A Guide for Chinchilla Pet Owners
This section is dedicated to all things chinchilla (formerly this content lived on a separate site called Chinchilla Planet). To help new chinchilla owners, we've identified certain posts below in a certain order we think makes sense. For those of you familiar with blogs, you'll notice that with the exception of his homepage, the rest of the site works like a traditional blog. Of course you can also browse the categories on the right or use the site's search facility. Feel free to submit comments at the bottom of any page. We'll do our best to answer your questions.
Things to Consider
Although not critical to their care, check out the history of chinchillas. Then start learning about chinchillas with our article on chinchilla basics which will give you a good overview about chinchillas. If you're not sure whether a chinchilla is right for you, think about the reasons of why to have a chinchilla along with why not to have a chinchilla as a pet that we've identified.
Still want a chinchilla? Great! You'll want to start thinking about the kind of chinchilla cage you'll want to buy or build. Also evaluate your house and make sure that you can provide the ideal environment for chinchillas. If you'll be getting more than one chinchilla from different locations, be sure to prepare ahead of time by reading about our experiences with introducing chinchillas.
For supplies, check your local pet store to make sure you have a ready source for the appropriate chinchilla food, bedding, and dustbath. If not, you may want to look into web-based stores, but be prepared to incur shipping charges.
When you have all the necessary items and are ready to have a chinchilla, consider the color you might want. Keep in mind that the rarer the color, the more expensive the chinchilla.
After Your Chinchilla Arrives
Once you have your chinchillas, you'll want to observe their behavior so that you get a feel for what is normal and what isn't. In particular, pay attention to the sounds chinchillas make and associate them with what is going on in their environment. And once you are comfortable with your new pets and they're comfortable with your presence, work slowly to build their trust so that you can handle them.
You should make yourself aware of various health issues so that you can be on the look out. Chinchillas are generally healthy animals, but they can sometimes have problems with their eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. They may also suffer from digestive problems and heatstroke. Once you know the signs of heatstroke, familiarize yourself with some emergency cooling techniques that we've used in the past.
Also in the category of planning ahead is knowing how to care for your chinchillas when you're away. Don't wait until the last minute to discover that you've forgotten something.