There are many ways that pet owners can bond with their pets, and one of them is by spending time outside with their furry friends.
Whether it’s letting your cat out on a leash or harness in your backyard or walking your dog, spending time outdoors with your pet can help you grow closer and have a ton of fun! So many chinchilla owners may wonder if they can bring their pet chinchillas outside too.
Can Chinchillas Go Outside?
This is a question to which the answer is a resounding no. It has been mentioned in previous articles that chinchillas have an extremely high sensitivity to temperature changes, so leaving them in a place where you cannot control the temperature, even for a short period, can cause severe problems.
In addition, there is a possibility that exposing your chinchilla to the outdoors can leave your chinchilla with the risk of getting wet from a puddle or pooling of water, or the risk of infection from foreign bacteria found on the ground.
The last concern you might have with letting a chinchilla outside is them running away or getting lost. Even if you have a play area outside, you have no guarantee that they won’t jump out of the playpen and run off (and if you’ve had a chinchilla jump out of their cage, you know how fast they can jump and bolt).
Can Chinchillas Live Outside?
Similarly to the reasons outlined above, we can’t recommend housing your chinchilla outside. The weather is perhaps the biggest consideration as to why this is a huge no, as you would have to deal with heat waves in the summer without an air conditioner and the low dips in the winter where your chinchilla could get too cold.
Instead, chinchillas should be kept in a cool room, away from direct sunlight If possible, having a portable air conditioner in the room with your chinchilla to keep the temperature regulated will let you be certain that your chin is staying comfortable and safe!
Can You Walk A Chinchilla
While chinchillas do need exercise, walks outside are not how they should be getting them. While being in your yard poses many risks to your chinchilla, taking them out poses even more risks, such as exposure to predator animals like unfamiliar and aggressive dogs, or the risk of an animal like a squirrel or raccoon with rabies infecting your chinchilla.
Another consideration is the use of a chinchilla leash and harness. There are no leashes and harnesses that are specifically made for use on chinchillas, given that taking them for walks outside is inadvisable, but some owners will utilize leashes and harnesses made for smaller animals like ferrets and hamsters.
The reason why it’s not a good idea to have your chinchilla in a leash or harness is because their bones; especially their rib cages, are so small and fragile that you could risk harming your chinchilla while trying to get them leashed.
It is also important to mention that, because their thick fur is so dense, a chinchilla leash and harness would often be rendered useless since they are able to easily slip out of such restraints by contorting themselves.
How To Safely Let Your Chinchilla Exercise
In order to keep chinchillas healthy and happy, it is important to keep them active, but all exercise has to be done indoors. There are many ways for them to exercise both inside and outside their cages.
For in-cage exercise, there are many toys and ledges you can install into your chinchilla’s cage to let them run around. There’s also our chinchilla wheel so your chinchilla can have access to safe exercise even when not out of their cage.
Out-of-cage exercise can be achieved by setting up a chinchilla playpen for your chin to run around in - the most important parts are to keep an eye out for any signs of your chinchilla overdoing it on exercising, and being prepared with a fleece-covered chin chiller in the case of overexertion.
How Can I Safely Take My Chinchilla Outside
Despite the fact that we still would not generally recommend taking your chinchilla outside, there are certain circumstances in which your chinchilla may need to go outside. Two common examples of this are: the transportation from one place to another, and an emergency within the home, such as a fire.
The most important thing we recommend in these cases is that they get into a cooler environment as soon as possible, such as a car, in order to prevent too much exposure to the outside elements, especially during summer.
If you have to take your chinchilla outside of their cage or normal play area (like transporting your chinchilla to the vet) it’s very important to keep them in a carrier cage so they don’t try to run and to prevent them from being exposed to other animals or bacteria.
What To Do If Your Chinchilla Escapes And Goes Outside?
This is the worst-case scenario for any pet owner but specifically chinchilla owners. With chinchillas being so small there are many things to be worried about, like them hiding in dangerous places, or being nearly impossible to find.
The first thing you should do is to stay calm and search your immediate surroundings, looking for any nooks and crannies you can find outside. We also recommend having your chinchilla’s favorite toy or treat with you as a way to lure them out of their hiding spot.
If you can't locate them directly around your house, you might want to start looking for existing burrows as chinchillas will naturally gravitate towards those of other animals; they are known to use the burrows of other creatures in the Andes.
Can I Let My Chinchilla Out Of Their Cage?
You can and should let your chinchilla out of their cage regularly to give them time to explore and exercise.
It is not recommended that you let chinchillas roam freely in your home as they could find hidden spots, cords to chew on, or any standing water to jump in, such as a toilet. Having a playpen for your chinchilla is absolutely vital to ensure their safety.
How To Make A Chinchilla Playpen
If you want to let your chinchilla out of its cage for a little while to exercise, then a chinchilla playpen is the perfect solution.
Some owners suggest finding something like a dog pen for the chinchilla to run around in with all of its toys in. There are also some owners who use tents with their chinchillas, but this does run the risk of your chinchilla chewing the material.
Another consideration to be kept in mind is the height of the dog pen Since chinchillas are climbers and they can also jump quite high, they could possibly get out of the playpen by themselves.
Once you have decided on the playpen itself, you need to decide on the perfect place for the playpen.
There are many locations you can choose for this, such as the area in which your chinchilla cage is placed, your kitchen, or even your living room so that your chinchilla has more room to roam around.
When you have these things figured out, you'll need non-pill fleece to line the playpen floor. In addition to providing safe flooring for your chinchillas, it also gives them the ability to burrow if they feel the need to do so.
What Should Be In A Chinchilla Playpen
Now with the general housekeeping out of the way, this is where you can spoil your chinchilla! There are many ways you can deck out a chinchilla play area, including toys, structures, and more.
A lot of owners will include a dust bath in the playpen so they can multitask and get dust bathing out of the way. Oftentimes, your chinchilla will go between running around the playpen and dust bathing.
In terms of toys, you have the option of extra pumice stones, willow balls, bamboo finger traps, and kiln-dried pine toys. It’s important to buy any toys from reputable shops so nothing that your chinchilla is playing with can hurt them.
Besides toys, you can also put things like fiddlestick houses, huts, and hideaways for your chinchilla to climb on and through.
Perhaps many chins favorites, you can add treats into their play area! You can look at our blog about safe chinchilla treats to know what’s best to give your chinchillas love, but slipping a handful of chinchilla treats into your chin’s play area can be a nice way to treat your chin.
While you cannot take your pet chinchillas outside, you can find other ways to have a close relationship with them and ensure they are getting the right kind of care and exercise.