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Handling Chinchillas

Chinchillas are fairly quiet, gentle animals that require very little care. If handled when they are young, they remain tame and docile with regular handling. They have a rather delicate rib cage so they must be handled with care to avoid injury.

Slide your hand under the chinchilla's chest and gently lift while supporting the hind end with the other hand. Cradle the animal next to your chest.

Be careful not to grab the fur. One of the chinchillas' defenses is throw off hair. If a predator tries to bite a chinchilla, the chinchilla will release fur, leaving the attacker with a mouthful of fur while the chinchilla escapes.

Chinchillas need to dust bathe to maintain their luxurious coats. This is best accomplished by removing the animal from the cage and allowing them to dust bathe in a room that is easy to clean. Put the dust bath (volcanic ash) in an open container like a cat's litter pan. Fill the container about 1 inch deep with the dust. Place the chinchilla near the pan and watch the fun. (Placing the litter pan in a dry bath tub, or shower stall makes for easier clean up.) Let the animal dust bathe for 15 -20 minutes once or twice a week.

Traditionally pine shavings have been used as bedding material for these animals, but recent studies indicate that the phenols in pine that cause their aroma, also can lead to health problems in animals that have direct exposure over an extended period of time. Aspen bedding is a much better and safer choice. Never use cedar shavings for chinchillas, as the phenols are very strong and cause serious respiratory, skin, coat and liver problems.

Back to Chinchilla Information.

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