Best Tips for Preparing a Chinchilla House
With a life span that can extend up to 20 years, choosing the proper chinchilla house for your pet early on will ensure that it will enjoy the best life possible in your care. The first step is to understand the characteristics of a chinchilla so that the reasons behind the requirements for their habitat will become evident.
Chinchillas are small creatures, measuring no longer than 14 inches in body length with an additional 5 inches or so for the tail. Their fur is exquisitely soft to the touch; a trait that is attributed to a high density of hairs within the coat. Each hair follicle contains approximately 60 hairs. This thick, heavy fur enables the chinchilla to hold in body heat; a factor that will become important in maintaining the climate of the room where the pet is kept. Because chinchillas lack the ability to sweat when hot, overheating is a dangerous condition for the small animal. The temperature around their houses must be kept cool and well ventilated. Fans such as the ones used by people offer little comfort for the chinchilla, but air conditioning that keeps a stable temperature is a perfect environment. If that is not a possibility, a large covered pan that contains ice cubes will emit a cooling factor. It is easy to understand why it is that a chinchilla house must be carefully chosen to ensure that it will have the good ventilation necessary for the pet’s well being. One that is made of unpainted wire mesh, featuring a pull out tray to remove waste droppings is the ideal cage.
When in their natural habitat of the Andes Mountains, chinchillas are burrowing creatures. Providing your pet with a hideaway box that will act as their safe haven will allow it to feel secure and safe. The hidey hole can be of wood construction, but it is important to realize that chinchillas love to chew on things; the little house included. Keep it inexpensive, as it will need to be replaced periodically. A good option is a cardboard box, such as an empty tissue container. Another way to appease their natural burrowing instinct is to provide the pets with varying lengths of PVC pipe, which they can tunnel through to their heart’s content.
Like many in the rodent family, your pet chinchilla will prove to be a very active animal. Generally speaking, the larger the cage that can be provided, the better it will be for the energetic nature of this creature. There are commercially available cages that are called “condos”; possessing several levels or floors on which the pet can explore and cavort. Access to each level is usually providing through the use of a ramp. Naturally, these cages are more expensive than a single level. When trying to contain costs through using a single level, but not deprive your pet of the exercise it desires, simply add a ramped shelf within the cage you have.
To recap the requirements of the chinchilla house, consider the following:
- Cage must be well ventilated and easy to keep clean.
- House must provide privacy areas as well as areas that will accommodate the burrowing instinct of the pet.
- A large, roomy cage will allow the energetic rodent space to move around happily. Ramps leading to multiple floors will provide exercise opportunities.
Food dishes, water dishes, dust bath containers and chew toys will round out the accessories needed for the chinchilla house.
Providing the proper environment for the pet chinchilla will ensure that it has all of the elements needed for a long, healthy and happy life; one that can extend up to 20 years with your careful and considerate care.