Chinchillas cannot handle temperatures above 80F. Anything that high or higher could kill them. They also should not be kept in temperatures below 40F.
Chinchillas need a cage that is no smaller than 24"x24"x18". This is really the minimum space that should be used for one chin. Larger is always better. They also need things to climb on and chew on available at all times in their cage. I do not recommend wire floors or wire shelves for chins. It is simply too easy for a toe or leg to get caught in one and to have a broken bone. This is why we use wood shelves in our cages and the bottom pan is open to the chins. You will find that chins spend very little time on the bottom of their cage.
Kiln dried pine, or aspen shaving should be used. DO NOT use cedar or plain pine shavings as they are toxic to chins. Shaving should be kept clean and dry at all times.
Wire spacing for an adult chin can be as large as 1"x1" however, for babies it should be 1/2"x1/2". You would be amazed at how small these guys can squeeze. Never use coated wire for chins, they will chew it and it is not good for them.
A den box should be provided for chins so that they feel safe. They will use it for chewing as well as sleeping in.
Chinchillas can not be bathed in water. They do need to take dust baths regularly to keep their fur healthy and free of fungus.
I use Blue Cloud chin dust. Each chin is given a dust bath for about 15 minutes every other day, right after play time. Each cage has their own dust bath in case one cage were to come down with an illness (which has never happened here, thank goodness), it would not be spread to other cages.
My mother chins are not given a dust bath until 14 days after a birth. At that point, I put the bath in the cage with mother and babies. Babies typically will begin rolling in the dust that falls off their mother within the first week and try out the bath house about a week after that.
Blue Cloud Dust can be purchased through us on our Animal Products page.
Even though I feel our cages are good sized, and they do have plenty of things to climb on and chew inside the cages, and I switch the chins between cages weekly to give them a change of scenery, I still feel it is important to give each of them time out of their cage as often as possible. My chins get at least 1/2 hour out of their cage 5 times a week. I would like to give them more, but as I can not let them all out at once (I can only let chins from one cage out at one time, to prevent fights) and I do stay with them during play time, it takes about 3 hours to complete exercise time.
I do go in and talk to and pet each chinchilla each and every day, even when they are not coming out for play time.
I do not recommend exercise balls that are made for the animal to be in and run around. Chins overheat much too easily in these and could die.
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