Safe Wood for Chinchillas
One of the surprising things we learned was that not all wood is safe for chinchillas. And since chinchillas constantly chew on wood, it is important that only safe varieties be used in and around their cages.
We've found that apple wood is the easiest to get because of the many apple orchards in our area. We simply take a trip to an orchard, ask the owner if we can pick up wood that has fallen to the ground, and buy a pie on the way out. A good deal all around!
One suggestion that we've yet to actually try is “cooking” the wood for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. The idea is to heat the wood to a temperature that kills micro-organisms, but doesn't actually burn it. Also, we've seen recommendations that the wood be washed in salt water. We're still looking in to what benefit that would have.
The following is a list of safe and unsafe woods. We've used apple, aspen, kiln-dried pine, and pine cones with no ill effects to our chinchillas.
Safe to Use
- Apple (particularly good as chew toys)
- Aspen (shavings good for bedding too)
- Pine (kiln dried is good, air dried isn't)
Not Safe to Use
- Fresh pine branches
- Cherry Mahogany
- Oak (based on it being unsafe for horses)
Not Sure if Safe
- Birch (white, grey, broadleaf, silver, and common birch might be OK)
- Ash (seeds produce hydrogen cyanide so why risk it?)
- Juniper (in small amounts might be OK)
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