Originally Posted by Kiwideus
Okay, thats really helpful - thanks!
What do they like to sleep on? Hay? I know for sure, NO cedar!
When it comes to picking out a chinchilla from the pet shop (I Don't know any breeders), what do I look for?
That's right!! No cedar!!! Good job.
I'm always drilling that in to friends who adopt chins. We use pine bedding, and I used to use recycled newspaper bedding. To each their own preference. I only changed thinking Sarah might have been allergic to the recycled (she wasn't, but I just never switched back- I like the smell of pine!). They also like to have solid wood ledges they can sit on, and chew on! Wood ledges, and houses, and ramps, you name it!
Originally Posted by Momofmany
My SIL used to breed them and since we would have to house sit when she'd go out of town, we learned a little bit about them from her.
Our first lesson: females will kill each other if given the chance. She had 1 large cage with a male/female pair that lived together permanently (Kanga and Roo). She then had a long run of cages with females in each cage. The females had collars that prevented them from getting out of their cages but allowed her breeding male to hop between the female's cages. One of the females got out of her collar one night and went to another female's cage and one of them died from the fight.
They cannot tolerate a lot of heat. She also had amazon parrots in the room (sun porch) with the chincillas and we let the birds out one time while house sitting. We always turned the ceiling fans off in that room when the birds were out. When we couldn't get the birds back into their cages, we left for a few hours to do shopping, then returned to find about half of the chincillas had heat stroke. A quick trip to the vet to get some IV fluids to revive them (we had no way to transport them to the vet) got most of the revived.
She got these when she jokingly told her DH that she wanted a chincilla coat. So he bought her a chincilla breeding group and told her she would need to kill them, skin them and make her own coat. Of course one look at them and she could never do it!!
She eventually found a breeder to take all of them off her hands (her DH was killed in a car accident and it was too much work). She kept Kanga and Roo until they died and if I remember right, they weren't that old and one died shortly after their mate died.
Bottom line: if you are a fan of small rodent type animals, they make excellent pets. Personally, I wasn't a big fan.
Aw... I'm sorry you didn't have a good experience with chinchillas! Like all pets, they're not for everyone. Even though, I have to say, not all females will kill each other. My friend has three, and she keeps the females together and only the male separate- doesn't want any more babies! We keep all three separate, but only because our one chin that was raised as a breeder doesn't like people, and we don't want our baby picking up that bad attitude!
Yes, they are very sensitive to heat. We panicked last year when we had a heat wave. They also don't like drafts, or being wet. Makes it annoying to cool them off!
I usually tell people chinchillas have a life span similar to cats (this being a cat site, I'm sure many of you will be able to correct my opinions of a cat's life span!
). The average age is about 10-14 years, but they can live, rarely, up to 20 or so. My siggy says "Nigel, the chinchilla that just keeps ticking". Well, it's true! Though we don't know for sure, he's about 17 or 18 years old now, and still kicking!!
My sweetie, Sarah, though, was sickly her whole life. I consider her a rescue, and she was a small little epileptic runt- she only lived to about 9. Not bad considering her health!
MomOfMany is absolutely correct. If you like rodent types, you'll probably love chinchillas! Otherwise, well, they're not mini-kitties.