Prepare yourself for some cuteness overload; your chinchilla is coming home!!!! This fuzzy munchkin will soon become your cuddle buddy. He’ll keep you entertained with his six-foot-high jumps and paw-dorable somersaults and surprise you with his excited squeals.
But before getting comfy in your lap, he’d like to check out his home. Yep, exotic pets have their demands!
So, how’s it coming along? Do you have all the supplies? Did you finalize any chinchilla cage setup ideas yet? No?
Oh, well. It’s time, human!
If it’s your first time parenting a chinchilla, you might need help setting up his crib. Lucky for you, we did some digging and found out all the details you could ever need, so you and your chin can live happily ever after.
A wire mesh 4x4x3 feet big, tall cage will work best. Attach the food bowl and the hay rack to the walls of the cage on the inside, above the ground, and the water bottle on the outside. Place hideouts on the floor and exercise wheel 1ft above the floor to avoid falls. Chew toys can be anywhere.
Ready to make your chinchilla the happiest little squeaker out there? Let’s build and set up his home.
Table of Contents
Setting Up a Chinchilla Cage – The Necessities
How to set up a chinchilla cage?
Chinchilla, the little whisker muffins, have a whole checklist of demands. Besides the usual food and water needs, they need a VIP lounge set up with places to chill and spots to play.
But you can’t just run to your nearest pet store and grab whatever you see. Everything needs to meet your chinchilla’s standards, from the furniture to the toys.
To help you out, here are all the necessities for a perfect chinchilla cage setup.
Your chinchilla’s cage is no joke; it’s your most important purchase in this journey. Chinchillas spend most of their time (23 hours or more) in their homes, assuming you give them at least an hour of human love and adventure outside their cages.
With all that time spent inside, your squeaker needs enough room to move around.
Also, since chinchillas enjoy showing off their jump-rope skills, make sure there’s enough vertical space to protect their little heads from bumps.
The ideal chinchilla cage size should be:
- 4 feet wide (or more)
- 3 feet deep (or more)
- 3 feet tall (or more).
What material should I get?
Now that you’ve committed to parenting a chinchilla get one thing straight – plastic is a no-go! Don’t even look at those flimsy plastic chinchilla cages.
But they’re cheap!!!
Yes, cheap and dangerous! Chinchillas are pro chewers. They see something and have an instant urge to sink their ever-growing teeth into it. And ingested plastic can mean blocked digestive systems, leading to death. So, no plastic.
Wood isn't safe, either. It contains toxic chemicals like resin that aren't healthy for your pet. Pick a wire mesh or metal cage with the cage bars spaced no more than 0.5 inches apart. The floor should be solid; chinchillas can get bumblefoot if the cage has wire flooring.
We recommend a metal cage like this one on Amazon.
Safety first! So, when setting up a cage for your chinchilla, pick bedding that’s safe for your little boo. Untreated aromatic wood shavings from pine and cedar are out of the picture. The aroma can disturb your chin’s respiratory tract. Plus, if he eats them, he might end up with liver or kidney disease.
Here are a few safe options for bedding that you must consider:
- Kiln-dried pine shavings – Drying the wood at high temperatures breaks down toxic chemicals.
- Pelleted bedding – These have high absorption and clumping properties.
- Fleece – This fabric bedding option is reusable, looks great with all the cute colors and patterns, and is safe.
You need at least two food bowls for hay and pellets. These should be made of ceramic or metal – never plastic! The dishes must also be heavy so your chin can’t trip them and create a mess.
Tip: Secure the food bowl to the cage walls first, and then fill it.
Chinchillas are devious little creatures. Once they figure out they can flip over the bowl and create a mess, they won’t stop until their demands are met. So, save yourself the extra cleaning work and get them a water bottle! It’s easy to install, offers automatic refills, and is chew-proof.
Just like guinea pigs, chinchillas prefer to eat hay on the go, so they don’t need a bowl for that. But they do need something to hold their snacks – a hay rack.
When picking a hay rack, make sure it’s large enough for your chin’s daily portion. Get one that attaches to the cage walls to protect the yummy grass from chinchilla pee.
Chinchilla Dust Baths
Water baths and chinchillas? No, thank you!
Well, a chinchilla’s fur is pretty dense. If he gets wet, his fur will trap the moisture, which can take a very long time to fully dry. The longer the moisture stays in, the higher the chances of fungus growing and multiplying. It can make your chinchilla lose his precious soft fur.
Then how do I clean my chin?
The best way to keep your chinchilla oil-free is to give him a dust bath a few times a week. It’ll help eliminate oils and moisture from his fur and keep it clean. You can buy chinchilla bath dust online or make it at home with a pumice stone.
Tip: Remove the dust bath from your chinchilla’s cage in thirty minutes. Otherwise, he’ll pee in it!
Chinchillas, although fun and playful, have tiny, fearful hearts. In the wild, they hide from predators and seek safety in hollow logs or crevices. Give them a similar safe haven inside their homes.
Again, cross out plastic hideouts. Get a metal or a kiln-dried pine wood hideout. Cozy it up a bit with fleece lining, and your chinchilla will use it as his bed.
We recommend an adorable hideout like this one on Amazon.
Shelves, Ledges, Bridges, and Ladders
Chinchillas like to jump, climb, and explore. Adding shelves, ledges, and bridges can give them a playground inside their chinchilla habitat.
You should also have ladders to connect all the shelves and ledges. Make sure that all platforms are attached securely to the sides with screws. You don’t want your pet falling off!
We recommend an all-in-one suspension bridge like this one on Amazon.
Let your chinchilla lounge in style! Chinchillas love hammocks and will use them as beds, play mats, or just a place to relax.
Since hammocks are made of softer material, they’ll be gentle on your pet’s tiny feet. Fleece hammocks are the best choice here. They won’t irritate or scratch your chinchilla’s delicate skin. Avoid vinyl and plastic hammocks.
You can attach it to your chin’s cage walls or suspend it with strings or cords from the top.
Chinchichillas are high-spirited, fun-loving creatures. They need toys to keep themselves entertained and prevent boredom.
Toys can also help your chin stay active by running, jumping, or climbing on them. So, don't skimp on this one! Here are some of the best chinchilla-friendly toys you can get for your pet:
Chinchillas are notorious chewers. They love gnawing on wood blocks, dried corn cobs, loofah sponges, and apple tree branches. So, chew toys are more than just cage accessories; they are an investment for your chin’s dental health.
Chinchillas need at least an hour or two of physical activity each day – no excuses! An exercise wheel is an absolute must-have in any chinchilla cage setup. The bigger, the better! Look for a wheel with a solid running surface and no grates or bars. They can hurt your chin’s delicate feet.
We recommend a purple and white silent spinner like this one on Amazon.
Did you know that chinchillas enjoy running through and under secret tunnels? They love to explore these hiding places. Plus, they can add some fun to their playtime. Some days, you might even find your pet curled up in one of the tunnels, trying to catch some Z’s.
PVC pipes can make good, sturdy tunnels. Treated wood will work, too.
Best Chinchilla Cage Setup Ideas – The Layouts
Okay, chinchilla owners, now that we have all we need for your pet’s cozy palace, let’s check out some cool ideas to set it up.
You can't do a hap-hazard, "I-like-it-here-better" kind of arrangement. It must be danger-proof and chinchilla-approved. These ideas will help you create a safe, spacious home for your chin that looks perfect.
The Fancy Setup
Your tiny chin deserves a luxurious home. So, why not set it up like one?
Get a really tall chinchilla cage (or convert a bird cage into your chin’s home) and fancy it up with cute toys and colorful furniture.
Here’s what you can add to the cage to make your chin feel like royalty:
- A multi-colored, cute-patterned fleece hammock hanging from strings
- Food bowls with cartoon characters on them
- Ladders descending from the top ledges
- A no-drip water bottle with a sipper
- A silent wheel spinner
The Layer Setup
How about a three-story apartment for your little guy?
If you like the idea, here’s how you can divide each portion for different activities:
- Bottom Layer: Exercise wheel, sand bath, hay rack, water bottle
- Middle Layer: Hideout, hammock, water bottle, food bowls
- Top Layer: Toys and nest boxes
Take inspiration from the setup above. However, we recommend you find a way to connect each level with some bridge or ladder. It’ll only make the setup more fun and give your pet an easier time running around his home!
The Classic Setup
Some of us don’t have a lot of space to spare for our pet’s home. So, if you’re one of them, don’t worry! You can still make your chinchilla happy with the classic setup.
Get a large-sized rectangular cage and set it up neatly. Since there isn’t a lot of room for jumping in this setup, try to keep the floor roomy but cozy.
What should you put in the cage? Here’s a list for starters:
- A hammock and comfy-looking house (your chinchilla might love both!)
- A hay rack, a food bowl for pellets (secured to the cage), and a water bottle
- A hideout and a few chew toys
- Ledges and shelves so your chin can climb around
- Exercise wheel (which should be big enough for him to run comfortably)
How to Build a Chinchilla Cage Step by Step
I’m low on budget. Is there a way I could do a DIY chinchilla cage?
Of course. What’ll express love better than a homemade chinchilla cage for your beloved pet? Plus, it’ll be way cheaper!
So, how to build a chinchilla cage?
What are you planning on using as your chin’s home? A wardrobe unit? A bathroom dresser? A bookshelf?
All these options will make amazing homes because of their abundant vertical space.
Supplies for a DIY Chinchilla Cage
Now, no matter your choice, you need a few supplies for the job. Here’s a list so you don’t feel lost in the process:
- A water-resistant glue (for binding wood, fabric, and plastic)
- Wire mesh with 1/2″ to 3/4″ hole spacing
- A jigsaw or a handsaw
- Heavy-duty screws and nails
- Hammer and pliers for the installation of mesh panels
- Kiln-dried wood to build shelves and ledges
- Measuring tape
Steps for Making Your Own Chinchilla Cage
Moving on, let’s learn how to make a homemade chinchilla cage:
- Empty the furniture you will be using. Ideally, use 3/4″ plywood to line the back and sides of your DIY cage.
- Cut the mesh panels in sizes according to your plan. Attach it securely with screws to the frame of your cage.
- Now, get creative! Start building shelves and ledges inside the cage for your pet’s entertainment. Make sure to secure them with nails or screws.
- Use non-toxic paint and primer coatings on the hutch to make it more attractive.
And just like that, you have the structure of your chin’s home ready.
Making Chinchilla Cage Accessories
Wow, human, you’ve come a long way with your pet’s home. Good job.
Now, all you need to learn is how to make your own chinchilla cage accessories. Below are some tips that’ll help:
- Use any heavy bowl from your kitchen as a food bowl. Make sure it’s clean.
- Pick a small tub from your bathroom and use it as a sand bath.
- Cut a few wood blocks for chew toys and thread some ropes between them to make swings.
- Make an attractive hammock out of fleece fabric by sewing it together.
- Drill holes in a large PVC pipe to make a tunnel for your chin.
- Create small hideouts using cardboard.
Done! So, how much did you save? winks
You’ve invested a lot of time making your chin’s home. If you don’t want your hard work to go to waste, keep up with your cage-cleaning routine. It’ll keep your pet free from diseases and infections. Plus, it adds years to the life of his home.
Since chinchillas and hamsters have cages with similar supplies, you can refer to this hamster cage-cleaning guide here.
Wrapping Up the Cage Fun
We all want our chinchillas to live a happy and healthy life. And the best way to make that happen is to get them a safe, comfortable home.
Thanks to this article, we now know that chinchillas need roomy cages that are at least 4x4x3 feet in size. Pick wire mesh or metal cages only.
Chinchillas also need some care essentials like food bowls, hay racks, water bottles, and dust baths. Of course, furniture and toys are also essential for their mental stimulation. Now, you only need to pick one of the chinchilla cage setup ideas we discussed above and get started.
If you’re trying to cut the cost of putting together a chinchilla cage, our tips on how to build your own chinchilla cage will help you get started.
Did you find this article interesting?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we help you make the best decisions to keep your pet happy and healthy.
If you’re looking for more chinchilla-related help, visit our website.