How to Care for a Chinchilla

So you are interested in getting a chinchilla as you know chinchilla babies are so cute!? Well, there are a few things that you need to make sure you have before you just go out and buy one. Which you can normally find them at your local pet store, they are expensive to buy but cheap to keep up with. A chinchilla at your pet store could run you anywhere from $50 to $200, it just depends where you live.

A Proper Cage:

Chinchillas are very active animals, especially at nighttime, so having proper cage size is extremely important for them. You need to get a cage that has an open area, and space for them to jump around and not get claustrophobic.

Make sure the cage itself has a solid bottom, chinchillas feet are able to get stuck in the wire and can lead to severe injury if the situation is bad enough. As well as make sure the wiring between the cage isn’t big enough for them to put their head, or their entire body through. Some homebuilt cages might have that problem as opposed to store-bought cages.

Chinchilla Food:

At your local pet store they will sell chinchilla pellets or chinchilla mixed food. For my chinchillas, I prefer to get them the regular pellets, which look like bunny pellets, because I believe there are more nutrients to be had in those, as opposed to the seed and corn mixes that they have. However, both will work fine for your chinchilla.

Make surE as well to have a nice amount of alfalfa in there for them, or fresh cut yourself. They enjoy eating this as one of their primary food sources.

Snacks are fine as well, normally any dried fruit that doesn’t have preservatives, and unsalted will do the trick. Raisins and banana chips are a common favorite with most chinchillas.

Proper Water Bottle:

I have had multiple problems with my chinchillas chewing through a plastic water bottle that was on the outside of the cage. I have spent a lot of money replacing them too. Finally, I decided to go out and get a glass water bottle, and that seemed to do the trick. Make sure to change their water every few days to keep it fresh and make sure they don’t run out.

Change Their Bedding Often:

Chinchillas eat and drink quite a bit. Their feces are solid, and small and don’t make a big mess like some other rodents feces do, which is very nice when you hold them and play with them. Change their bedding at least once a week, depending on how much bedding you use. Don’t let them live in something that you wouldn’t want to live in is a good rule of thumb.

For their bedding use an alpine type of bedding, which is the light tan color looking bedding. This bedding normally does not get stuck to their fur, like some of those paper beddings do.

Handle Them Gently:

Chinchillas are extremely soft creatures, so they need to be handled delicately so you do not harm them. Just remember when holding one that she is more scared of you than you are of her. With a new chinchilla try to be extra careful so you don’t create a scary environment for her, or stress her out too much her first few weeks with you.


These pretty creatures are extremely soft and need to keep their hair in great condition so they do not get sick, or get mites. A chinchilla is a unique creature that requires something called a “dust bath.” This involved picking up chinchilla dust at a local pet store, and putting that dust in a small tub, or chinchilla bathtub, and setting your chinchilla in the tub. She soon will start rolling around, coating her fur, getting rid of some of those bad oils, and she will be big and fluffy again in no time.

The tub doesn’t need to be bigger than a foot, just enough space for them to roll. Try to give them a bath once or twice a week, depending on how clean their environment is.


Chinchillas often shed, because it is their natural defense mechanism against predators to shed off their fur if they are being attacked to get away, thus it grows back very fast. When it grows back so fast, it replaces the old hair with the new. Every few weeks, pluck the loose patches of fur off of your chinchilla, it is like a dog shedding, and it doesn’t hurt them in the slightest. However, if they are not used to it then sometimes they can make noise because they are nervous.


By getting your chinchilla an exercise wheel, you offer them a way to exercise so they don’t get fat, which would be bad for their health. You also can get a large ball that they can run around in, or even clear out an area where they can’t run away, and let them play and run around for a while.