Today, chinchillas are becoming more and more popular as exotic pets. They are personable, gentle, and wonderfully funny.
A body like that of a mouse, with a fluffy squirrel tail. A face like that of a rabbit, but with round gramophone ears. Like a guinea pig, but a thousand times cuter.
Chinchillas are closely related to guinea pigs. However, chinchillas require more caring than guinea pigs, but there are a few mistakes many chinchilla owners make. Here is a list of 9 Common mistakes that should be avoided.
1. Not providing adequate exercise
A healthy chinchilla is an active chinchilla. It’s easy to look at this little animal and think that a cage slightly larger than that of a guinea pig should be more than adequate.
There’s room for a little house there, room for a yard or play area in front of the house, and maybe even a little shelf to the side.
What these owners forget is that, despite its small size, a chinchilla takes large steps. This little animal has muscles that allow it to jump six feet in the air.
Can you imagine being an acrobatic gymnast or a runner, locked in a small room so small that you can’t even take a full step? That is the situation you are putting your chinchilla in, so you shouldn’t be surprised if it becomes depressed and starts exhibiting neurotic behavior.
Make their cage as large as possible and be sure to regularly let your chinchilla out to a larger chinchilla-proof area for exercise.
2. Poor diet and too many treats
A chinchilla has a very delicate digestive system and very specific needs for fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins. These can best be resolved with chinchilla pellets made from timothy hay and alfalfa.
These little animals don’t eat much, which means that even giving them a little more of something that is not in their diet plan will ruin things considerably. What seems like just a small taste of a good thing to you is an overwhelming amount for your metabolic systems.
Any food that you give your chinchilla must be special for these animals, of high quality and fresh.
3. Inadequate preventive care
Once your chinchilla has become ill, you have an uphill row to plow. Fifty years after domestication, these little animals are not fully adapted to our modern world and when something goes wrong they have a very precarious control of life.
But following a few simple sanitation rules, proper diet, proper handling, and exercise will help your chinchilla live long and happy, with minimal vet visits.
4. Lack of attention or lack of mental stimulation
A chinchilla is not suited to a hermit’s life of peace and quiet meditation. Although these animals are shy and easily frightened, this does not mean that they should be ignored. To keep your animal healthy, both physically and mentally, you must interact with it on a daily basis.
If you have stopped interacting with your chinchilla due to antisocial behavior on its part, you need to rethink your own behavior. Antisocial behavior is essentially a cry for help from a confused, scared, and lost animal.
It means you need to spend more time focusing on and loving your pet chinchilla, not less.
If you don’t spend a lot of time with your chinchilla just because your schedule is so busy, think of ways to get creative and mix chinchillas into your daily schedule. If you have to read summaries or spend a regular chunk of your time composing emails, take it with you to the chinchilla-proof exercise room and let your little pet play by your side, alongside you, and while you work.
Take a moment to talk to it and let it know that you love it and that you are thinking of it every time it walks past the cage. Giving your chinchilla the time it needs is more about sharing life with it and allowing it to be a part of your day than scheduling large chinchilla-only time blocks.
5. Poorly Chinchilla proofing the exercise room
There are so many tragedies that stem from this mistake, often made by a first-time chinchilla owner. “I let him out to play,” they’ll say, “and then the phone rang, and I talked for about ten minutes, and when I got back to the chinchilla exercise room, he was behaving strangely. He died the next day. What happened?”
There are a thousand things that could have happened if the room was not adequately protected against chinchillas. He may have eaten something toxic: paint, wallpaper paste, rat poison.
He may have bitten a live wire and left with internal injuries. Something may have fallen on top of it and it has been crushed inside.
Once tragedy strikes, there is no turning back, so make sure you have a safe chinchilla-proof spot before you let your little animal out.
6. Not handling chinchilla kits
They are small and fragile things. Their mother is taking good care of them and she may start to act protective if she thinks you are going to interfere. In general, it seems better to leave the little ones quite alone, right?
This is where many first-time chinchilla breeders go wrong. Yes, the mother is taking good care of them, and you should let her. But you must get involved too, and you must hold and manipulate the little kits every day.
The mother may be protective, but if you reach over and gently picks up one of the kits, she will not interfere. The fact that you have ‘borrowed’ her baby and left her your scent will not harm her relationship with the little one or cause her to abandon him; she will be as loving as ever when you return her baby back.
If you leave the kits alone, they will grow wild and fearful of people.
If you make daily gentle interactions a priority, they will grow to know that people are their friends and that you are special.
7. Keeping the cage too warm
A chinchilla can only handle temperatures within a certain range. Even in temperate, comfortable climates, they use large amounts of energy to keep cool. Can you imagine having to go through life in the densest of fur coats?
Keep a thermometer in the cage and check it periodically to make sure the temperature is within the proper limits, between 55 ° F and 70 ° F (13 ° C and 22 ° C). Around 60 ° F (16 ° C) is preferable.
If it’s too hot, do something about it right away. Turn the air conditioning up a bit or, if it’s winter, turn the heat down. Move the cage to a cooler room. In an emergency, place ice blocks around the cage and use a fan.
8. Starting off too fast
Many new and excited owners make the mistake of starting too quickly and traumatizing their chinchilla. As soon as you get home, all they want to do is pick up their chinchilla, pet its soft fur, and watch it leap around the room like it’s the mountaineering display at the amusement park.
Then it’s time to put it back in, and they have no idea what to do. They start chasing, and the chinchilla starts running. The chinchilla will almost always be faster.
When they catch it four hours later, they have a severely traumatized chinchilla that firmly believes it lives in a predator den, and the chinchilla has an exhausted owner who feels that he should never, ever let that animal out of the cage. again.
Don’t put your chinchilla through it. Get to know your chinchilla little by little and earn their trust.
9. Scaring the chinchilla when catching it
Chinchillas are extremely fast and agile, and if you too race, you will lose. That’s that. Make sure that putting your chinchilla back in its cage is not dependent on speed. Be gentle, use measured movements, and use strategy rather than speed and haste.
Scaring him today will have consequences for tomorrow, the next day, and the many days hereafter.