Q: Do chinchillas make good pets for children?
A: I typically do not suggest purchasing chinchillas for children under 10. These are pets that can live upwards of 20 years and purchasing so young, children don't seem to understand their needs and also lose interest. Some kids also seem to have issues with handling them under this age. Please know that if you decide to purchase one for a young child that you assume all responsibilities and accidents that may happen to a fragile animal.
Q: What is the average life span?
A: 15-20 years if taken care of properly and the animal is from healthy lines. They can live well over 20.
Q: Can a chinchilla eat fruits and vegetables?
A: Chinchillas should not consume fruits or vegetables of any kind, whether dried or fresh. You may not see the effects over a short period of time, but long term, you are shortening the life span of your pet. There are safer options out there to give your animal.
Q: How do I properly hold a chinchilla?
A: While it may look cruel, the safest way to handle a chinchilla is by holding it by the base of it's tail with your entire hand wrapped around it, and cradling the chin with your other hand underneath without squeezing. Chinchillas do not deglove their tail and it is the strongest part of their body. This is to keep you from pushing on their ribs when handling them. When your chinchilla becomes accustomed to you, you can back off on handling by the tail.
Q: Do chinchillas bite?
A: Yes, they can. Doesn't mean they all will. Just know that when you purchase a chinchilla, that you realize there is a risk no matter the temperament.
Q: I have to get rid of my chinchillas, do you purchase them?
A: No, I do not purchase pet chinchillas. I do take in surrenders to help find them homes, but there is a $25/chin charge to help cover costs while they are here. There is no force to surrender any animal to me, but I do give the option.
FAQ & Safe Products
These are great and easily customizable. We prefer that the plastic pans are either replaced with metal pans (can be purchased at bassequipment.com) or covered with fleece liners. These cages can be added onto for up to 7 ft in height. 2-3 chinchillas can easily live in each section and this large cage is not required for one chinchilla. The ferret nation has thicker bars and will last longer than the critter nation.
Ferret / Critter Nation Cages
Quality cage makes fantastic versatile and collapsible cages that have wooden ledges and are great for chins to chew on. Nothing has to be replaced in these cages and they're great as is. The current owners are also great to deal with. Tell them Tiffany sent you.
Quality Cage Chinchilla Mansion
This is a cage that isn't spoken about often in the chinchilla community due to the Ferret and Critter Nation cages having a higher popularity, but it is ready to go once you get it without any replacements! I prefer using it without the ramps, but the ledges are all metal, and there is exterior plexiglass to help keep shavings and poops inside. It comes in 3 different levels, 1 2 and 3.
Exotic Nutrition 4 Level Mansion
Prevue Pet Ferret / Rat / Chinchilla Cage
This cage is lower in quality compared to the others above listed here, but is a ready to go cage. It just won't last long term as urine easily ruins the metal as it's not powder coated as well as the others. Includes metal ledges and a pull out tray that isn't touched by the animals and is very easy to clean. The wire bottom is safe for chinchillas.
If I had to suggest any wheel, I would go for the chin spin. It's easy for them to use, has the perfect size and is made to last. The bearings are sold by the company and are also easy to replace. They offer these in many different colors.
This wheel is a little smaller than I prefer, but if you have a smaller chinchilla, they're a good deal and come in different colors.
Chin Spin from Quality Cage
Pine shavings have been used for decades by ranchers as one of the cleanest means of taking care of your chins. Even though some don't like the idea of pine, it is totally safe as it is kiln dried and has no toxic phenols such as cedar does (please do not use cedar). They're cheap and reliable as long as you find a good source of them. Tractor Supply carries both flake and fine at a reasonable price and these are also easy to pick up at a pet store in bulk or even at your local Walmart.
Brytin Silver Surfer Wheel
Fleece is the only safe fabric that should be in your chinchilla cage. Fleece can be used for accessories or as a liner on the bottom of your cage for the chinchilla to urinate and defecate on. The liner can be shaken out and washed in the washing machine and changed out regularly throughout the week without the mess of shavings. These are great to use over plastic pans such as in the Ferret Nation cage. I do custom make and sell fleece for chinchilla cages.
Fleece Cage Liners
Aspen is a little more expensive than pine is but it is a bit finer and has a different texture. If you're not comfortable with using pine, try aspen. It can be found at your local pet store or farm and feed supply store in small bags or in bulk.
Another safe product that can be found in some pet stores or farm and feed stores. It can be purchased in 25 lb bags.
A product that can easily be found at pet stores. If you plan to use a pet store feed, this is one that I would suggest. It can be purchased in bulk online. It is more expensive than most feeds. You must get the red bag only, DO NOT get the garden select in the green bag from Oxbow.
Mazuri Chinchilla Diet
Oxbow Essentials Chinchilla (Red)
This is the feed that we use for our chinchillas. I sell it for $1.25/lb in my store or it can be purchased from Tractor Supply or Chewy in 25 or 50 lb bags.
Blue Seal Show Hutch Deluxe 17 Rabbit Food (We Use This)
These come in two different styles, one that attaches on a cage by a bar and wingnut, and then the ones that hook onto the cage as shown above. They can be found in the bird section of pet stores or purchased online. They're easy to clean.
These can be found cheap at the local dollar store, but they will need to be cleaned more often as chins decide to urinate in them and they will sit on them as well. They're just an easy option.
These are made with a sifter and without, you add the feed to the top of them. These can hook inside of the cage or a hole can be cut through the cage to stick it through. These typically prevent urinating in the feed and you don't have to feed as often as they hold a ton of feed.
Metal Food Crock
Ceramic Food Bowl / Crock
J Feeder / Food Trough