Chinchillas are tiny.
So you can just put them in a small cage, right?
Well, if you’ve spent any time on forums or FB groups frequented by chinchilla owners, you’ve probably noticed that many of them insist you get a pretty large cage for this tiny rodent.
Why is that? Do chinchillas really need cages that big?
The clue is in their personalities and their physical abilities.
Once you understand those, you’ll understand why most owners recommend a large cage.
Keep reading to learn if chinchillas truly do need a large cage and why it is so important.
- 1 Do Chinchillas Need Big Cages?
- 2 Why Chinchillas Need Big Cages
- 2.1 Chinchillas Spend Most Of Their Time In Their Cage
- 2.2 Big Cages Don’t Cost Much More Than Small Ones
- 2.3 Chinchillas Live 15+ Years So Give Yours A Large Cage
- 2.4 Many Owners Adopt A Second Chinchilla Which Requires A Bigger Chinchilla Cage
- 2.5 Large Cages Allow For More Toys, Shelves, And Accessories
- 2.6 Get The Largest Chinchilla Cage Your Living Space Can Accommodate
- 3 Chinchillas Need Big Cages: Final Thoughts
Do Chinchillas Need Big Cages?
Yes, chinchillas need big cages. Vertical size is especially important, because they love to jump and climb on multiple levels throughout their cage.
Chinchillas additionally enjoy having the space to run around and play with various items within the cage. The bigger the cage, the better for your chinchilla.
While this may answer the specific yes or no question, it does not answer how big. The first thing I recommend if you want some specific cage size requirements, is to visit my post on the subject. It’s all about how big a chinchilla cage should be.
If you just want some recommendations for actual cages that are ideal for chinchillas, check out my article on the three best chinchilla cages.
It reviews and discusses the best three cages I’ve purchased, tested and used with my chinchilla. It also has additional advice on buying a cage for your chin.
As for this article, we’re going to cover some of that information, too. First, we’ll look at the reasons chinchillas need big cages and then get into more details.
Why Chinchillas Need Big Cages
Chinchillas have too much spring in their step (so to speak) to be confined to small cages. Their ability to jump and climb makes them very agile and energetic creatures.
If you need information on these topics, you can visit my post discussing if chinchillas jump or the one covering if chinchillas climb here. Those two posts will give you a better idea as to why a big cage is critical for chinchillas.
Chinchillas Spend Most Of Their Time In Their Cage
Chinchillas are not like dogs or cats. They can’t be left to freely roam the house and wander around. You should never let them out at all unless you have a chinchilla-proofed room and you are also there to supervise.
Letting them roam around on their own is dangerous and the specific reason I have a post dedicated to the topic. It’s all about if chinchillas can free roam the house.
Because they can’t roam on their own, that means they are confined to their cage for at least 23 hours a day, and sometimes more. You want to make sure your chinchilla is mentally stimulated and happy in its cage. A large cage is vital in order to achieve that.
Big Cages Don’t Cost Much More Than Small Ones
Here’s another important thing to keep in mind. It’s not going to cost you much more to get a large dual-level cage for your chinchilla.
The article I linked to above about how big a chin cage should be explains that further.
But basically, a normal chinchilla cage is going to run you around $100 to $200. A quality dual-level cage will cost you around $150 to $400, depending on which cage you select.
Is it worth limiting your chinchilla’s space over a few dollars?
I could see the argument if we were talking several hundreds of dollars, but we are not. Save up the few extra dollars and get the cage your chinchilla needs to remain healthy and happy. It’s the ethical approach and your chinchilla will surely appreciate this long term.
Chinchillas Live 15+ Years So Give Yours A Large Cage
Here’s another thing a lot of potential chinchilla owners fail to realize. We aren’t talking about a hamster, or even a rat, here. Those two rodents don’t have the lifespans that chinchillas have.
When you invest and decide to purchase a chinchilla, you are in for the long run. Since this is the case, it doesn’t make sense to purchase a small chinchilla cage first and then upgrade later.
This should only be the case if you are strapped for cash during the initial investment. I talk a lot about the initial cost of chinchillas in my post about why chinchillas are so expensive.
Anyway, I think you get the point. Since you have over a decade to grow and bond with your chinchilla, get it the large cage it deserves.
Another factor is the size of the actual animal. Sure, chinchillas are small creatures, but some of them do grow quite a bit larger than others. Read “How Big Do Chinchillas Get?” for more on the average size of chinchillas.
Many Owners Adopt A Second Chinchilla Which Requires A Bigger Chinchilla Cage
Don’t think for a second that you will never be this person. I thought I’d never get a second chinchilla either. I’ve only had my chinchilla for about 18 months and I’m getting a second chinchilla soon.
The whole goal when getting two chinchillas is to pair them and bond them. This allows them to live together, get more social interaction and have a cage mate to play with.
Again, I know new chinchilla owners may disregard this statement.
Eventually, you will realize you may want a second chinchilla. You can read my post about if chinchillas do better in pairs here. Sometimes a chinchilla does better in pairs, and sometimes it doesn’t work out.
Nonetheless, after getting your first awesome chinchilla, the desire to adopt a second is practically inevitable.
Large Cages Allow For More Toys, Shelves, And Accessories
Again, if you are a newer, or soon to be, chinchilla parent, you may think I’m crazy. But here’s the deal.
You are going to enjoy spending the small dollars on your chinchilla all the time. There are tons of accessories, toys, and items you can get for a chinchilla to enjoy.
This can include wooden shelves, hammocks, play toys and hiding boxes. They even make nifty wooden bridges for your chinchilla to climb on.
If you purchase a small chinchilla cage, you are going to be limiting your options early in the game. Purchasing a big chinchilla cage allows you to have much more fun with the adventure.
I have items all over my chinchilla cage. I have four wooden shelves, two bridges, two hiding boxes, two water bottles, and many other toys.
It allows to jump and climb around and have something to do no matter what the situation may be. No need to cut this ability short when it only comes down to a few dollars anyway.
Get The Largest Chinchilla Cage Your Living Space Can Accommodate
Here’s a consideration we haven’t discussed yet. I understand that some people may not have the space in their home to get the biggest cage.
This is perfectly okay and does not mean that you shouldn’t adopt a chinchilla.
Just make sure to read the measurements on the cage you are looking to purchase. My post about the best chinchilla cages above even details the measurements for you.
Pick the room in your house where you plan to keep your chinchilla cage. Measure out how much space you have available without pushing the limits.
If it needs to be smaller than a dual-level cage that’s perfectly fine. In these situations, just ensure you always make plenty of time to let your chinchilla out of the cage every day.
Don’t get me wrong either, you need to be making time to get your chinchilla out every day regardless. But even more so if your cage is on the smaller side.
I think you get my point.
Don’t get overly stressed if you can’t get a dual-level mansion cage on day one. However, if you have space and the budget, plan now and get the larger cage. Again, your chinchilla will be much happier and mentally stimulated with a larger cage.
Chinchillas Need Big Cages: Final Thoughts
So, let’s recap briefly. Chinchillas absolutely need a big cage. However, as stated several times, don’t let this hold you back from adopting a chinchilla.
They are enjoyable pets to own and bring their owners and families plenty of joy. If you can’t get the large cage now, set a goal to do so in the immediate future. It will be well worth it over the course of the next 15-20 years.
Your turn to chime In.
What are your thoughts on the subject of whether chinchillas need a big cage?
Do you believe I left anything out on why chinchillas absolutely need a big cage?
Which chinchilla cage do you recommend to the readers?
Be sure to share your stories and drop a comment below.
As always, I appreciate you and thanks for stopping by. See you next time!
Kelly (male) says
My wife and I, we’ve had Lily & Chole for 8 years now, they were 5 months apart before their bonding (which took about another month), they live in a 350 sq. ft. insulated room. Painted concrete floor, walls are double insulated, the walls are protected by a 4ft. high screen with a kiln dried pine frame. A frame that can be changed out because they love to chew it. Honestly I designed it that way, for that sole purpose. It is air-conditioned and humidity controlled year around. I also have a backup power source in case the power ever fails. They have free roam of the the room 24/7-365, one critter nation is 3 singles stacked and I have one other single that is primarily for their dust bath, which I have also designed and make. All of their living quarters are fleece lined and for 8 years, the room gets swept and cleaned everyday, the liners get change everyday and laundered every other day. For 8 years I have done this, I do this for my love for them and to provide them with as much freedom as I can possibly give them, also to give the the cleanest environment I can possibly give them. They also are provided with their own 42″ flat-screen TV, for visual and mental stimulation, I also have a baby cam installed in the room to monitor temperature and humidity, also giving me the satisfaction they are safe and comfortable.
Wow. Sounds like they are living in the lap of luxury for sure. What lucky chins!