Introduction to the Pet Chinchilla
By Paul Spooner

Becoming more and more popular as a pet, the chinchilla,
with its timid and gentle nature, big black eyes, large round
ears, long whiskers, long bushy tail and the finest and
densest fur of any animal in the World is often described as
the nearest thing to a real life cuddly toy. Chinchillas make
ideal pets, they are very clean, rarely bite unless frightened
and with a little effort and patience are easy to tame. They
are also hardy and quite simple to care for provided a few
basic rules are followed, the most important of which is
correct diet. In the wild chinchillas are ground dwelling
animals living in crevices in rocks and belong to the group
of animals known as ‘rock hoppers’.

They are nocturnal by nature dozing during the day and
becoming more active and feeding in the evenings, being
nocturnal makes them quite a good pet for someone who is
out at school or work during the day as they enjoy the
peace and quiet during the day to doze and enjoy their
exercise period in the evenings. Being nocturnal they can
be quite active and noisy during the night so may not be
the ideal pet for the bedroom!

The best location for their cage would be a cooler part of
the house away from direct sunshine and radiators.

The chinchilla has the finest fur of any animal in the World,
isn’t it strange it should be closely related to the porcupine!

How is the chinchillas fur different from other animal?
Animal hair grows from tiny follicles (holes) in the skin, each
follicle usually growing one hair, but with chinchillas, they
have approximately the same number of follicles, but each
hair splits into 50-90 hairs giving the chinchilla its beautiful,
fine silky, dense fur and because the fur is so fine and
dense no parasites (fleas or lice) can live in it.

Responsibilities attached to chinchilla ownership;

Fresh pellets( not a mix!), hay and water need to be
supplied daily

A daily dustbath is essential to keep their fur in good

Chinchillas are very intelligent and inquisitive, they get
attached to their owners so you should be prepared to
spend a little time with them every day.

They are very clean animals with little odour but need to be
cleaned out regularly.

Chinchillas are rodents with continuously growing teeth, it is
in their nature to spend much of their time gnawing, a
continuous supply of correct materials should be supplied
for this purpose.

Treats and titbits should be fed sparingly, their digestive
system has evolved to deal with a very basic diet, rich
foods can cause problems.

Chinchillas enjoy raisins and if used in moderation, two or
three a day, do not seem to cause any problems.

Another unusual factor with chinchillas is their long life
span, the average being ten to twelve years the
documented record being twenty two years.

For further information visit our website at

Paul Spooner Chinchillas, Cages & Accessories

Paul Spooner has been a breeder and judge of chinchillas
for almost 20 years

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