Chinchilla as a pet: Portrait of the cute rodents

A chinchilla is not suitable for everyone as a pet. The cute, mostly silver-gray fur balls are nocturnal and do not like cuddling with people. Moreover, they make a lot of dirt and need a safe outlet in the apartment. What else you should consider before buying the exotic fur carrier, reveal the following tips.

They look cute, the chinchillas, but you should not underestimate them. They are not cuddly daddies and require a lot of care and attention in their attitude. But if you get involved with the rodents, you will experience fascinating animals that you could observe all day - or rather the whole night.

Little Chinchilla Story: From Wild Animal to Pet

The roots of chinchilla are in South America, especially Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. The wild chinchilla relatives live there in the mountains at altitudes of up to 5, 000 meters and hide in caves and crevices during the day. Because of their thick fur and because chinchillas have no sweat glands, they do not tolerate temperatures above 25 degrees, which are reached quickly in their original home during the day. Then they can get a heat stroke and die. In the twilight and at night, the temperatures drop drastically, so that the rodents can then go in search of food. On her menu are branches, leaves, herbs, dry grasses and even cacti. The chinchilla is a pack animal and lives in the wild partly in large groups of around 100 animals. A male often surrounds himself with several females.

It has a rather sad background, which is why the wild animal became a pet: furs. The beautiful, silver-gray fur of the rodents soon found great favor among European fur traders and customers - the chinchilla was brought to Europe and around 1950, fur farms were established in Germany. Little by little, chinchilla caves formed and for about 30 years they have been discovered for pet ownership.

Social life and peculiarities of the chinchilla

Chinchillas should by no means be kept alone, as the pack animals are otherwise very unhappy and can develop behavioral disorders. At least two, better still three or more of the fur balls feel well together. So that there are no unwanted offspring, same-sex couples and groups are recommended. The castration of a chinchilla is quite complicated and fraught with risks, so mixed-gender couples are only recommended in a breeding project. Males become mature from four months and females from six months. The chinchilla mothers can throw two to three times a year and then get between one and four babies, sometimes even six. Then the chinchilla mother needs help with the rearing and in the worst case does not survive the exhausting birth.

The animals are nocturnal and sleep during the day. For a while, they can adapt to the habits of their owners and occasionally wake up during the day, but their main occupation is after sunset and before sunrise. That means that in winter they are usually longer active than in summer. In the summer, also ensure sufficient coolness and shade to prevent heat stroke. The fur balls have very fine senses, can see with their big eyes well in the twilight and in the dark and have a wide field of vision. They also need this, as escape animals as quickly as possible to open up all escape routes and overlook. When orienting in the dark, their long-haired keys help them along the muzzle. In addition, they can hear very well and turn their big ears like satellite dishes in the direction of a sound.

Odors are an important point of orientation and communication for her. So they can get to know mating readiness and territory markings of their conspecifics. Do not be surprised if the front teeth of your chinchilla are yellow, orange or even brownish - this is normal and is evidence of a healthy mineral layer protecting the teeth. It is also normal and healthy when the fur snouts eat their own feces. In this way, they absorb vitamins and minerals that first split up in the intestine when first consumed. Bear in mind that the animals do not become housebroken; as so-called permanent exterminators, they go everywhere, no matter where they are.

Is a chinchilla suitable for you as a pet?

As fleeing animals, the fluffy fellows get scared when you want to hug them or pet too much. Therefore, the animals are more suitable for observation and less for interaction with humans. You need a large aviary with several floors where you can jump and jump at night. If they also get out in a safe room in the evening, they are looking forward to even more. Furthermore, hiding places and a sandbox for rolling are important as well as a hay rack and a potion of fresh water. The enclosure must be cleaned daily, as the silver furs can not keep it clean by themselves. With good posture and care, chinchillas can grow surprisingly old: 15 to 22 years is their life expectancy.

The rodents will suit you when you are ready to do without your pet but do not bother with any expense and effort to make sure the snouts are comfortable with you. If you work full-time and travel during the day, you do not have to worry because the sweets are sleeping at this time. For smaller children it may be difficult to explain that the animals need their rest during the day and do not like to cuddle or play with people. For children, there are other pets that are more suitable, such as dogs - if they are well behaved.

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