Ideally, a pet chinchilla’s cage must have containers for food and water and have sufficient hiding spots and shavings. In addition to that, it should also include an exercise wheel and some chew toys. Most pet chinchillas can achieve their exercise during their time outside the cage, but an exercise wheel would still be preferred to keep it entertained.
Chinchillas Adapting to Toys and Wheels
Once installed, an exercise wheel might not be immediately used by the chinchilla. Don’t worry or have regrets; it’s natural for animals to take a while to get used to something new, especially within its comfort zone. Some chinchillas will adapt to such changes much faster than others but don’t expect a new pet chinchilla to get acclimated right away. Over time, and once you have tamed your pet, the wheel will be used and be frequented for entertainment and exercising. If this idea interests you, below are some of the steps you might want to check on before purchasing or making any wheel for the cage.
The Right Chew Toy/s
Chinchillas have teeth that grow continuously and need to be worn down which is why a chew toy is important. Chew toys prevent the excessive growth and keep chinchillas’ teeth healthy; otherwise, the growing teeth will keep the chinchilla from eating properly. In choosing or improvising a chew toy, don’t use anything made of plastic. Chinchillas can easily chew bits of it off and ingest the pieces and harm them. The same is advised when getting an exercise wheel.
Getting the Right Wheel
Before getting a wheel for the cage, one should measure the door and floor area to make sure it will fit. Some cages have removable tops while others only accommodate a small opening, ideal to fit food and water trays into. You must be able to determine how you will put the wheel inside the cage without disturbing, startling your pet or risking an escape.
Fitting the wheel into the cage is just the beginning; you will also need to make sure that it is safe enough for your chinchilla to use. Chinchillas love the wheel and they tend to run really fast on it, as most pet rodents do. Therefore, the surface should be solid, preferably mesh-made, that measures no more than ½ by ½ inches. A narrower platform could cause the chinchilla to stumble, obtain toe or leg injuries. Chinchillas are delicate animals and are prone to fractures.
A 12-inch wheel is the most ideal to get for pet chinchillas because it is spacious enough to avoid causing spine damage. Also, don’t use wheels with spokes, the chinchilla can chew it off or get injured by it. To be extra sure, you can always ask pet store owners about wheels specifically made for chinchillas. There are these so-called “safe wheels” which has its screws placed in the center and buried deep.
They are sturdy and measured properly for most pet rodents. If you feel that your chinchilla is not acclimating really well or faring well with the wheel after a few months, it is best to take it off and consult a pet store owner or veterinarian for possible causes for this.