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Chinchillas
What is it?
Chinchillas As Pets
Housing Chinchillas
Feeding Chinchillas
Bathing Chinchillas
Playing With Chinchillas
Colors of Chinchillas
Pregnancy & Babies


What is a Chinchilla?

Chinchillas are a type of rodent. They are originally from the Andes Mountains in South America. They grow to be the size of a small rabbit. (about 9 inches from head to bottom) Chinchillas have beautiful thick, soft coats, and were originally bred for their fur.
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Chinchillas as Pets

Chinchillas make great indoor pets because they are odorless and their fur is so dense that they can not get pests such as fleas. Chinchillas also have no dander so people who are allergic to other pets can usually tolerate chinchillas without problems. All of our baby chinchillas (called kits) are handled and played with so that they will be friendly pets. They are very social animals, so if you only have one you will become its family.
Here is a video of a chinchilla being petted

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Housing

They are housed much the same as a ferret would be, in a wire cage. Shelves are a must since they love to jump and climb. There are two basic floor choices: wire bottom and floor pan. If you choose a wire bottom then the spaces in the wire must be no larger than 1/2"x 1/2". I prefer to have the cage sit right on top of a floor pan full of pine shavings. The shavings make a nice floor for the chinchillas. They love to dig around in it and it is warmer for the babies. Kiln dried Pine shavings are best and can be found in pet stores. Cedar should NOT be used.
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Feeding

Chinchillas require fresh water daily which is best given in a glass bottle attached to the side of the cage. Plastic bottles will most likely be chewed on and destroyed. They need chinchilla pellets and hay daily. Timothy or Alfalfa can be used and are available loose or in cubes from most pet stores. Food should only be changes slowly so be sure to get a bag of food with your new chinchilla to avoid a sudden food switch.
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Bathing

Chinchillas have a lot of lanolin in their fur. In the wild they take dust baths in the volcanic ash. As pets we need to give them a dust bath at least 3 times a week. You can buy chinchilla dust at most pet stores. It is poured into a container and placed inside the cage for about 15 minutes. The chinchillas will dive right in rolling and bathing in the dust!
Here is a video of a chinchilla taking a Dust Bath

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Playing

Chinchillas, like most animals, love to climb and play. Shelves and wheels can be added to the inside if the cage. Chinchilla wheels are best if they are a solid circle that attaches to the side of the cage. Chinchillas have been known to break a leg or a tail getting caught between the spoke of the wheel and the wire stand that connects to the center of the wheel. The two pieces cross when the wheel is spinning causing a "sissor" action. If you buy one of these wheels hang it upside down from the roof of the cage rather than letting it stand as it was intended. This way the sissor action happens at the top away from where the chinchilla will be entering it.
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Colors

Most chinchillas in the world are gray. This is what you find in most pet stores. However they also come in other colors known as mutations. We are breeding quite a few mutation colors at the moment. Some colors are more common than others so prices of the chinchillas will vary.
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Babies

Chinchillas are pregnant for 111 days and usually have two kits. The largest recorded litter to date is 8 kits. The kits are born with their eyes open and fully haired. We leave the kits with their mother for at least 7 weeks. During that time we hold them for short periods to get them ready for a human companion.
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