Caring for your chinchilla includes choosing a place for it to live. There are two options for housing these fluffy creatures – a large chinchilla cage or a special room in your house.
The living space is a key component in chinchilla`s environment that strongly influences its well-being. The best chinchilla cage is one that offers stress-free and hygienic atmosphere. The proper enclosure should be large enough to enable the pet to run around.
Some people prefer cheap chinchilla cages, others insist on buying deluxe cages. Every chinchilla parent wants to provide the best environment for his adorable animal. It is proven that chinchillas need to be housed in a place designed specifically for this type of small rodents. The special housing has to be safe and spacious. These rodents need many hours for running and jumping. Chinchillas may become depressed if they live in a small lodging.
Chinchilla Cage Comparison Chart
Cage Dimensions: The Larger the Cage is, the Happier is the Chinchilla
Chinchillas need a cage measuring at least 24″ x 14″ x 16″. For a chinchilla family – opt for bigger cage size – 30″ x 18″ x 24″. The most comfortable design features dimensions of 36″ x 30″ x 60″.
The pet is an active climber so consider at least two levels of the house, two ramps and 2 balconies. Larger chinchilla cages are equipped with three floors.
The wire mesh should have spaces up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) especially if one of the pets is pregnant. Baby chinchillas could squeeze even through small cage bar spacing.
Chinchilla Housing: Materials
A galvanized wire mesh cage is a good choice since it allows the fresh air to flow and to prevent the pet of overheating. The metal house offers a well-ventilated atmosphere. Sometimes in a hot summer days the chinchilla clenches the metal fencing with a teeth in order to find a cooler place to stay.
The best chinchilla cages are equipped with a durable plastic tray. There are several options including drop-in or pull-out pan which makes cleaning easier.
If you opt for another material for the chinchilla ho, your smart pet could chew it and escape.
Wire Flooring or Solid Bottom Pet Cage?
There are two types of floors available – wire-mesh or solid-bottom. The wire floor is preventing the transmission of disease because excrement easily goes through to the bottom rack. It is easy to clean this floor, and to control the exposure of the animal to urine and dirty bedding. Doctors specialized in disorders caused by toxins claim that this enclosure reduces pet parent allergies.
However, many veterinarians claim that solid bottom with bedding is better for a chinchilla rodent and the wire floor is inappropriate for it. They think that wire-bottom caging may cause pathological changes such as limb lesions. In fact, bedding should be part of the chinchilla environment, but pet owners can use it either in wire flooring and solid bottom options.
It is important to know that the non-toxic plastic floor can be easily damaged by chemicals and chewing so it have to be replaced every 3 years. Other specific of the cage with a plastic base is that owners have to change the bedding of the open-ended lodge at least once a day.
Experienced owners affirm that their exotic pets are successfully housed in wire chinchilla cages. You just have to ensure that the mesh does not have sharp edges. Place enough bedding and shavings to cover the pull out plastic tray at the bottom of the cage. Take into account that high bedding volume and frequent changes reflect positively your chinchilla well-being. As a conclusion, the ultimate indicator of whether or not enclosure is appropriate is the way your chinchilla feels and looks.
Pet Cage Monitoring
The chinchilla living areas must be checked everyday. Ensure that the cage conditions are good: doors have to be closed; food container and water bottle have to be full; surfaces have to be clean. Make certain that the light, noise and temperature levels are adequate for the nocturnal animal. A major consideration is the provision of opportunities to rest and socialize and interact with the whole family.
The chinchilla owner have to monitoring the pet`s health status. You can distinguish signs of disease when there are significant changes in chinchilla behavior. A sign of disorder is any reduction of food or water intake, in excrement.
Cage floor covering serves to absorb moisture from excrement and provide natural environment. The material should be dry, absorbent, low dust content and non-toxic. The aromatic softwood is not recommendable.
The perfect bedding for a small pet cage is consisting of wood particle such as sawdust, hardwood chip of oak or ground corncob. Some people use shredded paper. The fibrous particles have to be changed as soon as any wet is noticed.
The cage is the place where your cute pet is exercising, climbing and rolling-over. Since the chinchilla`s teeth do not stop to grow, do your best to provide your pet with wooden nontoxic toys. You chinchilla will be happy to play with wooden shapes and nutty stick balls.
Place a wooden or paper box for your pet to sleep, hide or have a nap in the its cage. The chinchilla is a nocturnal animal so it needs a quiet place during the day. Consider also a feed dish, a water bottle and pumice chews.
Where to Place the Cage?
Keep the chinchilla cages out of direct sunlight, heat, humidity or wind. It is a good idea to cover a part or the house during the day to make your pet feel even more comfortable.
Vets claim that during the day the cage should be placed in a quiet corner of the house. That will help them spend their time sleeping. Some pet owners do the opposite – they try to communicate with chinchillas all the time. Although chinchillas are nocturnal creatures, they require a great deal of attention. If your rodent is curious and needs affection, it will allow you to hold it. You can even provide chinchillas with wood sticks or cardboard to keep them busy.
As an owner you have to protect the pet from a lot of noise during the day but do not ignore it. Speak to your chinch in a soft voice and try to approach it for a scratch.
Rearranging Pet House Guidelines
Changes in the environment of chinchilla enclosure have important effect on their well-being and behavior. The intent of introducing new decoration and accessories is to keep rodent fit and happy. Housing enrichment, although an important part of pet care, can be stressful for chinchilla. The ways your pet respond to environmental change will help you determine how frequent to put new items in rodent house. Sometimes animals need a stress recovery period to new surroundings.
Chinchillas need a wide range of accessories that allow climbing, nesting, hiding, and exploration. Ramps, running wheels and hammocks are great for exercising. Boxes may contain treats and food. A good idea is to place rolls made out of grass, cardboard or wood in the cage. Your pet can easily rearrange them and construct a labyrinth.
In most cases, objects have to be replaced with new ones on a regular basis to provide an engaging environment. As we have already mentioned in our special article on chinchilla toys, the activity wheel provides great opportunity for play and exploration. Although this toy looks funny, not every rodent voluntarily runs on a spinner. Some do it if they get a food reward. Many small animals are not confident to spin on a high performance wheel. For example, we bought a wheel for a 6 years old male chinchilla Chippi. Several weeks after we had placed the toy in the cage he still hadn’t used it. Our pet obviously did not like to run in circles. Instead, he uses the wheel to swing. We were delighted to watch him explore the novel item. The pet put only his front legs on the spinner. It may take several months to begin using it, so we decided to leave the activity wheel inside in case Chippi becomes interested. We will update the article if he learns to get running within the exercising wheel. In cases like that, it is better not to force exotic pet since getting used to new furniture can lead to stress.
This was an example of how cage changes and housing supplementation may reflect the chinchilla behavior. Although housing density is important, each particular animal reacts differently to exposure to new accessories. Let the chinchilla settle in for a few days and gradually introduce different items.
Feeding and Watering Accessories
The water bottle with a flip top cap is perfect for a small pet such as a chinchilla. You can attach it anywhere on the wire mesh. This waterer with a ball tip features dripping control. This is very important for the proper chinchilla care since this small animal does not like to get wet. One of the best sellers is Lixit Corporation DW-44 No Drip Dog Top-Fill Water Bottle. It is suitable even for carriers.
The food bin feeder is definitely in the list of the useful chinchilla cage accessories. It is a great way to offer loose hay. This accessory also keeps the house clean and organized. Good examples of feeders are Kaytee Hay-N-Food Bin Feeder with Quick Locks and Super Pet Rabbit Hay Buffet Feeder with Snap-Lock. These accessories dispense dry grass without the food being wasted. That way your chinchilla pet will eat only fresh not wet, damp or soiled food.There is a variation of the breeder named Rolling hay holder. It can be fixed in the cage or used as rolling toy.
Cage Accessories Ideas
Tunnels, funny small houses and hammocks are great activity centers. They promote nesting, exploring and natural chewing instincts. These accessories are made out of renewable, non-toxic materials, natural wood or woven grass. Some of the best sellers are Ware Hand Woven Willow Twig Tunnel Small Pet Hideout, Woodland Getaway, Kaytee chinchilla hut hideout, and Prevue Hendryx Nature’s Hideaway Grass Hut Toy. The construction is safe. It is usually made without using screws or glue.
Chewing balls or sticks are perfect toys for your pet`s playtime. They offer healthy activity for your cute animal. Another option is to provide your furry friend with a marble slab such as Kaytee Chinchilla Chiller Granite Stone. It keeps the pet cool in warm weather. This stone could be placed on the floor or on the shelves. Your chinchilla will love to sit on it especially in the summer.
Lava Ledge is among the specific cage accessories. It serves as step, place for resting or jumping.
Cleaning the Cage
The cage floor is often covered with wood shavings. The cage tray has to be cleaned 3 times a week and even more often in the summer in order to get rid of the smell. The odor comes not from your pet but from the part of the cage where the chinchilla pees. The used cages should be washed with warm water and then carefully dried every 2 months.
The prices of chinchilla cages vary from 50 US dollars to 270 US dollars depending on dimensions, materials and plastic trays.
Special Room for your Chinchilla
Some pet owners have a special room for their pets. There the chinchillas not only exercise and play, but stay all the day. Actually, it is not recommendable. Your pet can chew on the electrical cables and injure itself when it isn’t supervised.
Reviews of the 4 Best Chinchilla Cages
A perfect example of spacious and comfortable cage for one chinchilla or for a chinchilla family is Midwest Critter Nation Single Unit with Stand produced by the Midwest Homes for Pets. The wire living room has impressive dimensions: 36″L x 24″W x 39″H.
The Midwest Critter Nation Single unit with Stand (see our review) is suitable not only for chinchilla pets but for ferrets, guinea pigs, degus, hamsters, gerbils and rats. The cage is designed after years of exploring the everyday life of small exotic pets. This pet housing is created to meet the chinchilla pet needs and easy maintenance requirements of the pet parents. The roomy chinchilla house offers enough space to place supplies, accessories and toys.
Here are the main features of this elegantly designed pet house:
- One level with large adaptable plastic shelves,
- Wire construction finished in Gray quartz Hammertone spray paint,
- Two full open doors with safety locking latches,
- Solid wire ramp,
- Removable plastic pan floor for the bedding.
See more about the Midwest Critter Nation Single Unit with Stand on Amazon.com.
The exclusive 2-levels variation of Critter Nation`s cage is available in even larger dimensions: 36″ L X 24″ W X 63″ H. The wire spacing is 1/2″. The Midwest Critter Nation Animal Habitat with Stand, Double Unit is finished in elegant Platinum Gray Hammertone hue that is suitable for almost any home design. This large pet cage is fitted with locking wheels which makes it stable, safe and mobile. Pet owners are can use a special bottom storage shelf.
There are wire ramps between levels which allow the energetic chinchilla climbers to run from the bottom to the upper balcony. Owners can change the height of the shelves. One of the ramp could be placed in a way that does not allow access between levels. So, the chinchilla parents can easily separate pets in different compartments. The access doors enable the easy feeding and cleaning.
See more about the Midwest Critter Nation Animal Habitat with Stand Double Unit on Amazon.com.
This small pet cage is suitable for an adult chinchilla, ferret, and a rat. It is a bestseller on Amazon.com thanks to its impressive characteristics. The chinchilla cage combines perfect size, elegant style in gray finish and affordable price. The Prevue Hendryx 485 Pet Products Feisty Ferret Home is made out of durable and non-toxic material, provides lots of space and last but not least it is easy portable.
This metal chinchilla cage features 3 floors and 3 stands which offer enough room for a rodent pet to play and hide. There are two secured large doors with safety locks. The hinged front openings ensure easy cleaning. The plastic bottom tray can be easily removed. The cage is fitted with a space-saving platform than can store supplies, food container, litter tray or pet toys.
The Prevue Pet Products Feisty Ferret Home is 31 in. long, 20 in. wide and 54 in. high. The wire spacing is 7/8 in. which makes it perfect for a chinchilla, rat and ferret. It is designed ideally for small pets that need space to climb and run. The cage is not suitable for sugar gliders because the bar spacing is very wide. To complete the cage furniture the manufacturers added a hammock.
Prevue Hendryx manufacturer has been a leader in pet supplies for almost 150 years.
See more about the Prevue Hendryx 485 Pet Products Feisty Ferret Home with Stand, Black Hammertone on Amazon.com.
This cage is designed for agile small pets such as chinchillas, rats and ferrets. The metal body features good size for a single rodent pet. Chinchilla`s cage dimensions are 31×20.5×40 inch with small wire spacing of 3/8-inch. It is comfortable not only for the animal but for the pet’s parents. The wheels can roll really smooth. It is easy to move the Prevue Pet Products Rat and Chinchilla Cage when you let the pet to exercise outside or when you need to change the bedding.
The large door is sizing 13-inch by 13-inch. It allows you to reach and clean easily any corner. Inside, there are solid metal ramps and platforms, a pull-out bottom tray and a space-saving shelf. An important safety feature is wind-bell locking mechanism. The pet house is finished in elegant Earthtone Dusted Rose hammertone. This neutral tone will fit almost any home interior.
See more about the Prevue Pet Products Rat and Chinchilla Cage on Amazon.com.