Caring for Your Pet Chinchilla

Congratulations on your new pet! Chinchillas can make a wonderful friend. Not usually cuddly, but they are smart, energetic and attentive. If you're not sure if a chinchilla is the right pet for you, head here.

curious chinchillaIf you got the chinchilla from a pet store or larger breeder you are going to have to allow it to get used to you. Spend time around the cage so the chinchilla can get used to you. You have to build a gradual relationship with your pet chinchilla, so don't try to pick him up the first few days unless you have too.

Eventually the chinchilla will come to you. They are very curious animals. You can try giving your pet chinchilla a small treat each day so he may learn to trust you. You will then be able to pick up and handle your chinchilla.

If you've purchased your chinchilla from a breeder who has handled him regularly this process will probably go much quicker, but the animal will still be nervous about being in a new home. If this doesn't work you have an anxious chinchilla, so look for more information in chinchilla training.

The first night you may well hear the chinchilla "bark" (they don't have vocal chords, but they do make some meaningful sounds). This is just a sign that they're nervous. Some ranchers suggest playing soft music or leaving a television on for them to keep them relaxed, and it does serve to hide strange sounds that will surprise your new chinchilla.

If you have a new chinchilla sometimes it's helpful to have a book to refer to as well.

Not sure if a chinchilla is for you?

Head here if you need more information on training your chinchilla.

Don't have one yet? Here's what to look for in a pet chinchilla.

Here's some general information about chinchillas.

Find answers to your chinchilla questions.

What supplies do I need?

Run About Ball death trap!To get started you need a cage, water bottle (chew resistant), bedding (aspen, pine, or Carefresh), chinchilla pellets, hay, something to chew on, and possibly some treats.

Do NOT purchase the plastic exercise ball (this is a common mistake for the new chinchilla owner)! Putting a chinchilla in an mostly enclosed ball for any period of time will overheat and possibly kill them.

Later you may upgrade to a wheel (especially if your chinchilla doesn't get out of the cage very much). Check here for more information on particular supplies.

As chinchilla are rodents they need to chew constantly to keep their their filed. Make sure you give them a safe wood, like untreated pine.

The room temperature should never exceed the mid 70's, so an air conditioner may be essential depending on where you live in where the pet chinchilla is located in the house. No drafts or direct sunlight, either - they can be dangerous!

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