter!!!!!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 16, 2009:

The companions are great for times when you can't give them all the attention they need or want at that moment. They are much more entertaining when they have a friend. It is your decision, but generally they're much happier with a cagemate. You'd just have to be very careful as your's has been solo for so long, she may not want a friend. You'd have to quarantine the new one in a separate cage for at least a month or more to make sure that it's not sick, and then try to socialize the two together before putting them in the same cage to live.

Wendy on November 15, 2009:

We have had our chinchilla, Roxie, for almost 3 years. We have a large cage (just like the ferret cage above. Do you think Roxie would be ok if we got another friend for her. She is very spoiled and we do play with her quite a bit so I doubt she is too lonely. If they are better in pairs though then maybe we should get a second.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 13, 2009:

In the third picture, the treats were not provided as a meal or for the entire day to eat. They were used for an attempt at training a small obstacle course, that they actually did quite well at. They recieved one or two per session, I just poured the container of treats onto the lid. The treats were all safe treats for chins to eat, ranging from chinchilla marketed rose bud mix, raisins, dried fruits, and sunflower seeds. If you read the article and the captions on the pictures, I explain that plastic can easily be chewed and can block the intestines.

jean on November 13, 2009:

I'm just curious.. I've had chins for over five years. why do you have all that junk in the first picture for you chin to eat. even with healthy treats, they should only get like 1 a day [and i'm talking real safe treats: rosehips or buds, non frosted cherrios...]. and while you do say not to use plastic and why, putting up a picture of that super pet cage with all that plastic just tells someone that knows nothing about chins, it's okay to use.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 06, 2009:

Depending on the slope, it may or may not be ok. Mine weren't that steep, but I've seen worse. I'd be worried that during play and running up and down the cage, they the chinchilla may loose grip and fall. They're skeletal systems are very fragile. You'll want to worry about chewing the plastic, because once lodged in the intestines, it's potentially fatal.

Jessica on November 06, 2009:

Thanks for the help!

that web site was very helpful and im totally aware of the plastic chewing things. mine is deff a chewer so i always that that into consideration. but this ferret cage i seen was mostly wire with two small platroms that were plastic. my only concern is that the ladders seems to be very tall and very slanted. and i know chins love to jump but im just concerend that if he wanted to climb it he couldnt. how were your chinchillas with the ladders?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on November 06, 2009:

Wire cages are easier to clean, but if you have a wire cage with a wire floor plus wire ledges and ramps, you'll potentially run into complications like bumble foot. It's best if you get a wire cage to get one that has an open floor where the chin will be walking on substrate.

Ferret cages are ok, but they're plastic and very chewable. When I had my chinchillas, they were in a large ferret cage, and it didn't take long before they had chewed off the plastic connectors that held the sides together. I had to zip tie the sides, and they'd chew off the zip ties on near daily, so they were replaced daily.

The wire cages last much longer and are cheaper. Check martins cages for good cages. I had the chinchilla highrise with a drop in pan for 130.00 it was great. You get 2 half balconies and a full floor with plenty of room to add the wooden ledges and stuff for the chinchilla to jump on and have fun with. I used 2 or 3 wood ledges on the bottom and 2 or 3 on the top. They loved the full sized ledges to sleep on and of course chew.

Jessica on November 05, 2009:

i have been thinking about upgrading my chin cage because the one us has is 3 storys but it is not as tall as i think he would like it. sometimes he goes crazy it looks like just jumping from the bottem to the top and i just feel its to small for him. but i had a few questions. One, i heard it is best to have a wire cage for them but i also heard it hurts thier feet. is that true? and Two i have found some very nice ferret cages but it seems like the ladders at too high for him to climb. i just needed a little help deciding on what to get. anything will be helpful

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 25, 2009:

I wouldn't recommend using the item in the cage. The chinchilla will probably chew it and will still injest the chemicals. You can just wash the old one. Even if you try to wash the new one, you'll have to wash it several times o ensure that all of the chemicals are out of the material.

Kathy on August 24, 2009:

I got a new hammock for our chin and my husband Scotchguarded it to keep it from getting stained. She pees a lot in her old one. I know the newest Scotchguard doesn't have the harmful chemicals in it that the old one (before 2000) but I still wonder if it's safe for her. I'm hesitant to use it until I hear from someone who has some knowledge or experience about this. The hammock does not smell now, several hours after being sprayed.

alex on July 19, 2009:

thx a bunch u know a lot about chinchillas again thx

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 13, 2009:

I've seen them as loq as $100, from breeders, but not all breeders are the best you'll have to do research and decide if the breeder is good. Also remember they should really be in pairs, and need a fairly large cage. Chinchillas are not for everyone, and cannot be held and played with like most small pets. They are very fragile and can be harmed easily. There are very few vets who treat chinchillas, and they are very susceptible to respiratory illnesses and such due to their sensitve respiratory tract.

alex on July 11, 2009:

oh no i ment like what is chpast for a chin cuz i got my heart set on a chin soooooooo bad i need a goal to shoot for to save up money now u see?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 10, 2009:

If you're looking at going the cheap way, I wouldn't suggest a chinchilla. These guys require a bit of care throughout their lifetime, and if you're trying to go cheap, then I'd suggest a guinea pig or rabbit. Chinchillas are very fragile and require more housing and care than most other pets.

alex on July 10, 2009:

hey wheres the cheapest place to get a chin?breader pet place or what?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 03, 2009:

Typically homemae rodent cages are made of melanmine. Pine and cedar are terrible for any rodents and really shouldn't be sold in that section. They're fine for dog kennels, but definitely not any pet rodent.  Also remember having a male and female, they will breed whether you like it or not, and when she has the litter you need to remove the male because he'll mate with her again right away, which will cause even more stress on her already stressed body. In this case, you could potentially loose the female and/or the babies.

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