If you are looking for a pet beyond the ubiquitous dogs and cats, you can consider bringing home a chinchillas. These cute furry animals, natives of the Andes Mountains, could make great pets only if you understand and respect their natural habits.
Is the chinchilla right for me?
Chinchillas are not like the dogs and cats of your home, who would give you company when you are awake and will fall asleep when you go to bed. They are crepuscular creatures that are most active at dusk or dawn. If you are prepared to adapt to the crepuscular nature of these animals, only then bring a pet chinchilla home. If you are looking for a pet that you can hold and cuddle, chinchillas could not be your ideal pet. Although, these animals crave for attention but they detest cuddling. These animals tend to chew nearly everything, including woods, furniture and wires. If you are willing to bear the rise in your home maintenance cost, you can bring a chinchilla home.
Caring for chinchilla
These small animals can fit into any home. You can build a cage for your pet, but remember to allow your pet to spend some time outside the cage. The cage should be large enough for the animal. The bedding should be made of natural materials that are chewable and digestible, and free from toxins and dust. Remove the animal wastes from the cage everyday. At least once a week rinse the cage thoroughly, disinfect it and change the bedding. Chinchillas could not survive in hot conditions. The temperature of its home should not be more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Specially formulated pellets are available for chinchillas in the pet supplies stores. You can feed your pet seed mix fortified with vitamins and minerals. Hay cubes are another popular chinchilla food. You can occasional feed you pet small slices of fresh fruits such as apples, grapes and bananas, dry olive leaves, dandelion flowers and leaves, peanuts and wheat germs. Give you animal a water bottle and change the water everyday.
Chinchillas are usually healthy animals. However, they develop digestion problems such as diarrhea and constipation. Feeding the animal shredded wheat could cure diarrhea. Raisins can help to cure constipation. Chinchillas can also contract nose, eyes, ears and mouth infections. If you see signs of any illness, immediately take your pet to a veterinarian. With proper care, your pet can live up to 20 years.