The Chinchilla

Scienfic Name:- Chinchilla lanigera

Chinchillas are small furry rodents that originate from the Andes mountains of South America.   They can be quite nervous and skittish and need to be handled properly.

They have thick fur which can range from white to grey to black.   Because the fur is so dense,   parasites such as mites and fleas are unable to survive on the chinchilla.   If they are handled too roughly a condition called fur-slip could occur,   leaving bald patches that can take a long time to grow back.

Chinchillas can be kept in pairs or small groups,   as long as they get on well together.   Males shouldn't be kept together as they tend to fight.   If males and females are going to live together,   it is a good idea to get them neutered.

Habitat :- Housing must be well ventilated away from any draughts.   It should also be kept out of direct sunlight and in a fairly cool place,   as chinchillas do not tolerate high temperatures.   A wire mesh cage is ideal,   with a wooden nest box for them to hide in.   Wooden cages are not practical as chinchillas love to chew and will gnaw their way out in no time.   Chinchillas love dust baths, which are important for keeping their coat clean.

Diet :- Chinchillas should be fed hay as the main part of their diet.   The hay should be dust-free to prevent respiratory problems.   Other foods that can be fed include pellets,   and small pieces of fruit and vegetables such as apples and carrots with a small amount of raisins as treats.   These should be limited though,   as chinchillas have a very sensitive digestive system.

These animals do suffer from dental problems,   which can be hereditary or due to the diet.   Plenty of objects should be provided for them to gnaw on,   such as wooden blocks made from white pine,   or apple branches.

Life expectancy :- upto 20 years.

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