CONGRATULATIONS on your new pet chinchilla! Chinchillas are unique small pets. Here is a simple guide with some facts and instructions on how to care properly for your Chinchilla.

LIFE SPAN: Approximately 10 years.

NATURE: Mostly active at dusk and dawn. They are social creatures and prefer to have a companion. They are very timid and do not trust easily. They take a while to warm up to humans and can get easily stressed if handled incorrectly.

DIET: Chinchillas eat mostly grasses and plants so they should be fed hay such as Timothy Hay and Chinchilla special mix food or pellets. You can add some fruit and vegetables occasionally. Check online for a list of safe fruits and vegetables that chinchillas may eat. As treats you can offer them dried fruit and herbs.

HABITAT: Chinchillas need a suitable size wire cage with hanging fleeces and toys. They need a wooden hide to sleep in, as well as a bowl for food and water. Water bottles are preferable as they tend to tip bowls over. The cage can be lined with sawdust or paper bedding. Avoid plastic as they will chew through it. Their cage should be kept somewhere cool and quiet to avoid overheating and unnecessary stress.

CARE: Chinchillas cages should be cleaned weekly to avoid the smell and accumulation of decaying food. Fleeces and cage can be washed with a F10 solution. Clean food and water should be available at all times.

Various wooden toys and chews are available for chinchillas. There are also running wheels that they enjoy using. When handling your chinchilla be gentle and try not to hold them too high above the ground as they could fall and injure themselves.


Chinchillas should not be handled during the day as it can cause them stress and they will lose fur and feel unwell. Early evening is the best time to let your chinchilla interact with you.

Bathing is not recommended as they don’t tolerate water too well. However, a tub of bath dust inside their cage can be used to keep them clean. Karbadust is suitable to use on your chinchilla should it be itching from mites or fleas. Only sprinkle it lightly over cage, bedding and chinchilla.

If at any time your Chinchilla looks unwell or is not eating or drinking, a vet can assist you in diagnosing what could be the problem. They are in general quite easy to keep and take care of.


Enjoy your new pet and be kind!

~Author:  Chene Bush