While we were considering adding a chinchilla to our family one question that kept arizing was if they were destructive. I will let you know what I found out on this as I’m sure you are wondering too.
Are Chinchillas Destructive? Yes, some of them are known to be destructive. They are notorious for chewing on baseboards, furniture, and just about anything they can get their teeth on. If they can reach it through the bars of their cage it will get nibbled on. They will need supervision when out playing and socializing so they do not chew on something dangerous like electrical cords and plastic.
Minimizing The Destruction
It requires a lot of effort to chinchilla-proof a room. A chinchilla that is kept with plenty of toys and attention is usually less likely to get bored and chew on things not meant for them. Keep things out of reach of the cage so they can’t get to it. When you have them out for playtime keep them entertained with other things so they are not attracted to things to chew on.
Also, a chinchilla’s teeth never stop growing so they will need plenty of toys, lava bites, and things to chew on. And these items will need to be replaced regularly. They are voracious chewers so a wide variety of things to chew on will help keep them from getting bored with just one thing. If they do not keep their teeth ground down they can actually get Malocclusion, a misalignment of the teeth, which can lead to them starving to death.
Do Chinchillas Make A Mess?
Yes, they can be very messy. Their bedding, hay, poop, and chewed-up bits can get knocked out of the cage. Many things can keep this mess down to a minimum. You can get guards for the bottom part of the cage to help the mess stay inside.
If you clean the cage out on a regular basis this will also help. Using a felt lining in place of bedding will help with mess and cost. The felt lining can be shaken out, and washed, and reused. It is also better on their feet. It will need to be washed at least once a week.
Some chinchillas only want a certain part of the hay. They will sometimes throw the parts they do not want out of the cage. The guards can help keep this mess down some however, once they start this it can be hard to stop. You could eliminate some of this by cutting off the part of the hay you know they won’t eat. You could put a small wastebasket where they throw it out most of the time and they can take care of the mess for themselves, HAHA.
Do a quick vacuum out when you do their feeding, this will only take a couple of minutes. It will get the poop, food, and chewed bits out so they are not getting knocked or thrown out. It will also be better for you and your chinchilla’s health.
Toys That Will Last Longer
There is a wide variety of toys for chinchillas. The Chinchilla Chiller Granite Stone by Kaytee is great and it will last a long time, and is good for their teeth Oxbow has a couple of toys that are larger and will last longer, The Play Table will allow them to get on it as well as just chew, and play, and the Play Post is larger too. There are several from Kaytee that have both wood and lava. The lave is great for helping keep their teeth ground down and clean.
There are several makers that have multi packages that will give your chinchilla a variety of chews and toys, this is a good thing so they can move from one to another when they lose interest in one. These are meant to be chewed on and will need to be replaced now and then.
You can also get tree twigs of certain trees, no evergreen trees. PVC pipe is good for them to play in both in and out of the cage. Cardboard tubes and boxes are great entertainment for them, they will get chewed up. Place a few boxes with holes in them on the floor during playtime and that is a good way to get them back to their cage when play is over.
Brytin has a solid wheel that is aluminum this will discourage them from chewing on it and is safer for their feet than those with little slots in them. These will help your chinchilla not get bored and not get overweight. They need a fair amount of exercise being kept in a cage.
There are many tips that can help you with keeping the cage and area around it cleaner and make it easier when cage cleaning day comes.
Keeping The Dust Bath Clean
You will need to have a container a bit larger than your chinchilla, the higher the sides and the more enclosed it is the less of a mess they will make. There are dust bathhouses that are specifically made for this purpose. However, it isn’t necessary to purchase one if you have something that you can use for this. You can use just about anything, and your imagination can up with many things.
Put between a ½ inch and 2 inches of the dust or volcanic sand on the bottom of the container, depending on how big your chinchilla is, and your chinchilla will have a blast. They roll, flip and spin to get the dust all the way to the base of the hairs. Their bath antics are quite fun to watch.
You will need to clean the dust after the bath to remove any debris that has come out of the fur. If the dust starts looking clumpy or dirty you will need to change it. You can usually use the dust for multiple baths so long as the chinchilla hasn’t soiled it.
Just give the bath a quick wash with soapy hot water or some vinegar when you dump it to change the dust. This will keep it fresh and clean for your chinchillas use the next round. It will also ensure total drying before you put new dist in. 2-3 baths a week is usually sufficient.
Do They Get The Dust Everywhere?
They will definitely flip the dust around, and depending on how large and enclosed your container is, will determine how much of the dust ends up out of the bath. This can be minimized by what you choose to bathe them in.
There are dust baths available for purchase that are fairly well enclosed. They usually have just a hole in one end of the house and are constructed of plastic or ceramic.
There will always be a bit of dust that gets out. By placing the bath on some newspaper or a rug you can contain the mess and make it easier to clean up afterward. If you give the bath in their cage it is a simple vacuuming job to clean up.
It is up to you as the chinchilla parent to do your job. Some chinchillas are just more prone to chewing than others. However, if you provide them with the right chew stuff and activity then you are less likely to have any chewing on the wrong stuff. When you have your chinchilla out never divert your attention from them, this is when the trouble will begin.