Before getting your chinchilla, here’s a checklist of things you need before getting a chinchilla:
1. A cage. Chinchilla cages should have plenty of room and be more than one story. Smoky currently has a feisty ferret cage but originally had a smaller, cheaper cage that worked very well for his first year. I also wondered about getting a giant dog crate and making stories with wooden ledges. Cages are one of the most expensive things when buying a chinchilla, but one of the most necessary.
2.Pellets. Chinchillas need special pellets with healthy nutrients for these exotic animals. I recommend Oxbow Essentials which I always try to get for Smoky. I heard Mazuri is good too, which I will try soon! 😉 Also, chinchillas slowly need to get used to their food. For example, if your chinchilla eats the oxbow pellets and you will switch to mazuri, fill 1/4 of his bowl with mazuri pellets and the rest with the oxbow. This should be his diet for one week. The next week fill half of his bowl his mazuri and the rest with oxbow. Try that for a week. The next week, give him 3/4 of mazuri pellets and the rest is oxbow. On the fourth week you can completely give him the mazuri pellets. Yay!
*Smoky uses a ceramic pellet bowl much like this one. enjoy!
3. Hay. Along with pellets, chinchillas should be given hay. Timothy hay is the best choice, because alfalfa is too sugary and sweet to be fed in large quantities. Smoky uses this kind of hay feeder, which is where you put your hay.
4. Nesting box or hammock. Smoky loves his hammock, which is almost exactly like this one. He has a nesting box too, but either hammock or nesting box works. Smoky has a little hay one:
3. Chinchilla babysitter. This is very important if you go on vacation or a business trip. This one wasn’t too hard to find for me, all I had to do was show my friends a picture of a chinchilla and now they bed me to go on vacation. You can also keep his cage at home and give a family member your keys so they can visit him/refill food bowl and water, clean cage twice a week or more. Also a travel carrier is a helpful thing to get.
4. Dust. All chinchillas need baths, but not in water. Their fur is soo dense that if they get wet, the water won’t dry. Therefore, chinchillas clean themselves with special dust that removes oils and dirt. Also, a bath house is good to hold the dust a keep it in, but we use a plastic container instead.
5. Water bottle. Then again, chinchillas can’t get wet, so buy a water bottle instead of a food bowl. 🙂
6. Cage bedding. Though I don’t fill his cage floor with bedding (I potty trained Smoky to go in his glass container with the bedding) It’s necessary either way.
8. **OPTIONAL*** but I very much recommend a wheel. The stainless steel wheel is a very good choice, though quite expensive (worth it, though.) The steel wheel is also quieter than the other wheels we have tried.
Now for the final and best step: your chinchilla! 😉