The Many Blunders of a Chinchilla Owner

17 Jul

 

Chinchillas aren’t easy. To be even a semi-decent owner, you have to do a whole lot of research on them.

I have a story for you. It isn’t the first time something I’ve had to deal with an entirely new situation with my chinchillas. Last night as I was feeding my chinchillas, my lady, Pandora, decided to take a spin around my bedroom. My kitties weren’t in the vicinity, so I closed the door that leads to my combined bedroom/hallway-closet/bathroom to let her run around until she was ready to come back to her cage. This isn’t out of the ordinary, so I sat on my bed and tried to get my phone to work.

Then I heard a splash. It could only mean one thing: Pandora jumped in the toilet.

I bounded off the bed into the hallway to catch her and see the damage. It wasn’t as bad as I thought; chinchillas are such fast, ninja-creatures that the only thing that got wet was her tummy. My first thought flew straight to all of the chinchilla lore out there.

If chins get wet, they get moldy.

If chins get wet you have to shave them.

And so on. Then, my thoughts ended at a website that talked about blow-drying your chinchilla if it gets wet, and the only thing was to make sure they didn’t overheat or get a chill.

It was my best option, so I wrapper her up in a towel and tried to dry her as best I could (which isn’t an easy task if you take into account the fact that chinchillas let go of their fur when stressed). Then, I put it on low cool and held her up and aimed it at her tummy, then alternated to warm, and back until it was almost completely dry.

Much to my surprise, Pandora LOVED the blow-dryer.

I let her fur dry the rest of the way over night, and gave her a dust bath to top her off the next day. Good as new.

So for any of you out there who own chinchillas or might be interested in getting them, keep this in mind:

1) Their tails don’t fall off like lizards do.
2) They only need at MOST a few pellets – feed them most to all [timothy] hay.
3) Treats are really unnecessary and can be bad for them, so keep them to less than one a day (and by no means more than that). They naturally eat very bland diets.
4) Most of all, don’t be afraid to get creative. My vet made a cone for Pandora out of radiograph film, I use bird perches as chin perches, and I found out my lady loves the blow-dryer by an unfortunate mishap.

 

What kind of pets do you have? What kind of mishaps have you had? Any chinchilla advice to share?

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