If you’ve fallen down the chinchilla rabbit hole then you’ve probably seen some pretty awesome chinchilla cages. And if you’re just barely dipping your toes into the chinchilla world, then let us help send you down the right path.
A cage is where a chinchilla spends the majority of their time and it has a huge impact on their health and happiness.
Chinchillas aren’t as popular as hamsters or guinea pigs, so you don’t see their setup as often. If you’re getting a chinchilla, you might be the first person you know to do so!
So let’s run through some common questions and then touch on some of the mistakes people make when setting up their chinchilla cage.
How Big Should Chinchilla Cages Be?
Before you can get into the fun details of setting up your chinchilla cage you need to make sure you have enough space to set everything up and for your pet to live comfortably.
Chinchillas love large multi-level cages. This is because if given the opportunity they will jump and climb all over! So when you’re thinking about your cage and setup - think vertical.
A good size cage for a single chinchilla is 4' x 4' x 3' but the bigger the better! This may surprise you if you’ve only seen chinchillas in a pet store.
Chinchilla cages being sold in a pet store are almost always way too small. 3’ x 2’ x 2’ is the absolute smallest you could use for a single chinchilla.
If you are housing a pair or trio of chinchillas you are going to want something even bigger. This answers our next question!
Can Two Chinchillas Live In The Same Cage?
Chinchillas are very social and they love to live with other chinchillas.
You do need to make sure you’re only introducing new chinchillas with lots of supervision as fights can break out. Gradual introductions are best, consider having your chinchillas in two adjacent chinchilla cages for the first few weeks.
However, it’s much easier to have chinchillas living together when they’re put together from the start when they’re young.
So if you think you want to have more than one chinchilla, start with all of them together rather than having one chinchilla and later adding another one. It could save you some headaches!
How Much Time Should My Chinchilla Spend In Their Cage?
Chinchillas are very sensitive to a change in routine. In order to keep their stress levels low, you should stick to a consistent daily routine.
They love to have time out of their cage but in supervised sessions and even better if it’s around the same time every day.
Many chinchillas will enjoy 2-4 hours out of their cage a day as long as you’re supervising their exploration. They need to be in a chinchilla-proof place where they will stay safe.
This can be hard to do for long periods of time which is why chinchilla cages are so important!
What Do You Need In The Cage?
Now we’re getting to the fun part! What is your chinchilla going to do all day? That depends on what you have for them to do.
So let’s talk about the things they love and how to make them feel right at home with a stress-free life.
Having hay available for your chinchilla 24/7 is crucial. They need the constant flow of fiber through their system and a regular source for chewing their teeth down .
Platforms going all the way up! Platforms and ledges in chinchilla cages encourage them to jump and stay active.
Just make sure all of the platforms are made from safe untreated wood because chinchillas love to chew! Treated wood will expose your chinchilla to toxic chemicals.
All chinchilla cages need hideouts. Chinchillas need a safe place to rest and a familiar place to go when they are feeling stressed.
Chinchillas are prey animals so any loud noise or strange person could make them look for a place to hide. Even if it’s just some loud cousins coming into your house!
Exercise Wheels For Chinchilla Cages
Exercise wheels are great for exercise and preventing boredom but make sure you have a wheel specifically made for chinchillas. You’re looking for something around 15’’ in diameter.
Wheels made for smaller animals can cause injury to a chinchilla. They will force the chin to run with too much arch in their back.
Toys and Chews
Chinchillas are so curious! They need lots of things to chew on, tug on, and rearrange.
It’s just important that all of the toys put in chinchilla cages are natural and safe for all of the chewing that will inevitably happen.
The best toys are the ones made from hay and other materials that chinchillas love to taste. Chinchillas in the wild are motivated by food and they forage all day! So having toys that encourage foraging behaviors is so important.
Chinchillas love apple wood sticks, hay balls, and chew rings. There are a lot of new tastes and textures you can add to chinchilla cages to get them excited.
You may have heard that chinchillas love dust baths. A chinchilla’s fur is silky soft and it stays that way with dust!
Dust baths actually aren't a permanent part of chinchilla cages. A dust bath should only be made available to your chinchilla a few times a week. This keeps their natural oils evenly distributed on their skin.
Mistakes People Make When Buying Chinchilla Cages
While you're working through your shopping list, watch out for these mistakes we see too often!
Don’t Use Cedar Or Pine Shavings For Bedding
These are perfect for a litter box as they’ll absorb urine well and keep your chinchilla’s cage smelling fresh.
Don’t Leave Wire Flooring Exposed
Keep a solid ground for your chinchilla to reduce the risk of foot trauma and injury with wire flooring. This could cause a condition called pododermatitis or sore hocks.
Chinchillas have sensitive feet so take some pressure off with wood, plexiglass, or other flooring for chinchilla cages that’s easy to clean.
Don’t Use Galvanized Wire in Chinchilla Cages
Galvanized wire contains zinc and it can be toxic if ingested. Everything in chinchilla cages as well as the cage itself needs to be safe for chewing.
Don’t Use Plastic Cages
Plastic chinchilla cages are dangerous. When a chinchilla chews on them they can swallow small pieces of plastic. Their bodies can’t process the plastic and it can lead to a blockage in their digestive system.
Chinchilla Cages Should Be Fun For Everyone
Watching your chinchilla have fun and explore is probably one of the main reasons you want a chinchilla. So don’t settle on a less-than-thrilling cage.
The more they have to explore the more fun it will be to watch them. And of course the happier and healthier they will be. Bond with your chinchilla by giving them the most exciting life you can.