With proper care, chinchillas can live up to 22 years. The average is around 15 years, provided the animals are kept in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Chinchillas are especially likely to suffer from incorrect feeding. As far as their diet is concerned, the South American rodents are very demanding.
Therefore, a species-appropriate chinchilla food is not only one of the basic requirements for a long chinchilla life, but is an absolute must for every owner. But even with the best care, it can happen that an animal is surprisingly ill and dies – a guarantee for a long life does not exist. Still, you can help keep your pet alive and well.
So you favor a long chinchilla life
1. Inform yourself about the housing conditions before purchasing
Chinchillas are demanding small animals and should not be purchased rashly. Their comparatively high life expectancy must also be considered when making a purchase. Do you really want to take responsibility for an animal for so long? Frequent owner changes or animal shelter stays are bad for the health and mental health of the animals. Think carefully if you can meet the needs of the animals.
2. Buy animals from a species-appropriate attitude
Hinchillas from the shelter are out of the question for you? Then you should look for a reputable and competent chinchilla breeder who keeps his animals in species-appropriate conditions and sells them at reasonable prices. You should not save as much on the health of your animals as on your own. What you save on the price of the animals, must anyway often be invested in the subsequent vet visits. So spend a little more and do not support multipliers.
3. Never keep chinchillas alone
Chinchillas are like most small animals, pack animals and must be kept at least as a couple. Even in a same-sex group, the plushy rodents feel really comfortable. Individual husbandry not only leads to behavioral problems in the animals, but also to a shortened lifespan. The attitude of females and males is only recommended if the male animal is castrated. In the case of chinchilla holders, however, the procedure is considered to be not without danger. Small animals are often among the risk patients in veterinarians and can also die as a result of anesthesia. That’s why you should think twice about the procedure. Same-sex animals that come from a litter are usually good.
4. Avoid stress
Chinchillas are sensitive animals and are sensitive to stress. Avoid noise near the chinchilla enclosure and constant changes. Do not confront the animals with frequent food changes or moves into new enclosures. Chinchillas are twilight and nocturnal. As pets for children, they are therefore rather unsuitable because the animals may not be awakened outside their waking phases. In the long run, this would have a negative effect on their health. They fit better into the everyday life of working adults. Of course, children are allowed to participate in the care of the animals at night and under the supervision of their parents.
5. Respect the limits of animals
Visually, chinchillas often look like small, jumping plush balls. But they are not cuddly animals. If the animals seek human closeness, there is nothing wrong with extensive stroking. You should force them to close but not.
6. Go to the vet in time if the chinchillas are sick
Most pet owners can estimate when a vet visit is necessary and in which cases they can wait one to three days. Still take every illness seriously and do not wait too long. Go to the vet if you are not sure if the condition of your animals is critical. Do not spend time researching the internet if your pet stops eating or drinking. Even with persistent diarrhea a visit to a veterinarian is inevitable.
7. Perform regular health checks on your chinchillas
To detect disease signs in time, you should examine each animal daily. This also applies to shy candidates who do not like to be touched. Are the eyes clear and shiny? Is the coat pleasantly soft? You should first keep an eye on signs of illness such as shaggy fur, dirty noses or ears. Especially important: Check also the teeth of the animals and check if the anus region is clean.
8. Pay attention to a balanced diet
Chinchillas are native to the Andes and mainly eat grasses, herbs and leaves. The digestive tract of the animals is adapted to the plant nutrition. In the wild, chinchillas rarely encounter fruits or fresh vegetables. Accordingly, the animals of fresh food quickly get diarrhea. It should therefore be fed only in very small quantities. Animal protein is usually not eaten by the animals and therefore does not need it. Your food should be low in fat and protein. If you want to keep chinchillas for the first time, you must obtain comprehensive information before purchasing, since most of the food available in specialist stores are unsuitable or not appropriate to the species.
9. Sufficient movement in freewheel
Chinchillas require at least one hour of freewheeling daily. Healthy chinchillas usually explore their surroundings curiously. Not all animals are interested in the freewheel for humans. Therefore, offering the chinchillas varied employment opportunities that physically and mentally challenge them, but do not force them to interact with you. The little plush balls are real discoverers. Since they can jump over a meter high, almost nothing is safe from them. If the animals get cocky, they can easily hurt themselves. For a long chinchilla life, a secured freewheel is particularly important.
10. Look for a good veterinarian before purchasing
Most veterinarians are very familiar with dogs and cats. Small pet owners have a bit harder with the veterinary search. While guinea pigs and rabbits are now among the most popular pets, rats and chinchillas are rare patients. Anyone who thinks about the purchase of chinchillas, therefore, seeks better early for a veterinarian who is familiar with the treatment of rodents.