Chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) are cute, gentle animals that need attention. They belong to the guinea pig-like rodents and come from the Andes mountains in South America. They are active in the evening and twilight and during the day they prefer to sleep.
Because of their soft thick fur with a hair follicle from which more than 50 hairs grow, they look like teddy bears, but nothing could be further from the truth. If chinchillas look cuddly, most chins are not. They make great pets, but they are sensitive animals, so they need to be handled with care and housed appropriately. To keep them happy and healthy, they need a special diet tailored to the nutritional needs of the Chinchilla. The animals also need a lot of freedom of movement to run and jump.
- Systematics: Chinchilla lanigera, Family Chinchillidae, Order Rodentia
- Head-torso length: up to 26 cm
- Body weight: 400g to 600g (females are slightly heavier than males)
- Life expectancy : up to 20 years
Weakly muscled stop stomach: By ingesting several small portions per day, the food slurry is pushed to the rear part of the intestines. Lifelong growth of the incisors and molars: The tooth wear occurs during eating because the teeth rub against each other. The duration of feed intake becomes longer when eating crude fibres, which are intensively ground. Relatively large cecum: Conversion of fine, crude cells by the positive intestinal flora into protein-rich and vitamin B-containing cecum droppings. These are eaten directly from the anus and undergo a second passage through the intestines.
Unlimited feeding is possible with ChinchillaDream BASIC because it meets the energy needs of young animals during their growth process as well as the needs of adult animals.
- I . Raw fibers promote tooth wear.
- I I. Fine particles (< 0.3 mm) enter the cecum and are metabolized by the positive gut ﬂora.
- II II. Particles > 0.3 mm stimulate bowel movement. Sudden changes of feed should be avoided.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE CHINCHILLA
- originally from Chile between Altamira and Talca, mainly near coastal Cordillera
- at present, only 2 small populations remain in northern central Chile
- critically endangered
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT OF THE CHINCHILLA
ChinchillaDream BASIC contains plants from their native region, such as amaranth, maca and topinam farmer.
- mainly on dry, sparsely vegetated northern slopes with a loose vegetation of cacti, bromeliad and a few smaller shrubs
- mainly on fields full of crushed stone
- caves in rock crevices
BEHAVIOR OF THE CHINCHILLA
- predominantly active at dusk and at night
- social, according to family ties
- possibly with territorial behaviour
REPRODUCTION OF THE CHINCHILLA
Chinchillas should be kept by adults as they dislike being held and petted and are active both at dusk and at night.
- Sexual maturity : females after 4-6 months, males after 4-6 months
- Ready for breeding : females after 9-12 months, males after 9-10 months
- Throw size : 1-6 (Ø 2) small ones per throw
- Gestation period : 105-118 (Ø 110) days
- Birth weight : 50-70 g,
- Weaning time: nest flies from week 8 -10
To avoid uncontrolled reproduction, we recommend that you castrate the bear. Early neutering makes it possible to keep a pair from the start. Young animals show more social behavior than adult animals.
The cycle length is 4-5 weeks. At the end of the cycle, the females are fertile for up to 48 hours.
Sex differences: in the male the distance between the genital opening and the anus is greater than in the female.
NUTRITION OF THE CHINCHILLA
foli herbivore: A variety of green plants supplemented with carrots and vegetables. Provide plenty of good quality hay and fresh drinking water daily. Give branches to gnaw on.
Balanced long-life recipe: ChinchillaDream BASIC - supplemented during the growth phase with Juniors Extra Chinchilla & Degu - covers the nutritional needs of chinchillas.
Hay from nature-protected meadows and FreshGras Hay is characterized by a multitude of green plants and herbs (biodiversity). The long, crispy stems ensure optimal tooth wear.
Good composition of Chinchilla food
- Crude protein (Rp): 13-15%
- Crude fat (RVe): 2-4%
- Crude fibers (RVz): 18-21%
- Raw fiber-starch ratio: at least 3 : 1
An optimal raw fiber-starch ratio meets the energy needs of adult animals. This protects the animal from being overweight.
- Calcium (Ca): Adults: 0.6-0.8 % Juveniles: 0.9 - 1.0 % for bone formation during the growth phase
- Phosphorus (F): 0.4-0.7% (Ca-F ratio: 1.5-2 : 1)
Mono-component feed (TriMello®) contains the necessary nutrients. Vegetables and blossoms make the feed intake more varied. Apple wood stimulates gnawing. The sensitive cecumﬂ ora can gradually adapt thanks to a step change of the food.
Excess calcium is mainly excreted through the intestines. Chinchillas are therefore less susceptible to bladder stones/stones.
DEALING WITH THE CHINCHILLA
- During the first days, chinchillas need a lot of rest to get used to it.
- Chinchillas are mainly active in the early morning and evening and do not like to be stroked. Therefore, it is best that children only look at them.
- Lift the animals with one hand around the shoulder and chest and support their hind legs with the other hand.
- Never pick up chinchillas with their sensitive tail.
- bunnyINTERACTIVE stimulates chinchillas both mentally and physically, intensifies the bond between owner and animal and improves confidence.
The Enjoy Nature range offers a variety of natural products that are suitable for building trust during the habituation period and as an incentive for play and exploration behaviour.
Check the health of the animal daily, regularly check the incisors, the anogenital area and the coat. A weight check should be done once a week.
INDICATIONS OF DISEASE
Weight loss, less intake of food and water, altered defecation and urination behavior as well as a shaggy coat are, among other things, indications of a disease.
To determine the cause and treatment, a veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible. If the tooth abrasion in the chinchilla does not proceed correctly, treatments under general anesthesia should be performed by a veterinarian.
HOUSING OF THE CHINCHILLA
Chinchillas are social animals that live in family groups in the wild. In captivity they must therefore be kept together. It is very beautiful to see how the animals interact, cuddle and sleep together.
For two chinchillas you need a spacious cage of at least one square meter of floor space. Bigger is always better.
- don't keep alone
- at least a few
- recommended: 1 neutered male and 1 female
- in groups of the same sex, animals can bite each other after reaching sexual maturity
Chinchillas should not be kept with guinea pigs or other rodents.
PLACEMENT OF THE CHINCHILLA CAGE
- no direct sunlight
- relative humidity 30-50 %
- optimum ambient temperature 15 to 18°C, not permanently above 25°C
Chinchillas come from cool, dry high mountain areas. The animal does not tolerate heat and humidity well.
Chinchilla Cage Size
- at least a volume of 3 m3, at least 50 cm wide and 150 cm high for two animals
- at least 0.5 m3 extra must be provided for each additional adult animal
- also offer the possibility to walk out under supervision on a daily basis
A large, structured aviary allows intensive movement during the active phase. Free range should be allowed during active early morning or evening hours to encourage natural behaviors such as exploring, playing and jumping.
Ground cover for the Chinchilla
- good absorbent
- odor-binding, especially ammonia-binding
- low dust
- replaced regularly
LAYOUT OF THE CHINCHILLA CAGE
- 1 house per animal (at least 30 x 30 x 20 cm) with two openings
- plateaus at different heights
- climbing branch
- gnawing wood e.g. Back to the ROOTS
- always make sure you have the opportunity to bathe in the sand
- feed in sturdy clay or ceramic dishes (clean the dishes daily)
- drinking water in bottles or dishes (change the water daily)
Chinchillas have a dense, fine coat. The hairs are gathered together in hair bundles. Around a cover hair are about 50-75 wool hairs. For proper coat cleaning, it is important to use special chinchilla sand to avoid greasy hair and swelling. In addition to caring for the coat, the sand bath also serves to reduce stress.
KEEP CHINCHILLAS OUT?
- only possible during the summer months, but we do not recommend it
- protection provided against predators, rain, direct sunlight
High temperatures and humidity are poorly tolerated.
Chinchillas are small, folivorous/herbivorous (plant-eating) mammals and belong to the order of the rodents. They are mainly active at dusk and at night, very social and in the wild they live in families as one pair and their female offspring. Even if they are kept as pets, they should not be left alone. As a pair or in a group (a neutered male and one or more females) they feel good. A chinchilla can live up to 20 years and reaches a body length of about 26 cm and a weight of 400 to 600 g.
Chinchillas are native to South America and live in rocky mountain slopes near the coast. Their survival is highly threatened and today there are only 2 small residual populations in northern central Chile.
The vegetation in their country of origin varies and often shows a desert-like character. They especially prefer dry and sparsely vegetated slopes with loose vegetation consisting of cacti, bromeliads and small shrubs. They make their burrows in rock crevices.
Chinchillas feed on plant foods and are able to process them optimally.
Chinchillas have their own nutritional needs.
The digestive system is important for a healthy and vital life.
There are two incisors in the upper and lower jaws, which, like the molars, continue to grow for life. A rough fiber structure in the diet is necessary for tooth wear.
The stomach is only moderately muscled and therefore cannot independently transport the food to the next part of the intestine. The following food portions take over that task.
Fine dietary fibers end up in the voluminous cecum, which are converted into proteins, vitamin B complex and vitamin K by special bacteria. That is why the cecum is also called the fermentation chamber. The formed cecum droppings are reabsorbed by chinchillas.
RATIO RAW FIBER AND STARCH
Crude fiber: Crude fiber is very important for health. They support the digestion, the cecum and with their rough fiber structure the tooth wear.
Starch: Starch is mainly an energy supplier and must be present in the feed to a limited extent.
A shift in the ratio of raw fiber to starch can lead to long-term health damage:
- Too little raw fiber leads to intestinal inertia, changes in the intestinal flora and disturbed functioning of the cecum.
- Too much starch leads to eating pauses, changes in the intestinal flora, swelling, diarrhoea, fermentation, obesity.
That's why vets recommend a minimum crude fiber to starch ratio of 3:1.
How do I know how much starch my food contains?
In addition, the composition is very useful: whole grains (with starchy flour body), field beans, potatoes or peas are an indication that a higher starch content must be taken into account.