What do you feed a chinchilla?

What do you feed a chinchilla?

Chinchillas are delicate creatures which require proper care. Caring for this type of rodent includes proper diet. When properly taken care of, these animals may live up to more than ten years. In their natural habitat, chinchillas mostly feed on hay and tree barks.

These gentle but active creatures’ diet also includes an ample amount of vegetables such as carrot and leafy greens, and fruits like apples and berries as well as specific kinds of flowers. A balance mix of these foods can be beneficial to chinchillas’ overall dietary nutrition. In the wild, chinchillas even eat several meat like bird eggs and insects.

Due to the rise of households having chinchillas as pets, pellets and other foods formulated specifically for rodents such as chinchillas have been made available in pet shops.

Best Timothy Hay

Majority of a chinchilla’s diet consists hay, specifically, Timothy hay. The pleasant fragrance of Timothy hay stimulates the appetites of chinchillas and keeps them busy. The benefits of hay include fibrousness and richness in protein. It also has a balanced amount of calcium to phosphorus. When it comes to calorie count, Timothy hay generally has low to moderate count appropriate for chinchillas.

Though this type of hay takes time to yield, since it has been commercialized, it has been made accessible and available in majority of pet shops.

Pet owners must replace their chinchillas’ hays at least once a day. Anything later may risk chinchillas of eating moldy and dirty hay causing them gastrointestinal complications.

Timothy hay is most recommended by veterinarians for chinchillas’ gastrointestinal tract and dental hygiene, and is advised to be made available at all times in their cages.

Below are several high rated Timothy hay products available on amazon.com.

(click on image to check price)

Kaytee Timothy Hay for Rabbits & Small Animals, Assorted Flavors, 24 oz Bag
Small Pet Select 1St Cutting “High Fiber” Timothy Hay Pet Food

Other kinds of hay such as orchard hay, alfalfa hay, and meadow hay are also suitable for feeding chinchillas. Also, bite-sized cubed hays for chinchillas have been available in pet shops as an alternative for the traditional hay.

Kaytee Alfalfa Cubes, 15-oz bag

Vegetables

Pet owners must be very mindful when giving vegetables as treats. As long as vegetables do not exceed about ten percent of chinchillas’ diets, they are usually safe and healthful. When given in small amounts, vegetables such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, peas, leafy greens such as lettuce, turnips, dandelion greens, and kale can be good and beneficial treats for these creatures.

Pet owners must ensure freshness of vegetables before feeding them to their little pets and they must make sure to remove uneaten vegetables before the day ends to prevent chinchillas from eating spoiled food which may lead to diarrhea and other stomach problems.

Vegetables such as potatoes, which are high in phosphorus, bell peppers, basil leaves and other herbs which have strong flavor should be avoided.

Fruits

As with vegetables, when given in moderation, fruits can …

Chinchilla History & Origin

Chinchilla History & Origin

Chinchilla Origin and History

Chinchillas are known for their impeccable cuteness and luxuriously soft fur. Their species are classified in two namely Chinchilla Chinchilla or the short-tailed ones, and Chinchilla Lanigera or the chinchillas with long tails.

These adorable creatures have a resemblance with rabbits although they are thought to be smarter than the latter as they can interact and play with humans when taught. Like all other things, we always wonder when or where a certain lifeform or phenomenon came about, and chinchillas are no exception.

In this article, we will be learning the origins of these animals and how they become one of the most loved pets today.

Where do chinchillas originate from?

Forty-one million years ago, chinchillas first swarmed the land of South America and coastal regions particularly in Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia.

The Chincha people of the Andes, who first got mesmerized by the beauty and velvet-like fur, named the rodents after their own and later called them “chinchillas”.

The popularity of chinchillas boomed in 1700s and since then they were commercially bred to produce ultra-soft furs that will be used for making clothes and coats sold in different parts of America.

Due to high demands, the downturn of these creatures began as early as 1914 when one scientist claimed that chinchillas were nearing extinction because of over-exploitation.

However, Mathias Chapman, an American engineer, was given a special permission by the government of Chile to bring chinchillas to the United States up until 1923.

Restriction of sale of fur

The decimation of chinchillas’ population by exorbitant fur trade and harvest caused the species’ precise natural range to be ill-studied and under developed.

Fifty-two years later in 1975, the restriction of sale and trade of wild chinchillas was mandated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The specie of Chinchilla Chinchilla or the short-tailed ones are said to be extinct in Peru and Bolivia but are thought to be recovering in other areas.

In the most recent year as 1996, the population of Chinchilla Lanigera or the long-tailed is declining and continuing to do so as only 42 colonies are left to be thriving.

Chinchilla natural habitat

Chinchillas can only survive in cold places that have the temperature between 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5°C) to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27°C).

Humidity and/or high temperatures can be fatal to these rodents for they can be at risk with heat stroke and dehydration. With that being said, they are currently flourishing in Chile and can only be found in that country.

An estimated of just 10,000 chinchillas are left in the Chilean mountains due to habitat loss caused by burning and harvesting of the algarobilla shrub at lower altitudes.

Chinchilla lifespan

Despite the lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity, it is said that both species of chinchillas were classified by International Union for Conservation of Nature as “critically endangered” in the year 2008.

However, this was regressed back to the …

Chinchilla Behavior and Characteristics

Chinchilla Behavior and Characteristics

Chinchillas possess different behaviors and characteristics which make them unique from other rodents. Understanding behaviors and characteristics of Chinchillas is paramount since these traits are different from one another.
In this article, we will talk about 13 different features of chinchillas.

If you are planning to adopt a chinchilla, this article will be helpful since adopting a chinchilla requires a lot of understandings as they are a bit sensitive to the environmental factors and obviously distinct from the other domestic pets.

We will probe into details about how chinchillas are friendly, sensible, loving and emotional. We’ll then further look into different noises they make to express their different emotions.

Also, this article will give you details about their main behavioral patterns, such as jumping and chewing; what makes them jump and chew. You’ll get an overall idea about what chinchillas like and dislike, what makes them happy, angry and depressed. Chinchillas’ characteristics are a rather interesting and entertaining watch. With that said, let’s dig into the details.

Friendly and loving

Chinchillas are popular for their friendly and cuddly nature. If you are adopting a chinchilla as a pet, we assure you, this species is one of the most lovable pets. They love company as they normally live as herds in their natural habitats. They take time to get adjusted to new environments and once they do, they begin to show love and affection.

Besides, chinchillas are not 100% lap-pets, yet you can cuddle them with respect to their approval as well. They prefer to be left alone rather than being too much attached to the owner, but chinchillas make sociable companions.
Making sounds

Chinchillas bark, chirp, and squeak when it comes to communicating. They usually bark when they are frightened or scared. Also, if they live with the herd, they bark to warn danger to the other fellows. Pet chinchillas bark to show annoyance and disapproval. As in, if they do not want to be picked up or cuddled, they bark to show dislike. They squeak in different ways. They chatter their teeth when they are both frightened and happy. Chinchillas cry when they are in pain or discomfort. Besides, they coo or grunt when they are content and to communicate.

Gentle, sensitive and emotional

Chinchillas are one of the gentlest animals. They have emotions as we human beings do. They seek attention, especially from their owner. They love to be cuddled and to have social interaction. If they feel that they are ignored or have less attention, they get hurt and displeased easily.

The most important feature of chinchillas is that they are quick mood swingers. They can be happy in a moment and then not in the mood to be happy at the same time. As they are gentle, they never tend to bite humans unless you hurt them. They are typically less aggressive. Female chinchillas are more aggressive and dominant in the two genders.

Dense fur

Chinchillas live on the top of trees (3000-5000 meters from the …

Everything you need to know about chinchillas

Everything you need to know about chinchillas

Chinchilla Facts and Information

Chinchillas come from a rodent family. To be specific over here; they belong to a South American rodent family. Having originated in the high, harsh, and windy climate of Andes Mountains in South America, they prefer to live in highly elevated areas (3000 to 15000 feet above sea level), where the weather is cool and dry, which should explain why they are blessed with thick fur.

Living in a highly elevated area gives them easy access to food that they need for survival. It also helps them avoid heat and predators by going underground quickly under the logs, bushes, or something along the same lines.

Of course, in highly elevated areas, it can get quite cold. Although chinchillas can bear freezing temperatures, they cannot tolerate temperatures higher than 80 F (27 C). They can get extremely stressed at higher temperatures. And in fact, extreme humidity and high temperature can cause them heat strokes.

 

Crepuscular

This is why chinchillas are most active during dusk and dawn when the temperature is cooler. Unlike humans and other mammals, they prefer to sleep during the day, and dig homes in underground tunnels. Also, they live in the company of dozens or hundreds of other fellow chinchillas, and that makes them feel more secure than living in isolation.

Physique

Appearance-wise, some people say that chinchillas resemble squirrels. However, they are slightly more robust and larger than a ground squirrel. Weighing around one to two pounds, chinchillas can grow up to twelve inches in length. This measurement is without the tail. Even with the tail included, they are not longer than a foot.

Fun fact: female chinchillas are usually slightly larger in diameter than the male counterparts.

Breeding Season

Their breeding season depends on their physical locations. It can run from May to November in the South Hemisphere, and from November to May in the North Hemisphere.

Believe it or not, a female chinchilla can carry her soon-to-be-born child for nearly 111 days before birth, which is pretty surprising for an animal of its size and stature.

Moreover, females can give birth twice a year, and up to six babies on each birth attempt.

Fun fact: Newborn chinchillas arrive in this world with fur and with their eyes wide-open.

chinchilla facts and information

Chinchilla’s Fur 

Chinchillas are known for their soft and plush fur. They are almost thirty times softer than human hair, which should tell you how nice it feels to hold a chinchilla. Softness aside, their fur also saves them from predators because chinchillas have this uncanny ability to fur slipping in order to escape out of a predator’s hand.

Chinchilla’s Behavior

Chinchillas do not prefer a solo existence. Even the wild chinchillas live in herds of 14 to 100 chinchillas. This helps them maintain a good social life. Plus, the herd mentality ensures that they do not fall prey to predators easily. They sleep under the rocks during the day time and set out to hunt food during the night when …

Chinchilla Health Care and Common Health Issues

Chinchilla Health Care and Common Health Issues

Chinchillas originated from Andes Mountains in South America. Its scientific name is Chinchilla lanigera. It has mushy grey fur and a long fluffy tail. Its thick fur acts as an insulator against cold and protects it against fleas, lice and predators. It has a near-spherical body, with large ears like those of mouse, short legs and long bushy tail.

A healthy baby chinchilla weighs between 60 and 70 grams during birth while a mature chinchilla weighs between 370 grams and 1.4 kg. Female chinchillas are larger than male ones.

Chinchillas have a life cycle of between 10 and 15 years while others may live for 20 years.

In this article, we shall look at how to select health chinchillas, how to properly care for them, how to handle them, how to detect when they fall sick, the common health problems and how to treat them and also the common illnesses and how to treat them.

Identifying a healthy chinchilla    

To start with, it is important to always inspect the chinchilla during the day when it is active and alert.

The eyes should be shiny and glowing; they should not be watery or with discharge. The ears and nose too must not have discharge. The upper and lower jaw teeth should be evenly aligned when closed. The animal must not be drooling.

Inspect the whole body to ensure that it has no wounds. You can also take the animal to a veterinarian to examine its heart and check its parasites droppings.

Regular contact and handling of a chinchilla makes it to get used to human handling. The first approach of the animal should be slow and quiet to avoid frightening it. Allow it to smell your fingers then gently lift it with both hands.

Caring for chinchillas

Chinchillas should be provided with proper housing and clean source of water; favorably by water bottle because water in a basin can be easily contaminated. The cage should be disinfected and sanitized frequently and the bedding material should be gentle.

The diet should contain more fibre. Good examples include hay and fresh or dried fruits. Most importantly, the diet should be consistent with the gradual introduction of new food as the pet grows.

Any food that is not consumed within a day should be removed from the cage to avoid the growth of mold.

The cage should be large to allow space for play. It should also have ramps and platforms. There should be a bedding material such as dried pine to allow the animal to nestle. There should also be a peaceful place in the cage where the chinchilla can hide.

To ensure that the animal gets some exercises, you can provide it with a chew toy and wooden parrots.

How to handle Chinchillas

Chinchillas should be handled carefully and smoothly to reduce inflicting tension and stress. Whenever the animal is terrified or overexcited it releases a large fur covering whereby the smooth and clean skin below is visible. It …

Chinchilla Housing And Environmental Requirements

Chinchilla Housing And Environmental Requirements

The name itself is so cool to hear. Chinchilla is a very common household pet these days. When you talk about these blurry creatures, you may be reminded of their soft and funny fur. In former times, chinchillas were prey to hunters due to their fur. Today they are a very common pet. With their active, curious, and playful nature, Chinchillas have become some of the favorites and easiest domestic pets to keep.

Chinchillas are very sensitive to their environment, so it is vital to choose the most favorable environment for them to stay. One of the best ways to achieve this is by mimicking their natural habitat. In their natural environment, chinchilla lives way up high in the Andes Mountains. This exposure to cold makes them detest high temperatures and humidity.

Chinchillas are a very active animal that requires a large cage that will make them move around and exercise their body. In order to ensure that your new pet lives a healthy life, it is essential to provide a proper living environment, comprising suitable bedding, toys to play with, a watering system, and an easily accessible feeder device.

In addition, to prevent bacterial growth and spread, it is recommended to clean and disinfect your chinchilla’s cage at least once a week or twice, depending on the number of chinchillas.

Establishing the right environment for your chinchillas

There are different ways of housing your new chinchillas. If you have enough space, a whole room would be perfect as chinchillas require lots of room to jump and play. However, if that isn’t feasible for you, a cage will serve.

Chinchillas are very sensitive to the wrong environment, so choosing their location must be done with utmost care to keep them active and make them feel comfortable as much as possible. If your chinchilla’s cage is too small, they will suffer from depression, extreme anxiety, and neurotic habits that cause them to walk in circles, flip somersaults, and lose the ability to jump and walk properly.

Also, a well-ventilated area with a large window or windowless room provides a stress-free and suitable environment for your chinchilla.

Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation

(click on image above to check price)

There are chinchilla cages readily available in pet stores, but of course, there are some things to consider. The cage should cater to all the needs of your pet. The cage must be big enough for your pet to run around, climb, and play. This is essential, as chinchillas are energetic and curious little animals.

The minimum recommended cage size to house a chinchilla is 100 cm, and some purposes – built cages up to 200 cm. To find the ideal home for your pet, shop online or in local pet stores, especially those that sell chinchillas, shop for a purpose-built cage, or even a small pet store near you to find out about ideal homes and pets.

Another thing to consider when building your chinchillas’ cage is the material to be used. In …

Safe Treats For Chinchillas

Safe Treats For Chinchillas

Chinchillas are cute creatures. They are playful, entertaining and full of energy; they are masters at begging for treats. Watching chinchillas munch their treats is fun and enjoyable. They look so happy when they are eating and when they are done they beg for more.

Commercial chinchillas treats sold in stores should be avoided. They are loaded with chemicals, fats and sugars which can cause digestive issues and rot your chinchilla’s teeth.

These treats can be purchased either at a grocery store or at online chinchilla stores. When you buy treats from the pet stores make sure they are free from pesticide, animal waste, any other chemical or pollutant.

Unlike other rodents, chinchillas have sensitive stomachs and may easily become ill if fed the wrong type of treats, so they need to be put on a healthy treat.

You can start treating chinchillas from the first arrival to your home. This is done to help them get used to you and the new environment.

You can go a long way towards improving the overall chinchillas’ well being by being educated about your pet needs.

There are a different number of treats you can give to your chinchilla to get used to your presence.

 

Safe treats that your chinchilla will love

Dried rose hips: Dried rose hips are very safe treats for chinchillas and can be offered daily to maintain good health and prevent diseases. These are one of the best treats for your chinchillas that are rich in fiber and vitamin C; they also contain a good amount of bioflavonoid, citric acid, zinc, vitamins A, D and E. Give your chinchilla a hip each day both as a treat and a dietary supplement.

Herbs: You can buy dry herbs or dry them at home and serve them as safe treats to your chinchilla. Herbs such as dried dandelion roots, dandelion leaves, rosemary, hibiscus, parsley, strawberry, blackberry leaves can be offered several times in a week in small quantities in the size of a tablespoon.

Dried Fruits: Dried fruits can be offered as treats once in a week this include dried apple, dried banana, dried papaya, dried pineapple, dried mango, and Goji berries.  Just because they are safe doesn’t mean they can be given at once give only one to two pieces a week. Give them sparingly because they are high in sugar and can in turn cause harm to the health of your chinchilla.

Raisins and dried Cranberries:  These are chinchilla’s favorite treats but should not be given more than once or twice a week because they are very high in sugar up to 70%. Chinchilla’s diet should be made up of no more than 4% sugar.

Fresh Fruits: Fresh fruits as apples can be given as treat in a small size as that of a raisings. Strawberries and pears can also be given sparingly as a treat. Be careful not to give too much fruit as it can lead to bloating.

Dried Vegetables: Veggies are also a …

Chinchilla Pellets and Nutritional values

Chinchilla Pellets and Nutritional values

Chinchilla pellets are complementary foods with specific ingredients that offer crucial nutrients, minerals and vitamins to the chinchillas for their good health. They are of small size and cut short to minimize the chances of being wasted by the animal.

The chinchillas in the wild naturally consume vegetation that is rich in roughages; this means that the ones at home should also be provided with something similar. It is also normal for them to consume their faeces to acquire nutrients. The major needs for good growth of a chinchilla are good quality pellet, fresh hay and enough freshwater.

When choosing pellets, avoid the ones fortified with fruits, seeds, nuts and vegetables. These foods should be served minimally and very irregularly for they are junks to the chinchillas.

What is the nutritional value of chinchilla pellets?

The high fibre chinchilla pellets are rich in roughages which keep the teeth well-trimmed and ensure that the digestive system is well functioning.

The pellets are also fortified with vitamins and minerals to enhance the growth of the animal’s body and skeletons.

The pellets are rich in high fibre (15-30%), high protein (16-20%), and low fat (2-5%).

Can chinchillas be fed with other animals’ pellets e.g. rabbit pellets?

No. Chinchillas should be fed with pellets that are specifically made for chinchillas.

Chinchillas should only be fed with their specific pellets because they have a particular dietary need which is very different from that of other rodents.

Pellets made specifically for chinchillas are fortified with vitamins and minerals that pertain to the needs of chinchillas.

Other pellets, like those of rabbits, are made with ingredients to cater to the needs of rabbits only. Giving chinchilla pellets belonging to other ruminants will deprive their needs.

The pellets are manufactured especially for specific species with no intention of being beneficial to the others not stated in it. Small pets have a different diet to that of chinchillas. Most products contain a caution by the manufacturer on whom to feed, failure to adhere to those instructions can cause harm to your animals.

Animals with similar attributes to chinchillas’ like the rabbits also have their pellets which sometimes people substitute for chinchillas. This should only be done in extreme emergencies with the directive of your vet because chinchillas have a very sensitive digestive system and if a mistake was done it could harm them.

Amount of pellets to feed per day

Averagely, chinchillas consume one or two tablespoons of pellets daily, preferably one tablespoon in the morning and another one in the evening. It is good to serve in small amounts to keep them fresh; serving in large amounts can easily cause contamination. Maintain a particular routine in feeding that the chinchillas will get used to. You can serve the pellets in a heavy porcelain dish.

Feeding the chinchillas measured amounts of pellets is good so that you can keep note when their appetite has gone down. The amount to feed depends on their weight on which your veterinarian can …

Best Hay for Chinchillas

Chinchilla Hay and Forage – The Main Source of Fibre

Chinchilla hay is very important in a chinchilla’s diet because is the main source of fibre. Even when you have chosen a high quality of pellets you should also provide the hay every day as it helps for the proper functioning of the digestive system. In addition, hay helps to grind and wear their teeth down keep them in good length and preventing tooth disorders. It is very important and vital a chin never goes without his hay. By rotating a variety of hays you will encourage your chin’s interest in consuming it while adds great value to his diet.

Good quality hay is fine-stemmed, sweet smelling, clean and dry, bright with a nice light green-brown color. Bad hay smells, looks moldy, musty, looks dullish brown and dead. Avoid hay that is dusty, dirty and damp. Hay should be free of thorns and other rubbish. There are hay products processed by machine-dried or fast-dried method, which will look greener than usual. It should be dry though. This method improves hay’s nutritional content. There is a range of chinchilla hay and forage like alfalfa, timothy, orchard grass, mountain grass, alpine, brome, the blue grasses and the common grass are the most satisfactory for feeding chinchillas.

Pressed cubes of hay are chopped and compressed hay. They typically come in alfalfa or timothy.  Both hay cubes and loose hay provide a chin with his necessary nutritional fibre. If you find and want to feed hay cubes, I suggest also feeding some loose hay as chinchillas seem to enjoy playing with it and also hay cube is difficult to be consumed by chins having dental problems. Another good for loose hay is that requires more grinding from the molars because it is not chopped like the compressed hay in hay cubes. Chinchilla hay cubes advantages is that are mess-free, they require far less space, chin cannot  spread it all over the cage and they are very practical if you are traveling with your chin. Chinchilla hay cubes also have less dust than loose hay, making them less of an allergy irritant. Loose hay also helps to prevent cage-boredom to chinchillas, as they love to play with long stalks and stems, pulling them from their hayracks and throwing them around the cage, making quite a mess.

Alfalfa hay or alfalfa chinchilla hay cubes should be given but they should not be fed exclusively. Too much alfalfa could lead to urinary and other problems, as it is high in protein, calcium, and oxalates. It is good for young chins and breeding chinchillas. Alfalfa should be fed as a treat only and not daily as a hay-replacement. Alfalfa should be introduced slowly to avoid squashy fecal droppings. Chinchillas that are sick, pregnant, underweight should be served alfalfa as primary hay.

What is Fibre?

Fibre is commonly described as indigestible parts of any feed. Fibre includes cellulose, hemicellulose, mucilage, pectin, gum, lignin, indigestible proteins and lipids. There are …