Chinchilla Collars, Leads and Harnesses
Keeping a chinchilla as a pet can be quite difficult because they require a lot of attention. You have to be sure that you are able to care for their needs before you consider getting a chinchilla, especially since they can live for up to 10 years.
They are attractive, clean, quiet and odourless rodents, but they tend to be quite shy. It is advised that chinchillas are suitable as pets for adults, not young children.
Things you should know about chinchillas
- Athletic - Chinchillas have long hind legs, which allows them to jump up to six foot high. They love to leap all over the place and it can be difficult to control them
- Nocturnal - They tend to sleep during the daytime and are most active during the evening and night
- Sociable - In the wild, chinchillas live in colonies of up to 100 individuals, making them highly sociable creatures
- High fibre diet - Chinchillas need to eat lots of hay to wear down their teeth, as their teeth grow constantly
- Digestive system - Once the food has passed through their gut, a special dropping called caecotrophs is excreted. Chinchillas eat the caecotrophs to reingest the food
Using collars, leads or harnesses
Many owners like to use collars, leads or harnesses to walk their chinchillas. Using a lead or harness is not advised for a number of reasons, including:
- Chinchillas can easily slip out of a harness due to their thick and dense fur
- Harnesses cannot be tightened enough for them to be secure
- Wearing a collar or harness can make a chinchilla stressed, causing them to shed chunks of their fur
- Their bones and their bodies are relatively soft, so wearing a harness could cause internal injuries
- Leads and harnesses are not ideal for training purposes, instead you should use the palm feeding technique
If you do choose to train or walk your chinchilla on a lead or harness, exercise caution, use a soft fabric such as mesh or polyester and only use it for a short period of time.