Chinchillas are native to South America. They are known for their extremely soft fur. With proper care, they have a lifespan of 15+ years. They are crepuscular so they are most often at dawn and dusk.
Chins love to hop around and need a tall cage with many ledges that give them the opportunity to do so. Their cage should be kept in a part of the home that can easily be cooled as chinchillas can not tolerate any temperatures about 74 degrees F. We do not recommend wood enclosures as they will be chewed through. There should be no plastic in the enclosure as it is unsafe for chins to digest.
Chinchillas, like many other herbivore mammals, have ever-growing teeth! They need lots of chew toys to keep their teeth filed down. Pumice/lava ledges, hay chews, or apple sticks are some great options. They also need wood ledges around their enclosure for them to hop and jump on. Chinchillas also love running on their wheel! They need a 14-16+ inch solid upright wheel to exercise on.
Unlike many other small mammals, chinchillas cannot eat any fruits or vegetables. Their diet consists of hay. We recommend a mix of different types of hay (Timothy, Orchard, Oat) as well as feeding a high quality hay based pellet (such as Oxbow). You want to avoid meusli mix foods and get a uniform pellet to feed.
Chins do their best to clean themselves, much like a cat or bunny. But they do also need to be given dust baths on a regular basis in order to keep their fur clean. We suggest offering a dust bath 2-3 times per week. Please note that they should only have access to the dust bath for 15-30 minutes. Do not leave the dust bath in their enclosure for too long, as over bathing can actually dry out their skin.