Exercise tips for your chinchilla
Have you got a chinchilla as a pet? If so, here are a few tips about their exercise for you to make sure they have a happy life. They can live up to 15 years!
Chinchillas are nocturnal, so they’ll be asleep for most of the day. They are most active in the early evening so this is a good time to get them out for a run. Make sure they’re supervised because they like to explore everything with their teeth and this can include electrical wires.
Before allowing your chinchillas out to run around the house, you need to be confident that you can catch them again. Chinchillas can become tame with a little time and training. When your chinchilla comes forward, stroke it gently under the chin. Do not try to catch them the first time this happens, just give them a treat and let go so they don’t associate you with being caught. Raisins are one of their favourite treats so offer these from your hand. Be careful because a frightened chinchilla will stand on its back legs and spray urine in the face of any potential threat!
Once your chinchilla is confidently taking treats and allowing you to stroke it, you can let it out. Start with quite a small space and then try offering a treat so your pet learns to come to your hand. Don’t try to catch your chinchilla yet but give the treat and let go again a few times.
To pick up your chinchilla, support the whole body on your hand and gently restrain them by holding the base of the tail. Never pick a chinchilla up by the tail – this can hurt them and could cause a serious injury. A frightened chinchilla that is being too strongly held will shed handfuls of fur so, if this happens, you are being far too rough.
Remember. Chinchillas are herbivores and, in their native South America, they eat grasses, low-growing green plants and chew the bark off trees. Chinchillas need a diet high in fibre and protein but low in moisture and fat. High fat foods will give them liver disease and greens which are too lush will cause colic or make them bloated. A diet lacking in fibre causes poor gut movement, allows their teeth to become overgrown and can even lead to fur chewing. They also need a high vitamin C diet, so they must not be fed rabbit mix.