Is the chinchilla right for me? (part 2)

Chinchillas need interactive play time with their people for at least an hour a day

Chinchillas have a sweet temperament and are very intelligent animals.These furry creatures are for young and old

South American chinchillas are kept as pets all over the world. Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents and sleep for most of the day, being active from the twilight hours into the night. Chinchillas are suitable pets for working adults, students and high school learners. They are also fairly hypoallergenic, with few people experiencing an allergic reaction to them. The chinchilla is a long-lived rodent, reaching 10 to 20 years in captivity if he is properly cared for and fed correctly. Every chinchilla has his own unique personality. While they do become very tame and love attention, they do not like to be cuddled or held.

Buy from a breeder

Before you decide that the chinchilla is the right pet for you, do thorough research and get to know more about their habits and requirements. It is always best to purchase your chin from a reputable breeder, never a pet store. You can contact the CBASA for more information. They are willing to share information on how these animals adapt to the South African climate and what products are available here. Before you pick up your new chinchilla, get the cage and accessories ready. Chinnies are not solitary animals, so start off with a pair of young animals. If you don’t want to breed, you can have two of the same sex, but they need to be introduced carefully and grow up together. You will also need to find a veterinarian in your area who works with exotic animal

General care

Chinchillas are generally healthy and do not need vaccinations. They rarely get sick and when they are ill, it is usually a reaction to their food or treats. Chinchillas are intelligent, with a sweet nature. With the correct diet, stimulation and daily play time with their owners, they thrive. Their dense fur prevents ticks and fleas. Feed your chin once each day and supply fresh water. Hay should also be replaced regularly. It helps to keep the back teeth short and is crucial for good digestion. A chinchilla’s teeth never stop growing, so your pet will need safe, wooden toys to gnaw on. Chinnies need interactive play time with their people for at least an hour a day. This is a good time to give your chin a thorough check. The cage needs to be properly cleaned every fortnight. Remove and replace old bedding and thoroughly wash water and food dishes. Give your chin a dust bath a few times each week

Information courtesy of Candice Mycock, director of CBASA, and Danie Delport of Chinchilla Magic. For more info, contact the Chinchilla Breeders Association of South Africa (CBASA) at info@ cbasa.org or the website www.cbasa.org.

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