All About Your New Pet - Chinchilla!

All About Your New Pet - Chinchilla!

Written By: text_none_author Published In: Other-Blog Created Date: 2016-07-05 Hits: 896 Comment: 0

Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents, slightly larger and more robust than ground squirrels. They are native to the Andes mountains and live in colonies called "herds" at high elevations up to 4,270 m (14,000 ft). Chinchillas are popular pets, but require much care. They require a lot of responsibility and should only be purchased by experienced pet owners who are aware of the special care they require. They need extensive exercise and dental care, due to their teeth continually growing all throughout their life span, and since they lack the ability to sweat, temperatures need to be carefully controlled. They should be kept in an environment of 60–70 degrees ºF.

Behavioral Traits: It is very important to understand your chinchilla behavior characteristics. Chinchillas personalities are unique from its other just like we people are. The number one rule between you and your chinchilla is never try to rush being friends. Take time to understand and appreciate your chin for the wonderfully unique individual that he/she is. Do not expect a high level of control over your chinchilla’s behavior. They are extremely intelligent, complex, independent and inquisitive animals, and if you want a positive relationship with your chin, you will need to dedicate time and patience to understanding him and developing a rapport. Chinchillas can tell the difference between human males and females!
It is very typical for chins to be reluctant or suspicious of change or of something that is new or unfamiliar. This may be a change in diet, a new cage accessory, a bonding approach, etc. This means that a chin’s initial reaction, whether for positive or negative, should not be assumed to be his final opinion.
Chinchillas can spread their whiskers and also the hairs on their tail when exploring, frightened or nervous. When chins run, they usually hold their tail down, and this is most probably a defensive tactic, which they would use in the wild to keep their tail from injury or from being noticed and seized by predators. Chinchillas tail is also used for balance when they jump and also when they try to stand on something very thin like a branch.

Lifespan: Chinchillas have an exceptionally long lifespan for rodents, making them an appealing pet choice for people looking for long-term companions. They typically live for 8 to 10 years; however, in captivity, chinchillas often live 15 to 20 years. To maximize a pet chinchilla's lifespan, proper care is essential.

Size and weight: Chinchillas are typically 9 to 15 inches (23 to 38 centimeters) long, but the tail can add another 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) to their length. They generally weigh 1.1 to 1.8 lbs. (0.5 to 0.8 kilograms).

Physical traits: Chinchillas are related to guinea pigs and porcupines. With short forelimbs and long, muscular hind legs, chinchillas resemble rabbits, but their ears are much shorter and rounder. They have large, black eyes and bushy tails. They have four toes on each foot, and the thin claws on each toe are surrounded by stiff bristles.

Diet: Ensure your chinchilla has a healthy diet. Chinchillas need:

1. Constant access to clean drinking water from a drinking bottle, checked twice daily. Without water chinchillas can become seriously ill.

2. Good quality hay which should make up the majority of their diet and should be available at all times. A hay rack is a good way of offering hay.
- Chinchillas' digestive systems need hay and grass to function properly. Chinchillas naturally eat grasses, leaves and twigs. 
- Chinchillas' teeth grow continuously throughout their life needing wearing down and keeping at the correct length /shape by eating grass /hay /grass-based chinchilla pellets. Not eating the right diet can result in serious dental disease.

3. To be offered a small amount (1-2 tablespoons per chinchilla) of grass-based chinchilla pellets daily in addition to hay. They eat by sitting on their hind legs and holding the food in their front paws. Chinchillas naturally eat for long periods of time, mainly during the night.

4. Root vegetables like carrots, leafy greens/dried fruit/grains only in small amounts (one teaspoon/day) as treats. Avoid nuts and seeds as these are high in fat. If they eat too much of the wrong food, e.g. grains/fruit/sweet treats, they can become overweight, or get ill, and suffer. If the correct diet is always available, chinchillas generally keep themselves at the right weight.

5. To avoid sudden changes in diet as this could upset their digestive system and make them very ill.

6. Checking that that they’re eating every day and they’re passing plenty of dry droppings. Monitor the amount and types of food your chinchilla eats, and how much they drink. If your chinchilla’s eating or drinking habits change, the number or size of droppings gets smaller or they stop, talk to your vet straight away as they could be seriously ill. How much a chinchilla needs to eat depends on their age, lifestyle and state of health. Chinchillas produce two kinds of droppings – hard dry pellets, and softer moist pellets that they eat directly from their bottom and which are an essential part of their diet.

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