There are many other things besides a wire cage that a chinchilla requires inside their home. Just like a human has necessities for their home, a chinchilla’s cage has to give them room to explore, play, eat, and sleep.
And also like a human’s home, a chinchilla cage has things it absolutely needs, and things it could do without, but would be a good idea to include anyways.
Chinchilla Cage Essentials:
- Water bottles
- Pellet bowl and a hay rack
- Litter box
- Chin-chiller cooling plate
- Chew toys
- Ledges and platforms
Here are two inclusive lists on what your chinchilla’s cage needs and what would be nice to include for the enjoyment of your chinchilla:
It may come as a shock, but chinchillas have to hydrate just as much as any other living thing on the Earth.
Therefore, you must have a good, sturdy water bottle for your pet that is easy to drink from.
Water is the most important thing to any living being, so it is most important you have this.
Water bowls run the risk of spilling and wetting your chinchilla’s fur, so it is not the healthiest, safest option.
Try your best to get a stoppered bottle that can clip to your cage, as it can prevent such spills, but also allow for your chinchilla to drink easily whenever they so wish.
Besides having unlimited access water, chinchillas need food as well for obvious reasons.
A food bowl is essential to not only leave food readily available to your chinchilla to eat whenever they want, but it is also to help prevent your pet from spilling and strewing food all over their cage.
It also helps keep their food uncontaminated from the chinchilla’s daily habits.
Hay racks are simply bowls in which to put hay snacks—a favorite food for domestic chinchillas—for them to graze on throughout the day in addition to their normal food pellets.
Their regular food is usually enough, but who does not love a treat? Hay snacks provide variation in their diets, so having a hay rack is just as essential as a food bowl.
While not all chinchillas can be potty-trained—especially if you adopt an older, set-in-their-ways chinchilla—if you have a younger one, a litter box would be useful.
They can be trained to only use the restroom in that one spot, so it will help the cleanup of their bodily fluids.
Thankfully, it is possible to potty train a chinchilla to defecate in a singular spot like a litter box. Therefore, having a litter box in your cage will greatly reduce your effort in cleaning the cage.
Read more on our useful guide on how to clean your cage from chinchilla urine.
This is especially a necessity if you do not have a temperature-stable environment.
A cooling plate is a stone-like piece to put inside the cage where the chinchilla can lay down to cool off.
Basically, it helps the chinchilla avoid getting overheated on warmer days and avoiding heatstroke.
Chinchillas have no sweat glands and have very thick fur, so it is very easy for them to get overheated without you realizing it.
If you have something like a cooling plate, they will instinctively search out that coolness to help themselves out.
Check out our guide on best chinchilla toys and accessories for this popular item.
Chinchillas are not technically nocturnal, but they do sleep a lot during the day.
Having structures within their cage that provide them with a place to hide and nest down for sleep is helpful to them when they are tired.
Hiding spaces are also just spaces where your chinchilla can hide and feel secure in times of fear or discomfort.
These structures are much like the decorative rocks you find in fish tanks, where the fish will swim to in order to hide as you pass their tank.
Chinchillas are not nearly as skittish as fish, but they do like to have a nested spot to feel safe in.
These spaces can be anything like a box or a tunnel in which they can bury themselves into and make themselves feel more secure.
Chinchillas are fun-loving animals. They like to play—a lot. Plus, they like to chew on things.
So, what better things to have than wooden sticks for them to both play with and chew on?
There are various types of toys for chinchillas, but the overall purpose of the toys is to keep the chinchilla entertained and to keep their constantly growing teeth filed down naturally—if they grow too long, it gets uncomfortable and hazardous.
Wood toys are best, but there are some plastic options. It is not advisable to just go out and pick up some sticks from your yard for your pet to chew on, as some types of wood and fungi can be toxic to your pet.
Chinchillas are vertical animals—which means they love to climb and hop.
In the wild, they live in mountainous regions, with lots of places to climb and explore, so levels in their cage helps them appease this instinct.
Having various levels to play on within their cage is a smart idea because it can give them the illusion there is more room in their home than there actually is.
Levels can turn a chinchilla’s cage from a simple box, to an amusement park. There are infinite levels to explore!
Some cages come with levels installed, which is awesome, but you can also insert your own—as long as you do it safely.
The absolute best thing you can do for your chinchilla is get them a nice, big cage, that has lots of levels to hop and climb around on.
Good-to-haves in a chinchilla cage
To reiterate, the previous list was for the things that are absolutely necessary for your chinchilla’s cage, but the following items are things that would be beneficial to increasing your chinchilla’s overall happiness.
These are good things to have for the sake of cleanliness.
They help ensure that things like substrate, urine, waste, and litter dust stay inside the cage where they belong, so you do not have to constantly clean up around the cage.
A cage liner and a cage guard are practically the same things and have the same functions, but a cage liner goes underneath any bedding or substrate on the bottom of the cage, while a cage guard can go around the base of the cage to act as a lip to catch strewn animal messes.
Chinchillas are pets much like guinea pigs and hamsters, so it is a good idea to have some form of substrate or padding on the bottom of the cage.
They tend to use the bathroom just anywhere, and they can sleep just anywhere, too.
Having a substrate helps provide cushion for this and substance to soak up their potty habits, as it also helps keep the animal’s mess inside their own space.
It is important that the substrate be soft and cushiony for the chinchilla to walk around on, but you also need it to be safe for them to chew on. This is just in case they get the random urge to chew their bedding.
It also needs to be absorbent enough to help trap the chinchilla’s liquids to assist you with any cleanup.
For this matter, pelleted bedding or shredded paper are two of your best options. They are absorbent and soft, which is perfect.
However, you should avoid wood shavings or anything pokey like it, as it can poke into your pet’s feet and cause them harm. Make sure to buy plenty of bedding, as it should be changed once a week.
No, this does not mean like the gym. Chinchillas do not need a leg-press.
However, they do need things in their cage to help them work out their energy—especially if you have a cage on the smaller side of the spectrum and few levels.
An exercise wheel is the most common piece to find in a chinchilla’s cage, as is it useful and easy to get and have.
These are also good for simple self-entertainment for the small animal. If you are someone who does not have a lot of time to set aside for playing with your pet, then toys like an exercise wheel will help them not feel so lonely.
The best chinchilla wheel is one made of metal. Check out our helpful post on best chinchilla exercise wheels to view the best options in the market right now.
A word to the wise: find a well-greased one, as your chinchilla will most likely be doing their marathon run right around the time you are trying to get to bed.
Chinchillas can sleep almost anywhere, but a hammock is a fun, cushioned bed that would provide a nice and cozy spot for your pet to sleep in.
Much like with hiding spaces, chinchillas like their own spaces, so having a cozy space they designated as their cozy, comfortable spot would be beneficial.
Chinchilla hammocks can be a single layer, or double, and are usually made of rope or fleece. Overall, they are just there to add a sense of home and security to the cage for your chinchilla, so it is not essential.