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Chinchillas As Pets

28 13:30:46
A popular exotic pet for many people today is the chinchilla. Chinchillas can be very good pets for some individuals, but less than optimum for others. Lets look a little more at the animal and the care of the chinchilla to see if it is the right exotic pet for you.

Chinchillas are small rabbit-sized crepuscular rodents who are native to the Andes in South America. The name literally means "little Chinca" and the animals are named after the Chinca who were known for wearing the soft dense fur of the rodent. In the Andes, chinchillas live in burrows or crevices in the rocky arid regions of the mountains. They live in colonies within this environment where the larger females breed with the smaller males any time of year. They are extremely agile and can jump very high, and enjoy being mobile and exploration.

As pets, chinchillas are not generally good for families with smaller children. The animal does not like to be held, and has small easily damaged bones. With a lifespan of 15 -20 years, this is also a long-term commitment. Chinchillas come in a variety of colors and are also known for their very sensitive stomach which requires a specific diet for optimum health.

To setup a cage for a chinchilla you should start with a fairly large, multi-level wire or other non-chewable cage. A pull-out tray eases cleaning of the cage for you as well as elevates the animal from the dirty cage floor. If the cage floor is wire this is hard on the animals feet, and somewhere in the cage you need to provide a wooden platform for relief on the feet. The cage needs to placed in a quiet, cool, non-drafty part of your home.

To feed a chinchilla always provide a lot of good quality grass hay along with some pellets. The digestive system of the animal is very sensitive, and deviation from this diet should be little to none. Treats can be given on occasion, equaling no more than one teaspoon full per day. These can include fruits, vegetables, sunflower seeds, and rolled oats. At all times a water bottle, preferably glass, should be available with fresh cool water for drinking.

Chinchillas love to play, so provide some toys and maybe even a wheel to entertain your pet. Some good toy choices are pesticide free wood chew toys, wooden parrot toys, as well as willow based rabbit toys, and also a pumice block for chewing to aid in keeping teeth short.

To tame a chinchilla, slowly build up confidence between the animal and yourself. This can be a slow process, be prepared to patiently interact with your pet getting acquainted slowly. Treats and working at the speed of the animals acceptance of your presence, and in no time you will have a very loyal pet.