What types of cages are best for Chinchillas?
When it comes to providing the best for your chinchilla, it's always important to know what types of cages are the right fit for your little chinchilla(s). As one of the leaders in creators of chinchilla cages we know a thing or two about what is best for a chinchilla's home.
There are many options, but the best option is what's best for your chinchilla. As their caretakers, it is up to us to provide the safest environment for our pets. So what is best for chinchillas?
Our Chinchilla Condo is 30" x 24" x 24" and is our recommended minimum size for a single adult chinchilla.
What to look for in a cage
It is difficult to say what an appropriate minimum size cage for a chinchilla is. Nobody has done the study on what size a chinchilla is happier in- most of us assume a larger cage with more room to run around is going to be the best. A larger cage can fit more climbing ledges in it, has room for a wheel, nest box, and other enrichment type items, which provides a more engaging environment for a chinchilla. But it can also be more dangerous. An accidental fall will be worse in a larger cage than in a small one. Though adult chinchillas have very sure footing, young or disabled chinchillas do not. For chinchillas younger than 6 months, we suggest a cage no taller than 24".
Whichever size you do choose for your chinchilla the cage should provide plenty of space for at least two pets to roam and jump around. However, the bigger the cage you get it can also accommodate more toys. Having sufficient space for toys allows your pets to acquire their daily dose of fun exercise, which is an effective method to prevent obesity and other health issues.
Some say that the cage should be as tall as possible, as these critters are mountain natives and would love to jump and climb. A multi-level cage complete with perches, platforms, and ramps is ideal for chinchillas. But keep in consideration the safety factor. We hate to hear stories of chinchillas who have been injured from falling.
Due to chinchillas' amazing acrobatic behavior, it is important that you choose a chinchilla cage made with heavy-duty materials to withstand the countless stunts your energetic pets will surely perform inside. We suggest a wire cage as the best option as it provides the best durability throughout the entire cage.
We also suggest that the base of your cage should be solid, not wired. Wire grates are convenient for cleaning but are hard on your pets’ feet. A solid surface, on the other hand, guarantees your pets’ safety as there is no gap where their feet could slip through and get injured. Choose a cage with a base tray that you can line with fleece, wood shavings, etc. All of our cages are created with a bottom tray that is 1-1/2" tall powder-coated slide-out tray. The floor panel below the tray is made of 1/2" x 1/2" wire. When the tray is removed for cleaning our sheet metal flap keeps your chinchilla from escaping.
As we will continue to suggest, there should be no plastic parts or accessories inside the cage including toys, food bowls, wheels, etc. Chinchillas are notorious chewers and any amount of plastic is detrimental to your pets’ health. This is why our base try is metal. If you have to use a plastic tray make sure it is heavy-duty, chew-proof ABS plastic covered with fabric or plenty of loose bedding.
It is also important to note that the cage should be free of any galvanized coating and lead paint, which is hazardous to your pet when ingested. It's best to go with a powder-coated metal cage, instead. Besides its cost, it guarantees your pets’ health. Check out our powder coat safety article is you're unsure about powder coating.
Ramps and ledges need to be made out of safe to chew on woods, no plastic. All our wooden components in the cage are made out of kiln dried Pine. Check out the list of safe woods we have made in case you find a ledge or other wooden product for your chinchilla's cage.
Don’t forget that these little guys are covered with a thick fur that makes them look a lot bigger than they actually are. If the space between the cage's bars allows your pets to squeeze their heads out, then the rest of their body can follow. A good rule of thumb is picking out a chinchilla cage with no more than 1” of bar spacing. Less spacing is always fine, but all our cages are made out of 1"x1" wire and our chinchillas have yet to Hudini out of the cage.
Chinchilla cages need to have lots of ventilation. It should have maximum visibility and accessibility that makes interacting with your chinchilla hassle-free. It is not appropriate to keep chinchillas in a fish tank or other caging that prevents proper airflow. Their cage needs to provide efficient air flow to prevent heat stroke among your pets especially if you live in a humid area. Remember that chinchillas have dense coats that easily retain moisture and thus, expose them to fungal infections. Chinchilla cages should be made from metal and chin-safe wood; they need to be constructed with your pet's safety in mind. Any ramps, ledges, or flooring needs to be solid to assure that little paws and legs cannot get trapped or hurt.
It's also best to ensure the cage has large door openings that make it easy to clean the cage and it's helpful for putting in other ramps.
Ease of Cleaning
One benefit of selecting a rather large cage with large door openings is the ability to clean it with ease. The larger the footprint of the cage base the more your pets can poop and not be stuck rolling around a small concentrated soiled area. All our cages come equipped with a 1-1/2" tall powder-coated slide-out tray. When the tray is removed for cleaning our sheet metal flap keeps your chinchilla from escaping. This helps if you're going to be cleaning weekly.
We provide an array of sizes for both your budget and the needs of your chinchillas. Our mansion that is featured at the top stands at 48" tall, while our townhome goes up to 36" tall. For a travel size cage that is also collapsible it stands at 24" tall.
Whatever size you decide to go with, or if you get multiple cages for different occasions, make sure you're also getting the right size accessories
Other items for your cage
Those plastic wheels just won't do for chins, not only are they really unsafe, but you should never have plastic in a chinchilla's cage; they will chew on it and digest the plastic which is very unhealthy for them. Chinchillas need their exercise, but can hurt themselves on standard wire or spoked wheels. Our open-wheel design is made with a quality wood backing inserted into a 15" Diameter sheet metal ring. The ring is coated with a silver vein powder coating which serves as a grip for the chins 6-1/4" running surface.
Ramps, Ledges, and Hide Outs
Provide a hideout or two like our Chinchilla Nest Box to give your chinchilla their own bedroom in their house! Climbing ledges are fun for your chinchilla- and since you get to watch the acrobatics - they're fun for you too! We make all our wooden components out of pine, so make sure you're getting the correct and safe wooden parts for your cage, too.
We hope by reading this article that you feel prepared for your cage purchase. If you have already had the experience of getting or upgrading your cage, we hope this provided some additional insight. Please feel free to leave comments or questions below!
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