The burning and crucial question that chinchilla owners have, or get, is whether or not chinchillas can play and live outside. This question is essential for most chinchilla owners and for those planning to become one to avoid mishandling your chinchillas.
Domesticated Chinchillas should not live outside. It is vital for their survival that they should remain inside. Playing outside, however, is a different thing. They can play outside but under strict and complex guidelines, which we’ll discuss later on.
We might be deceived into thinking that chinchillas are initially from the wild, hence letting them live and play outside will not cause any problems. But this is not right. Wild chinchillas are entirely different from domesticated chinchillas, so you should watch out.
First, let’s talk about the reason chinchillas are not allowed to live outside.
1. The Habitat Is Not Suitable For Them.
To begin with, chinchillas have quite a complex and sensitive routine for outside living, with strict conditions. If these things are not met, it could put the lives of chinchillas in jeopardy. Putting chinchillas outside is another way of slowly killing them.
Unlike wild chinchillas, domesticated chinchillas have the perfect habitat where they can survive the weather conditions. It is entirely different from the environment in which we humans live.
Even if you build them a hutch, there is no guarantee they will survive in such an enclosure, and they will likely escape. When they do, you’d better hope you still find them alive, which could be very stressful for you as an owner.
Building a hutch can provide some protection indeed, but this is not enough to meet the living conditions they need.
Chinchillas are exotic and different from other animals.
Rabbits can survive outdoors.
Wild chinchillas live in an arid and semi-arid desert in South America. These places are typically warm but can become very cold because of high altitude. Aside from that, these places are primarily dry, and this is where chinchillas love to live.
The place where chinchillas lived in the wild is impossible to replicate in the place where we live.
Chinchillas have adapted to a place where it rarely rains because their furs should not get wet, and when it rains, the crevices in rocks can protect them.
This kind of habitat doesn’t exist in your living area, so you have to keep them enclosed indoors.
2. They Are Sensitive To Weather Conditions
You have to remember that chinchillas have outstandingly thick furs. This might help them in the coldness of the night, but it can also cause them to suffer under the scorching heat of the sun.
Placing them outside to live exposes them to extreme heat conditions. If you live in Miami or Florida or somewhere where heat conditions are extraordinarily high, you risk killing your Chinchillas.
You have to avoid exposing them to too much heat. They should live under a controlled temperature under 72 degrees. Anything beyond this temperature will result in heat exhaustion for your Chinchillas, who will overheat and eventually die.
When they sleep on their side, and their ears are becoming red, they are already overheating. The redder the ears, the more dangerous it can be for your chinchillas.
If this happens, take them immediately to your trusted or nearest vet office.
Aside from the heat, it would be best if you kept them dry.
Being wet is also their natural enemy because their thick furs result in more extended periods to get them dry. Keeping them outside will expose them to weather changes, and the hutch you provide them won’t protect them completely.
If they stay wet for a long time, they will die, and you don’t want that to happen.
Also, despite having thick furs to protect them in the cold weather, fur can’t shield them over prolonged periods of cold weather.
The hutch provides no certainty that they are adequately protected – especially in the cold weather. It’s in complete contrast to them being in the wild, where they could hide deep in the rock crevices to be warm.
3. The Presence of Predators or Other Pet Animals
The presence of predators and other pet animals is one of the primary reasons why they shouldn’t live outside.
As we all know, chinchillas are easily subjected to nervousness or restlessness. Seeing predators and other pet animals like cats and dogs trying to barge into their habitat will scare chinchillas and make them feel vulnerable.
When they are scared, their initial reaction is to start jumping, and their hunch doesn’t provide enough space for jumping, thereby making them more stressed than they already are.
If they force themselves to jump inside the hutch – which they often do, they physically hurt themselves and together with the stress they’re experiencing, they’ll most likely end up confused, distressed, and miserable.
There are also instances whereby their jumping capacity has helped them escape the hutch. However, to do so increases their dangers of surviving, and you have to find them as soon as possible.
You’re likely to find them anywhere near your home. They’ll probably be hiding under a car, an existing burrow, or any rock formation in your area.
Chinchillas are great when finding shelter, even if they are unfamiliar with the area. You must begin searching for them as soon as you notice they’re missing. Start looking in the places mentioned previously.
You can also use a live trap to catch them without killing or damaging them – hopefully, they are still alive.
4. The Dangers Of Neglect
This is, by far, the summary of all the reasons why chinchillas are not allowed to live outside. The dangers of neglect will threaten the lives of your chinchillas because keeping them outside can also mean neglecting them.
When they are outside, you cannot observe what is happening to them, whether or not they are overheating or need water and food, attention, and more.
You might be surprised the next time you visit them; you will no longer see healthy and happy chinchillas.
Keeping your Chinchillas indoors makes such a positive difference to your little pets. You’ll get to observe them more often, to see their health status and provide for them what they need like food, water, and attention.
They are social animals, and spending more time with them will be greatly appreciated. You’ll notice they are happier and healthier creatures.
Can Chinchillas Play Outside?
While it is not advisable to let your chinchillas live outside, it is allowable to let them play outside. Living and playing outside are two different things, and you can let your chinchillas enjoy the outdoor environment every once in a while.
However, here’s the catch – you need to have the following requirements to keep them safe and happy:
1. The Weather Is Perfect
Perfect weather only means that the temperature should be ideally suitable for them to play outside. It should not be extremely hot or cold, and of course, the area should be dry.
2. The Ground Should Be Clean
It would be best to clean the ground before allowing them to play outside. Remove any debris like broken glass, plastics, or small rocks that could enter their digestive system. There should be no objects left in the area except for their toys.
3. The Area Should Have A Fence
As we all know, chinchillas tend to jump when they are excited or stimulated, and they get these emotions when playing.
Letting them play outside without barriers will most likely result in their disappearance. Make sure that the fence doesn’t have holes in it. It should be 6 feet high to ensure that they cannot jump over it.
4. Put Them In The Playpen
If you don’t have a fence installed in your area, you can use a playpen and place it outside. Ensure that the playpen is big enough for them to jump and run around whenever they want.
Also, don’t forget to cover the lid of the playpen to prevent your chinchillas from escaping while performing their jumping activities.
5. They Should Be Supervised
Chinchillas are not like other animals where you can leave outside to play unsupervised. They have to be overseen while playing outside even though there’s a fence installed or they’re inside a playpen.
This is to guarantee that everything is safe, none of them escapes, and you still have the same number of chinchillas when you take them back inside.
If you own another pet or your neighbors have pets, you shouldn’t take your eyes off your chinchillas while they are playing outside. It isn’t safe for your chinchillas if other animals – like dogs and cats – can approach them.
If that happened, they would immediately become stressed and sufficiently disoriented to run and look for safety in various hiding places. This makes it incredibly difficult and time-consuming to locate them and calm them down all at once.
Moreover, supervising them while playing outside is to observe the weather conditions to see whether or not the heat is increasing or rain is coming.
When the temperature is rising, immediately transfer them inside to avoid overheating. The same should be done when there is rain approaching because chinchillas should not get wet.
So there you have it – in as much detail as we can give you, and with all the questions and comprehensive answers and reasons that we know of and have researched.
When you have pets, you love them and want what’s best for them. For this reason, you need to find out as much as you possibly can about them. Discover their likes and dislikes, their health and safety, and anything else that will help you take better care of them and make them happier.
This article is bound to help you understand your Chinchilla pets so much more so that you can realize the preceding information and better care for your pets.