Chinchilla exercise is a very important activity, not only for the well being of the animal, but also for its amusement. Weight issues and boredom can be consequences of the lack of exercise. On average, chinchillas should be set free of their cages for 1-2 hours a night in a room that is safe from any hazardous objects.
You should leave the cage for the chinchilla open so it can roam freely in the given space instead of being confined solely to the cage, while constantly supervising it. Always remember not to give too much area for your chinchilla to exercise as it may begin to feel insecure that they have been removed from their safety zone.
Chinchilla Exercise Check-List
The following are suggestions you may want to heed when your chinchilla exercises outside of its cage:
- All means of the chinchilla leaving the area are closed (doors and windows, for example).
- Placing carpet tubes so the chinchilla can hide are a great source of amusement for chinchillas.
- Avoid any hazardous obstacles such as unsafe heights from the ground.
- Electrical wires should be removed from the vicinity as they may think of them as food.
- Dangerous objects should be removed.
- If the chinchilla has access to a washroom, ensure that the toilet lids are closed, as the chinchilla might drown.
- You should always be careful when you walk around because you don’t want to step on your chinchilla.
- All other animals should be removed from the room.
- Always stay in the room while the chinchilla exercises.
Safe Chinchilla Toys
Plastic balls aren’t always safe for chinchillas even though they’re popular to use for chinchilla exercise. The reason for this is the small holes in the ball that allow room for the chinchilla’s toes and feet to get caught in, and needless to say, it can cause limb damage.
Also, these balls don’t allow too much air circulation for them. This becomes a major concern as the chinchilla exercises because they have extremely thick fur which can cause their bodies to overheat. In such cases, chinchilla owners have witnessed simple chinchilla exercise sessions turn into horrible injuries to the chinchilla, and sometimes even death. All of the toys below have been chinchilla approved as both safe and fun by our own chinchilla, for more check out our chinchilla toys page.
After Chinchilla Exercise
There are new chairs in the market that allow the foot area to be raised so you can relax with your legs inclined. These chairs can cause serious damage to chinchillas even though they’re comfortable for humans. Small rodents have been reported of being trapped in the openings of these chairs when the foot area is raised and when the chair owner declines the foot area, rodents like chinchillas can get trapped without anyone knowing, causing the rodents to suffocate. This shows that not only these types of chairs should be avoided, but the general vicinity that a chinchilla exercises in should be safe.
When the time has come for it to go back to its cage, you shouldn’t ever try to catch your chinchilla against its will. It will get terrified and it may even get stressed. What you should do is, inside the cage, leave a treat for it, it will then go in automatically. Even a dust bath in the cage should suffice.
Heat can be a safety concern while a chinchilla exercises because, unlike humans, they can’t regulate body temperatures in hot weather. Never leave a window open while a chinchilla exercises thinking that cool air will come through it. If a chinchilla exits through the window, it will become vulnerable to many animals as prey. Don’t think you’ll be able to catch it because by the time you leave the house, your chinchilla will probably be long gone. Always remember to let your chinchilla exercise freely, but safely as well.