Chinchillas are rodent pets quite like hamsters and guinea pigs. Because of this, it is easy to mistakenly assume that Chinchillas can be housed in smaller cages just like we see in hamsters and guinea pigs.
The sizes of ideal Chinchilla Cages vary:
Appropriate Size for Chinchilla Cage
According to the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics, the general cage size for Chinchillas should be 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet.
Chinchillas love jumping so you must make sure that their cage is tall enough for them.
Other owners suggest that cages should be short and not too tall since the Chinchilla might fall to the floor and hurt itself.
However, a short cage does not guarantee the safety of a Chinchilla either since it can still fall and injure itself in as little as two feet.
Experienced Chinchilla owners say that the trick to this is to properly set up the platforms inside the cage.
You certainly don’t want to put the platforms too far apart from the ramp or ladder as it poses a greater risk for your Chinchilla in case it misses a jump.
Angle the platform like a stair and set a one-foot gap between the platforms and the ramps so that the Chinchilla can easily jump across the next level.
Remember that in deciding the size of the Chinchilla cage, the bigger the better.
However, it is advisable to consult an experienced Chinchilla owner first before deciding to build a tall, high-ceiling cage.
How Big Should the Cage Be for A Pair or Multiple Chinchillas?
The 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet general measurement for a Chinchilla cage is ideal only for a single Chinchilla.
If you want to house a pair of Chinchillas or, better yet, multiple Chinchillas, you need a much larger cage.
Most owners recommend an extra one square foot floor space for every additional Chinchilla. Meaning to say, to house a pair of Chinchillas, your cage should be 3 feet by 2.5 feet by 2 feet.
If you want to house three or four Chinchillas, make sure to add another one square foot floor space for each one of them.
Don’t attempt to house a pair or multiple Chinchillas if you don’t have the appropriate cage size for them.
The cramped space can cause stress to Chinchillas and fights are very likely to occur.
How Many Levels Should a Chinchilla Cage Have?
It is recommended that Chinchilla cages have multiple levels for them to have enough space to move around.
A typical Chinchilla cage has three levels, each level having one-foot-tall space.
Chinchillas can jump up to 6 feet so it would be best if you have a cage high enough to accommodate those jumps. You can always customize your cage in case you want to have four levels or more.
Nevertheless, remember that length is more important than height. You do not have to force yourself to install high cages if you do not have enough room for them.
Instead, focus on the length of the cages as Chinchillas need bigger floor space.
The Danger of Having a Small Chinchilla Cage
Because Chinchillas are small, it’s easy to assume that it’s okay for them to be housed in small cages. After all, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other rodent pets are usually placed in small cages.
However, this assumption is entirely wrong since Chinchillas are active animals that move a lot.
Even experts argue that the small cages are not suitable for hamsters and other rodent pets themselves since they also need bigger space to move around.
Among these rodents, the Chinchillas are one of the largest, hence, their need for big cages.
In the wild, Chinchillas are used to living in small spaces since they live and hide in burrows and rock crevices. However, they do not stay there all the time.
They go out to play and look for food in the open spaces of the Andes Mountains.
Therefore, Chinchillas should be housed in bigger cages that somehow mimic their natural habitat.
If Chinchillas are kept in small cages, they become irritable and stressed which further results in fights and them chewing their own fur.
Chinchillas are sensitive animals. If they do not get proper supervision, they get mentally unstable.
Where Should the Chinchilla Cage Be Placed?
A Chinchilla cage cannot just be placed anywhere. For example, the cage of the Chinchillas cannot be put on the ground as it would make them anxious, being the prey animals that they are.
Instead, place their cages on tables or stands.
Chinchillas originally lived in the mountains where the climate is cool and dry, and thus, their cages should be positioned correctly inside the house in such a way that the ideal temperature is met.
Never place your cages near windows where they get directly exposed to sunlight.
Also, do not put them in areas with damp or humid conditions and in the near heat source.
Keep in mind that Chinchillas are sensitive to heat so make sure the temperature they are in does not exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit and not below 50 degrees.
What Are Things That Should Be Inside a Chinchilla Cage?
Finding the appropriate cage size for your Chinchilla/s is the first step in caring for them.
The next thing you need to know is the essential things needed inside the Chinchilla cage.
• Water bottle.
A stoppered water bottle that can be clipped to the side of the cage is best for your Chinchillas since it allows them to drink whenever they want without getting messy.
A water bowl is not advisable because your Chinchillas could get wet and dirty in case they spill the water from it.
• Food bowl and hayrack.
Keeping food bowls inside the cage allows Chinchillas to eat their pellets whenever they are hungry.
Hayrack is a bowl for hay snacks, another food for Chinchillas aside from pellets.
• Litter Box.
It will be easier for you to put a litter box inside the cage to lessen the amount of time you spend cleaning their cage.
• Hiding places.
Chinchillas need these hiding spaces to sleep or hide. They feel more secure burrowing in these tunnels especially when distressed or in fear.
Chinchillas are playful animals so it would be best to provide them with toys, specifically chewing toys, inside their cages.
Aside from obviously entertaining them, toys serve as a tool to file down their teeth because it can be dangerous if grown too long.
Your cage should have multiple levels for your Chinchillas to hop and run.
Most cages sold have built-in levels, but, if you purchased a simple basic cage, you can just construct ledges and platforms to suit the needs of your Chinchilla/s.
The materials mentioned above are essentials that are a must-have inside a Chinchilla cage. The next list of items is not necessary for you to have but they can greatly improve your Chinchillas’ living conditions.
• Cooling plate.
This can help a Chinchilla cool off in places with warmer temperatures.
Purchase this if you live in a warm region to stabilize the temperature of your Chinchilla’s body and to avoid heatstroke.
• Exercise wheel.
Chinchillas have a lot of energy so you can buy this exercise equipment for them to work out their energy.
If your cage is small or if you do not have enough time to play with your Chinchilla, this will help entertain them.
Pelleted bedding or shredded paper can serve as a cushion for your Chinchillas on the bottom of the cage.
The truth is, Chinchillas are naturally active animals that love to move around in big spaces, and thus they need a much bigger cage than you can imagine.
Deciding on the appropriate size of the cage for your Chinchillas should not be underestimated and overlooked as it is one of the most important factors in ensuring good living conditions for your Chinchillas.
The general rule of thumb is that the bigger the cage, the better it is for a Chinchilla.
• Chinchillas In Their Natural Environment
The Chinchillas originated in the Andes Mountains, South America, which is one of the longest mountain ranges in the world.
In the wild, Chinchillas move in colonies called “herds”. They are quite used to the cool and dry climate as well as the open space in the mountains.
Because of their origin, Chinchillas enjoy jumping, running, climbing, and crawling around huge spaces.
This is the reason why Chinchillas cannot be confined in small and cramped cages.
Always remember that the bigger the cage, the better it is for your Chinchillas.
Never underestimate the importance of choosing the appropriate size for your Chinchilla cage if you don’t want to regret it later.
Owning a Chinchilla is a serious investment on your part because they are sensitive animals, thus, you must provide them with a good living environment for them to survive.
It is better to save up for the ideal cage than to rush out to buy a small one and end up risking your Chinchilla’s health and safety.