Chinchillas are unique animals in several ways. They don’t require much to be happy. The few things that they do need to remain happy and healthy are crucial to get right and to provide for them. One of the questions I often see asked in communities, and other forums is concerning the proper chinchilla cage sizing. How big should a chinchilla cage be? After going through this process, myself with my own chinchilla, here is what I can tell you on this topic.
So, how big should a chinchilla cage be? A chinchilla cage should be as large as your living space will allow for. It’s recommended a chinchilla cage is no smaller than 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet. If you can provide a larger cage than this for your chinchilla, it’s recommended. Chinchillas need plenty of space.
Now, I know that I just mentioned the minimum size requirements for a chinchilla cage but what I didn’t mention is the possibility of providing more space for your chinchilla when your living space and budget permits.
It’s always recommended to provide a chinchilla as much as space as humanly possible for a variety of reasons. That’s what I plan to detail in this post.
I want to cover everything you should know about your chinchilla’s preferences and what will ultimately keep them happy and healthy for the next 15-20 years.
Let’s get this party started.
Minimum Chinchilla Cage Sizing and The Reasoning Behind It
I have a few posts on this blog that discusses the crazy jumping and climbing abilities. This is one of the primary reasons that chinchillas need as much as space as possible. Chinchillas in the wild are used to roaming the mountains and using their natural abilities to jump and climb to keep them safe.
Chinchillas are a naturally hunted animal. Not the hunter. The ability to feel safe when they feel threatened is just the beginning part of the equation to keep your chinchilla safe and happy for years to come. In the next section of this post, I want to touch on the reasoning behind this even further.
Let’s dive into 7 tips I have for you to ensure you provide the correct cage for your chinchilla, the proper size cage for your chin and the right environment for your chinchilla which is equally essential to the cage sizing itself. Let’s jump into those details now.
7 Tips to Creating the Perfect Environment and Using the Perfect Cage for Your Chinchilla
I tried to narrow my scope to only 7 tips to keep you all interested. While I likely could have dropped some additional knowledge bombs on you, I thought that these 7 tips summed up everything crucial to know to ensure your chinchilla isn’t secretly mad at you behind the scenes.
Here’s a look at my top 7 tips.
#1-Understanding Your Chinchillas Natural Abilities and Behaviors
Like I stated previously, it’s essential just to do some preliminary research about chinchillas before adopting one or shortly after adopting one. It’s ethical and how you ultimately provide a safe and comfortable environment. Also, as I stated before, we know chinchillas love to jump and climb.
Chinchillas also are high energy animals when they are awake. Of course, this is only at certain times of the day and most of the time, chinchilla’s do sleep except in the mornings and evenings.
However, when they are awake, they want to chew on safe chinchilla toys and hop from ledge to ledge. They also love to interact with us as humans and grow to recognize us and love us. It’s crucial that we understand that we can’t always afford our chinchilla’s time to interact with us.
This is what makes it even more critical for us to provide an adequate size cage for our chinchilla to entertain themselves within. It’s also important to make it as fun as possible which we will touch on this later. It’s vital that we don’t allow our chinchillas to slip into depression or become restless within their cage.
Shockingly enough, this can happen quickly if we aren’t careful and don’t plan accordingly. For this reason alone, I’m happy that you found this blog post.
It shows me that you are not only interested in creating the perfect cage and environment for your chinchilla but that you genuinely want to ensure that your chinchilla is always happy.
Trust me, the cage alone can go a long way towards ensuring this takes place.
My Cage Recommendations for Your Chinchilla to Find the Perfect Balance
I currently use the Critter Nation 2 Dual Level Cage (Link to Amazon), and I only have 1 chinchilla. She uses every level, every shelf, and every hanging item I have placed in her cage. While I understand that these are designed to allow for a pair of chinchillas, I don’t believe you have to use that approach.
In my opinion, the dimensions of the Critter Nation 2 Dual level cage are perfect for one chinchilla. They come in at 36 inches long by 24 inches deep and 63 inches tall. As I said, my 1-year old female chinchilla has plenty of space and different ledges to express herself and act as a chinchilla should.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t feel terrible about placing a second chinchilla in her cage with her if they got along and were bonded correctly, but I personally don’t believe in going with a cage smaller than the dimensions we discussed previously.
Chinchilla’s just purely enjoy jumping and going crazy more than most people understand and to limit their abilities in a smaller cage to do this is not only unethical but borderline cruel. If, however, your home doesn’t permit a cage of this size, attempt to get as close to this size as possible.
I also keep a few of her favorite items to play with on the top deck to encourage her to move around and get up and active on the high levels.
Now that we know the basics on what size a chinchilla cage should be let’s move into more of the fine details and discuss tips 2-7 to give you even more of an edge on keeping your chinchilla happy and healthy.
#2-The Placement of Your Chinchilla Cage Matters Greatly, Don’t Mess This Up
While the size of your chinchilla cage matters substantially, the location of the cage matters just as much and needs careful consideration. First and foremost, you must get the temperatures correct and keep your chinchilla at ideal temperatures.
This simply means that if you elect to purchase the Critter Nation 2 cage that we discussed previously, you need to select a room of the home that won’t get too hot or too cold for your chinchilla. The temperatures should never exceed 75 degrees if possible and never should drop below 50 degrees.
Doing so could cause your chinchilla to overheat and potentially die, which is clearly something we are all trying to avoid. Choose a room that doesn’t take in too much direct sunlight, and that won’t get too hot. Also, keep in mind that A/C units in the house do fail from time to time.
My point with that statement is that if you decide to leave your chinchilla for the weekend or a few days, you don’t want to run the risk of the A/C taking a crap on you and ultimately causing your chinchilla to overheat.
A chinchilla’s fur is too dense, which is the primary cause for overheating.
Keep an eye on your chinchilla and always be aware of this potential. A sure-fire way to know if something could be wrong is to check your chinchillas’ ear.
If your chinchillas’ ear is turning red or showing blood vessels, this could be an indicator that your chinchilla is overheating, and you need to find a new room for your chinchilla to be located inside of.
Don’t worry if your room is away from you when making this decision. Chinchilla’s adapt to their environment very quickly if you give them a few days and don’t rush the process.
The Lighting in the Room for Your Chinchilla Is Also Essential
Lighting is also essential for your chinchilla and an area of cage placement that’s often overlooked. Chinchillas are like humans with how they see in the dark.
However, I prefer to keep at least one small night light on for my chinchilla when I’m done for the day interacting with her.
I don’t want her in a room where she can’t see as she jumps and climbs around throughout her cage. Not to mention the fact that I enjoy leaving her chew sticks and other items to play with, so I want her to be able to see adequately.
However, I don’t want to disrupt her sleep. Keep in mind that chinchillas are most active when it’s likely dark, so it’s tough to know the perfect blend.
I keep the lights on during the day because she is in my home office in my basement and when we are done with each other for the day, I leave one-night light on her for her to be able to see while I’m sleeping. It’s that easy.
While I may not know it all, I have found this to work well, and she hasn’t voiced many complaints thus far about my choices.
No barking, no squealing, and no other crazy chinchilla noises so far into my chinchilla parenting career so I will assume for now she is happy and content with the set up that I’m providing for her.
#3-The Inside of The Cage Is Equally as Important as The Cage Size
Okay, people. This is huge. This is another area not to get lazy with. First, as we stated before, spend the money on a good size cage. However, the journey doesn’t end here. Now it’s time to make sure your chinchilla has additional shelves, places to jump and plenty to do inside of the cage.
I can’t stress this enough. A big cage with only 4-5 platforms is not enough. The shelving is super easy to attach to the side bars of the cage, and you can even cut your own wood. Simply place the shelves in random spots on different levels to give your chinchilla plenty of hopping and climbing fun.
Create the Inner Chinchilla Cage Like A Rock-Climbing Venue
I frequently change my cage-setup just to keep my chinchilla active and never getting bored. I like to picture it like a rock-climbing wall. Always unique and with random jumps at different levels for her to climb.
Mix it up and give him or her plenty of space to jump safely and provide plenty of hanging toys and your chinchilla will love you greatly in return for your efforts.
Let’s move onto tip #4, which discusses the must-haves to never forget inside of your chinchilla’s cage.
#4-Don’t Forget About All of The Necessities Your Chinchilla Needs in Their Cage
Okay, some of these may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at the information I read in forums and other communities online. First and foremost, you must make sure you have hay-feeders inside of your chinchilla’s cage. I personally use two hay-feeders in my chinchilla’s cage.
I like her to have as much as she wants, and I stick to timothy hay blends. Additionally, you should have a bowl (glass) that also has your chinchilla formulated pellets offered to your chinchilla every day.
In case you aren’t quite aware of what a chinchilla eats, you need to read my post that details all the do’s and do not’s of a chinchilla’s diet.
It’s the previous link and a good starting point and baseline for basic knowledge for your chinchillas’ proper diet.
Next, we have the obvious water bottle attachments. Be sure you have a water bottle always supplied with fresh water on your chinchilla’s cage. I personally use two water bottles just in case I get stuck at work or accidentally do not notice a water bottle running low.
I have OCD like that, and it helps me sleep at night, so judge if you prefer, but it’s the way I operate. Outside of these items, you have items that need enough space to be placed inside of the cage such as hiding boxes, ramps, and chew toys, but you can view my other post for this information.
It’s a quick read and details everything your chinchilla needs inside of their cage from A-Z.
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and to make sure you are keeping the adequate size cage clean for your chinchilla.
#5-Keeping the Cage Clean Is Essential to Your Chinchilla’s Health and Happiness
I have several posts that go into detail about how important it is to keep your chinchilla’s cage clean regularly.
It’s a must.
This is easy to do. In fact, fleece is perfectly safe for your chinchilla.
It also makes cleaning the cage that much easier. I currently use this specially designed fleece liner (Link to Amazon) designed to fit the trays for the Critter Nation 2 cage I mentioned previously.
I currently have two pairs and don’t think the price on Amazon is unfair by any means for the value you get in return. All you need if you use these fleece liners is to wash them in cold water and continue to shop vac the poop pellets out of the cage daily.
Easy as 1,2,3. Seriously, cleaning the cage is easy, and one of the reasons I think owning a chinchilla, in general, is extremely easy compared to owning other pets or small rodents such as rabbits.
Let’s me say that one more time in case any of you are on the fence about adopting a chinchilla. Chinchilla’s are not hard to care for, they are extremely easy to take care of. Case closed!
Now comes the friendly debate about finding the perfect room not only for ideal temperatures but also for keeping your chinchilla feeling safe and away from most of the commotion in the household.
#6-Noise, Commotion, and Environment Should Also Be Considered for Your Chinchilla
This far into the post, we should now understand that we need a proper sized chinchilla cage but that we also have other considerations to keep in mind. One of those considerations comes down, ensuring your chinchilla feels safe and is isolated from other commotion that most households will have.
This includes keeping your chinchilla in a room separate from your dog. Also, I have a two-year-old that loves to scream and shout, so it made sense to keep my chinchilla in the basement where this won’t startle her.
Startling a chinchilla can cause fur slips and anxiety which is clearly not advisable.
Choose a room that can fit a cage that’s large enough for your chinchilla with proper temperatures, but that’s also somewhat isolated from the rest of the house for most of the time, so they can sleep when they choose and not be startled by loud noises, kids or other pets inside the home.
Lastly on our list is the essential needs inside the chinchilla cage, which can include the simple things your chinchilla may enjoy playing with.
Let’s jump into those details.
#7-Find the Perfect Blend Between Toys and The Essentials Inside the Cage
So, we now have the size discussed and understood. We know the temperature, location, and items in the cage are essential, but we also need to realize that the shelves by themselves just isn’t enough. Chinchillas also need other items such as hanging wooden toys that are chinchilla safe.
You see, chinchillas have rat-like teeth and need the ability to chew on various items that are safe. This avoids issues such as teeth grinding or other common problems that can cause significant health issues with your chinchilla if their teeth don’t remain healthy.
So, how do you keep a chinchilla’s teeth healthy? Take advantage of the large cage and hang wooden toys and place wooden chew sticks throughout the cage. Additionally, use items such as hay cubes to allow your chinchilla to play with and chew on.
These items are just as important as the other items we have discussed thus far into this post. A last but not as often advised option for a chew item in your chinchilla’s cage could be cardboard, but I’m an advocate to only to let your chinchilla chew and eat cardboard with supervision and not when you are not around.
However, I do know plenty of chinchilla owners that have never had issues with this and give their chinchillas cardboard regularly. Ultimately, that choice is yours, and it’s only essential you understand that some chewable items do need to present inside of your chinchilla’s cage.
No Matter How Big Your Chinchilla Cage, They Still Need Time Out of The Cage and To Interact with You
The last thing that I want to point out before sending you on your way is that nothing replaces the time your chinchilla spends with you. Chinchillas are friendly animals that enjoy human and other chinchilla interaction. A bond can be built, and it’s crucial to make time for your chinchilla each day.
Some chinchillas are cuddlier then other chinchillas, but at the end of the day, it’s the time you spend with them that makes the most significant difference. No matter how big of a chinchilla cage you opt to purchase for your own chinchilla, be sure never to neglect this quality time with them.
Final Word, Don’t Get Cheap on Your Chinchilla’s Cage, They Need the Space
So, let’s re-emphasize, how big does a chinchilla cage need to be? As big as your living space will allow and no smaller than the 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet recommendation we mentioned at the beginning of this post.
The next 7 tips we laid out for you were simply a bonus to help you along the way.
Ensuring you implement these 7 tips and provide your chinchilla with what I have laid out in this post will keep your chinchilla happy, healthy, and thriving for the next 15-20 years. I can promise you that. Outside of that, the sky is the limit, and the choices are up to you.
I’d love your feedback on this topic as well. How big do you believe a chinchilla cage should be? What’s the current cage that you are using for your chinchilla now? Be sure to share your stories and drop a comment below. As always, I appreciate you reading and thanks for stopping by. See you next time.