Buying a cage for your chinchilla can be a fun experience if you get into it. But there's some important things you need to know before you just go out and buy the first cage you see. The first thing you must remember is that your chinchilla is going to want to climb and jump all over his cage, so the bigger the better! Look for one that has plenty of height and is quite a bit bigger than a guinea pig or hamster cage.
Chinchilla Cage Specifics
The cage should be made of metal, without a plastic coating or paint on the bars. Your chinchilla is very likely to gnaw on the bars and will chew off any plastic on them, which they will digest and could get sick from. It's best to get a chinchilla cage with a solid bottom, as opposed to mesh, especially if you plan on breeding them. The youngsters feet can get caught in the mesh and damage their legs and claws.
When you're looking for a cage you'll also have to keep in mind where you will put it in your house to make sure it will fit. Location is very important for your little chinchilla because they have a tendency to overheat because of their thick coats. Try to keep the temperature between 65 or 75 degrees F. Avoid putting the cage on the floor where it can get drafty (depending on your home).
It's important to pay close attention to the temperature during the summer months. If your chinchilla ends up in direct sunlight or over 86 degrees F the little guy might over-heat and get heatstroke. It's important to know that they don't sweat, so putting a fan on them will just blow the hot air around and not cool them down. If you think your chinchilla might be overheating in it's cage, then you get a tray, fill it with ice cubes and cover it (so he can't fall in) and put that in his cage. That will give him something cold to lean against and cool down.
If you do get a cage with a pull out bottom, it will be a bit easier for cleaning (even though a solid floor is safer). Cleaning the floor once every couple days is a good idea to keep everything safe and clean for your little chinchilla. You should completely clean the whole cage about once a month. You'll notice that your chinchilla will pick one place to use for the bathroom, so you can add extra shavings there or even sprinkle baking soda to help with odors. Getting the right cage is very important in chinchilla care.
What Else To Put In Your Chinchilla Cage
To stay healthy and happy, chinchillas need regular exercise. This is why it's important to get a large cage to move around and climb in. Adding an exercise wheel for them is another great idea to keep them active. Chinchillas require quite a bit of attention, and it's important to give them some time every day outside of their cage.
An hour a day is a good amount if you have the time. Just make sure that you "chilla proof" the room that they're in so they can't chew on wires or your furniture. Keeping an eye on them is essential and also a great source of entertainment. You'll be able to see first hand how cute and playful they are as they climb and hop around.