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Critters USA: Danger Defused

Make your home a safe haven for your chinchilla.

By Sally Blacke

Chinchillas are fun-loving, highly intelligent pets that enjoy playtime and interaction with their “chin parent” and other chinchillas, and they also enjoy watching TV (really!). If you’re a proud chin mom or dad, the following safety guidelines will help your chinchilla live a long, fulfilling life that is as trouble-free as possible.

A Safe Living Environment
Chinchillas are indoor pets that require a temperature-controlled environment that does not exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is also a factor and needs to stay below 60 percent. Chinchilla fur is the densest of any land animal (80 to 100 hairs per follicle), which makes them particularly sensitive to death from heatstroke.

The ideal chinchilla cage is made of metal (wire mesh) because it can’t be chewed through and allows the best ventilation. A chinchilla that chews the wrong material could suffer an intestinal blockage, and poor ventilation can lead to ringworm fungus or overheating. A wire cage should have a mesh width that doesn’t exceed 1 by 1⁄2 inch on the sides and 1⁄2 by 1⁄2 inch on the floor. This small mesh prevents legs getting caught and broken, as chins like to jump against and even run along the cage walls.

**For the full article, pick up the 2008 issue of Critters USA or click here to buy the issue.**


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