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 they prefer to sleep during the day.
Their soft, thick coat with a hair follicle from which more than 50 hairs grow makes them look like teddy bears, but nothing could be further from the truth. Although Chinchillas look cuddly, most chins are not. They make great pets, but they are sensitive animals so they need to be handled gently and housed properly. To keep them happy and healthy, they need a special diet that is 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-body length: up to 26 cm
- Body weight: 400 g to 600 g (females are slightly heavier than males)
- Life expectancy : up to 20 years
Weakly muscled stomach: By consuming several small portions per day, the food is pushed to the back of the intestines. Lifelong growth of the incisors and molars: Tooth wear occurs during eating because the teeth rub against each other. The duration of feed intake increases when eating raw fibres, which are intensively ground. Relatively large cecum: Conversion of fine, crude fibers by the positive intestinal flora into protein-rich and vitamin B-containing cecal feces. These are eaten directly from the anus and undergo a second passage through the intestines.
Unlimited feeding is possible with ChinchillaDroom BASIC because it meets the energy needs of young animals during their growth process as well as the needs of adult animals.
- I . Rough fibers promote tooth wear.
- I I. Fine particles (< 0.3 mm) end up in the cecum and are metabolized by the positive intestinal flora.
- I II. Particles > 0.3 mm stimulate intestinal movement. Sudden changes in food 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 north-central Chile
- critically endangered
NATURAL HABITAT OF THE CHINCHILLA
ChinchillaDroom BASIC contains plants from their native region, such as amaranth, maca and topinam farmer.
- especially on dry, sparsely vegetated northern slopes with loose vegetation of cacti, bromeliads and a few smaller shrubs
- mainly on fields full of crushed stone
- caves in rock crevices
BEHAVIOR OF THE CHINCHILLA
- mainly active during twilight and at night
- socially, according to family ties
- possibly with territorial behavior
REPRODUCTION OF THE CHINCHILLA
Chinchillas should be kept by adults as they do not like to be held or petted and are active at dusk as well as at night.
- Sexual maturity : females after 4-6 months, males after 4-6 months
- Breeding maturity : females after 9-12 months, males after 9-10 months
- Litter size : 1-6 (Ø 2) small ones per litter
- Gestation period : 105-118 (Ø 110) days
- Birth weight : 50-70 g,
- Weaning time: nestlings from weeks 8 -10
To avoid uncontrolled reproduction, we recommend castrating the bear. Early castration makes it possible to keep a pair from the start. Young animals show social behavior more easily than adults.
The cycle length is 4-5 weeks. At the end of the cycle, females are fertile for a maximum of 48 hours.
Gender 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: Multitude of green plants supplemented with roots and vegetables. Provide sufficient hay of good quality as well as fresh drinking water every day. Give branches to gnaw on.
Balanced long-life recipe: ChinchillaDroom BASIC - supplemented with Juniors Extra Chinchilla & Degoe during the growth phase - covers the nutritional needs of chinchillas.
Hay from nature-protected meadows and FreshGras Hay are 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%
- Crude fiber-starch ratio: at least 3:1
An optimal crude fiber-starch ratio meets the energy needs of adult animals. This protects the animal against obesity.
- Calcium (Ca): Adult animals: 0.6-0.8% Young animals: 0.9 - 1.0% for bone formation during the growth phase
- Phosphorus (F): 0.4-0.7% (Ca-F ratio: 1.5-2:1)
Monocomponent food (TriMello®) contains the necessary nutrients. Vegetables and flowers make feed intake more varied. Apple wood stimulates gnawing. The sensitive cecum flora can gradually adapt thanks to a gradual change in food.
Excess calcium is mainly excreted through the intestines. Chinchillas are therefore less susceptible to bladder grit/stones.
HANDLING THE CHINCHILLA
- During the first few days, chinchillas need a lot of rest to get used to things.
- Chinchillas are mainly active in the early morning and evening and do not like to be caressed. That is why it is best for children to just 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 tails.
- bunnyINTERACTIVE stimulates chinchillas both mentally and physically, intensifies the bond between owner and animal and improves confidence.
The Enjoy Nature range offers a multitude of natural products that are suitable for building a bond of trust during the adjustment period and as an incentive for playing and exploring behavior.
Check the animal's health daily, regularly checking the incisors, the anogenital area and the coat. A weight check should be done once a week.
INDICATIONS OF DISEASE
Weight loss, reduced food and water intake, altered defecating and urinating behavior as well as a rough coat are among other signs 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 anesthesia should be carried out 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 particularly beautiful to see how the animals interact with each other, cuddle and sleep together.
For two chinchillas you need a spacious cage with a floor surface of at least one square meter . Bigger is always better.
- don't just keep it
- 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.
PLACING THE CHINCHILLA CAGE
- no direct sunlight
- relative humidity 30-50%
- optimal ambient temperature 15 to 18° C, not permanently above 25° C
Chinchillas come from cool, dry high mountain ash trees. The animal cannot tolerate heat and humidity well.
Size of the Chinchilla cage
- 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 of daily exercise under supervision
A large, structured aviary allows intensive exercise during the active phase. Free range should be supervised during active hours in the early morning or evening to encourage natural behavior such as exploring, playing and jumping.
Ground cover for the Chinchilla
- well absorbent
- odor-binding, especially ammonia-binding
- low dust
- replace regularly
SETTINGS OF THE CHINCHILLA CAGE
- 1 house per animal (at least 30 x 30 x 20 cm) with two openings
- platforms at different heights
- climbing branch
- gnawing wood eg. Back to the ROOTS
- always make sure you have the opportunity to bathe in the sand
- feed in sturdy clay or ceramic bowls (clean the bowls daily)
- drinking water in bottles or bowls (change the water daily)
Chinchillas have a dense, fine coat. The hairs are together in hair bundles. There are approximately 50-75 wool hairs surrounding a guard hair. 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 OUTSIDE?
- only possible during the summer months, but we do not recommend it
- provide protection against predators, rain, direct sunlight
High temperatures and humidity are poorly tolerated.
Chinchillas are small, folivorous/herbivorous (herbivorous) mammals and belong to the rodent order. They are mainly active at dusk and at night, very social and live in nature as a family as a pair and their female offspring. Even if they are kept as pets, they should not be left alone. They feel good as a pair or in a group (a castrated male and one or more females). A chinchilla can live up to 20 years and reaches a body length of approximately 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 only 2 small remnant populations survive in north-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 dens in rock crevices.
Chinchillas feed on plant foods and are able to process them optimally.
Chinchillas have very unique nutritional needs.
The digestive system is important for a healthy and vital life.
There are two incisors in the upper and lower jaws, which, just 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 muscular and therefore cannot independently transport the food to the next part of the intestine. The following nutritional portions take over that task.
Fine dietary fibers end up in the voluminous appendix, which are converted into proteins, vitamin B complex and vitamin K by special bacteria. That is why the appendix is also called the fermentation chamber. The cecal droppings formed are reabsorbed by chinchillas.
RATIO OF CRUDE FIBER TO STARCH
Crude Fiber: Crude fiber is very important for health. They support digestion, the appendix and, with their rough fiber structure, tooth wear.
Starch: Starch is mainly an energy supplier and should be present in limited quantities in the feed.
A shift in the crude fiber-starch ratio can lead to long-term health damage:
- Too little crude fiber leads to intestinal sluggishness, changes in intestinal flora and disturbed functioning of the appendix.
- Too much starch leads to food breaks, changes in intestinal flora, swelling, diarrhea, fermentation, and adiposity.
That's why veterinarians recommend a minimum crude fiber-to-starch ratio of 3:1.
How do I actually know how much starch my food contains?
The composition is very useful: whole grain grains (with starchy flour body), field beans, potatoes or peas are an indication that a higher starch content should be taken into account.