With proper care, chinchillas can live up to 22 years. The average is around 15 years, provided that the animals are kept in a species-appropriate manner. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Chinchillas are particularly susceptible to incorrect feeding. When it comes to their food, the South American rodents are very demanding.
A species-appropriate chinchilla food is therefore 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 becomes surprisingly ill and dies – there is no guarantee for long life. Nevertheless, you can help keep your animal safe and sound.
In This Way, You Favor a Long Chinchilla Life
Find Out About the Keeping Conditions Before Purchasing
Chinchillas are demanding small animals and should not be bought rashly. Their comparatively high life expectancy should also be considered when buying. Do you really want to take responsibility for an animal for that long? Frequent changes of ownership or stays in animal shelters are bad for the health and mental well-being of the animals. Think carefully about whether you can meet the needs of the animals.
Buy Animals That Have Been Kept in a Species-appropriate Manner
Chinchillas from the animal shelter are out of the question for you? Then you should look around for a reputable and competent chinchilla breeder who keeps his animals under appropriate conditions and sells them at reasonable prices. You shouldn’t skimp on the health of your animals any more than you should on your own. What you save on the price of the animals often has to be invested in the subsequent visits to the vet anyway. So it’s better to spend a little more and not support multipliers for it.
Never Keep Chinchillas Alone
Like most small animals, chinchillas are pack animals and must be kept by at least two people. The plush rodents also feel right at home in a same-sex group. Individual keeping not only leads to behavioral disorders in the animals, but also to a shortened lifespan. The keeping of females and males is only recommended if the male animal is neutered. In the case of chinchilla keepers, however, the procedure is not considered to be harmless. Small animals are often among the risk patients for veterinarians and can also die as a result of anesthesia. Therefore you should think carefully about the procedure. Same-sex animals that come from a litter usually get along well.
Chinchillas are sensitive animals and are sensitive to stress. Avoid noise near the chinchilla enclosure and constant changes as well. Do not confront the animals with frequent changes of food or moving to new enclosures. Chinchillas are crepuscular and nocturnal. They are therefore rather unsuitable as pets for children, because the animals must not be woken up outside of their waking phase. In the long run, this would have a negative impact on their health. They fit better into the everyday life of working adults. Of course, children are allowed to take part in the care of the animals in the evenings and under the supervision of their parents.
Respect Animal Boundaries
Chinchillas often look like small, bouncing plush balls. But that’s not why they are cuddly toys. If the animals are looking for human closeness, there is nothing wrong with petting them extensively. But one shouldn’t force them to be close.
Go to the Vet in Good Time if the Chinchillas are Sick
Most pet owners can assess when a visit to the vet is necessary and in which cases they can wait one to three days. Nevertheless, take any illness seriously and don’t wait too long. Go to the vet if you are not sure whether the condition of your animals is critical. Don’t waste time doing internet research if your pet stops eating or drinking. Even if diarrhea persists, a visit to the vet is inevitable.
Perform Regular Health Checks on Your Chinchillas
In order to notice signs of disease in a timely manner, 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 fur pleasantly soft? You should only keep an eye on signs of illness such as shaggy fur, dirty noses, or ears. Particularly important: also check the animals’ teeth and check whether the anus region is clean.
Pay Attention to a Balanced Diet
Chinchillas come from the Andes and mainly eat grass, herbs, and leaves. The digestive tract of the animals is adapted to the plant-based diet. In the wild, chinchillas rarely come across fruits or fresh vegetables. Accordingly, the animals quickly get diarrhea from the fresh feed. It should therefore only be fed in very small quantities. As a rule, animals do not consume animal protein and therefore do not need it. Your food should be low in fat and protein. If you want to keep chinchillas for the first time, you have to get comprehensive information before buying, as most of the food available in specialist shops is unsuitable or unsuitable for the species.
Sufficient Free-wheeling Movement
Chinchillas need at least one hour to run free every day. As a rule, healthy chinchillas explore their surroundings with curiosity. Not all animals are interested in humans when they roam free. Therefore, offer the chinchillas varied employment opportunities that challenge them physically and mentally, but do not force them to interact with you. The small plush balls are real explorers. Since they can jump over three feet high, next to nothing is safe from them. If the animals get cocky, however, they can easily injure themselves. A secure free run is particularly important for a long chinchilla life.
Find a Good Veterinarian Before Purchasing
Most vets are very knowledgeable about dogs and cats. Small animal owners have a harder time looking for a vet. While guinea pigs and rabbits are now among the most popular pets, rats and chinchillas are rare patients. If you are thinking about purchasing chinchillas, it is better to look for a veterinarian who is familiar with the treatment of rodents early on.