Charlie the Chinchilla:Learns About Home
In fact, the only way you know it's too cold for a chinchilla is if its water bottle is frozen. It's important to keep them in a climate-controlled space that never gets above 80 degrees Fahrenheit 27 degrees Celsius — keeping it below 70 degrees Fahrenheit 21 degrees Celsius is best. It's also a good idea to keep a marble slab in the chinchilla's enclosure so they have a place to go to chill out if it overheats. Another way to ensure your chinchilla keeps cool is to house it in an open wire enclosure never a walled enclosure like an aquarium — the bigger the better to ensure good air flow.
This not only keeps these active, playful rodents entertained, it keeps them from getting respiratory infections, which is more likely in enclosed, musty spaces.
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It doesn't matter what time of day or night you feed your chinchilla, it's important to remember that they evolved eating a lot of dry grass, and dry grass is what you should give them. Chinchillas have delicate digestive systems that require a lot of fiber, and a treat of a single raisin can max out the amount of sugar that's healthy for your chinchilla in a single day.
For this reason, a strict diet of Timothy hay , high quality compacted chinchilla pellets and a steady supply of clean, fresh water should make up 99 percent of their diet.
Of course, there are lots of other things you should know before getting a chinchilla, or several — for instance, chinchillas are very social and prefer having a companion. However, do some reading before you introduce your chinchilla to a stranger — they can be very territorial, and there are ways to make sure the introductions go well for everyone.
Chinchillas also become very attached to their favorite humans during their long lifespan they can live up to 20 years in captivity , and it's important to give them plenty of attention — especially if they're alone in their enclosure. And they are fast! They do not handle heat.
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With that thick coat they can overheat and have heat stroke. Room temperature is fine, but don't set them up outside if your temps are in the 80s. The good news is your chinchilla will probably never transform into a blood thirsty demon, so there's that. Learn more about chinchillas in " The Chinchilla Care Guide.
HowStuffWorks picks related titles based on books we think you'll like. Should you choose to buy one, we'll receive a portion of the sale. Rules for Keeping a Pet Chinchilla. Slightly larger than ground squirrels, chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains in South America and are either one of two species, Chinchilla chinchilla or Chinchilla lanigera shown here.
In , laws against hunting chinchillas were put in place in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia, but they only increased the value of chinchilla fur.
It was not until the s that the laws became strictly enforced in those countries. Related Content " ". Why are rodents such popular test subjects? Insects and Spiders It may seem odd to keep insects or spiders as pets, but they are unique creatures that are fascinating to watch.
They're also quiet, and require little room and attention. Hissing cockroaches and some tarantulas make the ultimate beginner insect pets because they are rather docile and lack serious weapons such as stingers and threatening venoms. Sugar Glider Squirrel Sugar glider squirrels are social animals that belong to the small marsupial group. They are popular exotic pets in North America, and can form a close bond with their owner when handled from a young age. Sugar gliders are nocturnal, so their eyes are very sensitive to light. They are highly vocal and are capable of gliding through the air due to a thin stretch of skin between their front and back legs.
Hedgehog Hedgehogs are amazing little creatures that make fascinating pets. They are fairly low maintenance, with a diet consisting mostly of insects. Fruits, vegetables, and cat or dog food make good additions to the hedgehog's diet.
When choosing a hedgehog as a pet, look for one that is young, healthy, well-tempered, and tame. Hedgehogs are a bit nervous, and will roll into a ball when threatened or picked up.
A handled, tame hedgehog will unroll fairly quickly and lower its quills for some quality bonding time. Ferret Ferrets make excellent pets for owners who take the time to bond with them. They are naturally quiet, friendly, companionable, and intelligent - as well as sneaky! They are able to entertain themselves when you are not around to play, which could lead to some mischief and trouble if they are left unsupervised.
Because they are natural hunters, it may take some time for ferrets to bond with other animals in the home. Ferrets can be trained to perform fun and amusing tricks for treats. Wallaby These miniature kangaroos from down under make a unique pet. A close bond between owner and animal will form when bottle feeding your baby joey.
While wallabies can be house trained, they need a securely fenced in area with plenty of room to romp around and graze outside. Naturally curious, these marsupials will explore all parts of the house if unsupervised. Domesticated and bottle-fed wallabies are gentle and docile animals that can make great cuddling companions. Next: Chipmunks. Next: Potbelly Pig.
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