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Small pet advice: caring for your chinchilla

Chinchillas can make cute pets, but don’t expect to see them during the day!

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The longer lasting rodent

If you decide to keep chinchillas as pets, be aware that they are nocturnal so won’t make much of an appearance during the day. Also remember that they don’t enjoy living alone, so try and get two at the same time if you can. If they are different sexes, ask Vets4Pets about having the male neutered to stop them breeding.

Housing a pet chinchilla





Although we call them small pets, chinchillas are bigger than hamsters or gerbils so they need a cage with plenty of room. Make sure it has shelves at different heights so they can climb, along with an enclosed space in which they can sleep during the day. They also need lots of exercise, so let them out for some playtime at least once a day.

The right diet





The bulk of your chinchilla’s diet should be made up of a constant supply of fresh hay, as plenty of fibre is essential for their good health. Make sure your pet also has access to clean drinking water all the time too. You can buy special chinchilla food in pet shops, but go for pellets rather than the mixed variety to avoid your chinchilla picking out the bits that they like best!

Fur chewing





A healthy, happy chinchilla can live a long time – up to 15 years in some cases, or maybe more. But if you notice your chinchilla chewing at their own or its companion’s fur, it may be a sign that they're stressed or bored. The best way to avoid this is to give your pet plenty of attention. Play with them when you can, and make sure they get the exercise time outside their cage that they need.