Chinchillas are adorable, but did you know that they’re energetic too? For small creatures, they sure can store a lot of energy in their bodies. Chinchillas love to dig, run, and chew. They can even jump up to six feet high!
Because they’re so active, chinchillas should have enough space for playing and running. But if you’re a new chinchilla owner, how do you pick the right cage for them to live in? Here, we break down the best buying options, as well as a few tips to keep in mind.
How to Pick a Cage
Picking out the best chinchilla cage can be daunting. Here is a list of factors to consider when making your decision.
The material that your future chinchilla cage is made of can be more important than any other item. Chinchillas will chew through nearly anything; if they can, they are likely to chew at their cage as well. Because of their gnawing habits, it’s important to house them in cages that are composed of metal, or other materials which cannot be eroded by tiny, persistent – but very sharp – teeth.
Cages that are made of toxic material, like soft plastic, should be avoided. The only exception is when cages are made of a plastic bottom. Since most of these are designed with metal bars restricting a chin’s access to the plastic, they’re safe for use.
Because chinchillas can be fast and active, they need a great deal of space. The recommended cage size for an adult chinchilla is at least 3 x 2 x 2 feet. Because chinchillas are social creatures, you’ll need space for two adults! A good rule of thumb is at least two square feet of floor space per pet. If you can go bigger, that’s even better.
If you’re short on space, however, expending upward is also a good idea. Even if you have plenty of space, multi-level cages are recommended, especially if your cage is made of bars or wires. Chinchillas have delicate feet. As such, even if you have good bedding in your cage, additional levels can be a great way to give their feet some rest. Additional levels also give your chinchillas the chance to climb and jump, which is a favorite pastime in the wild!
If you’re short on room in your home, make sure to place your cage in an ideal area. When choosing a location, be sure it’s elevated from the floor – such as on a table or desk. Because chinchillas are prey animals, surrounding them with tall furniture can make them anxious and irritable.
Don’t put the cage in direct sunlight or in areas where temperatures fluctuate (like near vents and air conditioning). Make sure that the temperature is between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Chins are uniquely susceptible to hot and cold spikes, and may grow ill.
Finally, it’s wise to account for the fact that chinchillas are messy. They may kick beddings outside their cage, and they will poop a lot. For this reason, make sure that the space around their cage is easy to sweep. Having a pull-out bottom is a great aid in cleaning up poop. It’s also a good idea not to put the cage on a dark surface, as chinchilla poop will be hard to spot.
The Best Chinchilla Cage
There are many chinchilla cages available on the market. Here are a few to consider:
The Critter Nation by Midwest is a multi-purpose small animal cage, but it’s popular with chinchillas – for a good reason. While a bit pricey, Critter Nation gives you the option to purchase it as one unit or two units. Even a single unit is a good deal; it comes with a ramp that goes onto a small platform, a built-in stand, and a shelf at the bottom. This shelf is an excellent place to store food, hay, and toys for easy access.
Buying the second unit gives you a total of four levels in your chinchilla cage, making it truly a luxury for your chins. As a bonus, the shelves in each unit are adjustable, allowing you to customize their playground. There are also hooks where you can attach toys, hammocks, and cubbies for your chinchillas.
If that space isn’t enough, Midwest also lets you purchase an additional unit, which you can add to either a single- or double-unit cage. It’s not recommended to go higher than three stories, however.
No matter how large the Critter Nation is it’s still easy to clean. With full-width double doors, you can reach into every nook and cranny.
Choose this one if: You like multiple, expandable levels, with a good, sturdy build.
While only available in a single-level, the Living World Deluxe Habitat is a spacious cage perfect for your chinchilla. To make up for the lack of levels, this cage has a small balcony where your chinchilla can climb. This balcony even houses a tip-proof food bowl attached to the balcony floor itself. The underside of the balcony also serves a small hidey-hole for when you chin wants to burrow. The multi-functionality of this balcony alone shows the care and ingenuity put into designing this cage.
Apart from the built-in food bowl, a deep bottom also makes clean-up much easier. With a deep base, you can be sure that the bedding stays inside the cage. A solid, plastic bottom is also great for delicate chinchilla feet. This bottom is detachable, so you can quickly empty the cage during clean-up.
From the top, a dual lid opening makes it easy to reach into all parts of the cage. Solid wiring ensures that chinchillas can’t chew through them. This wiring is also a great place to attach a water bottle; purchase of the Living World Deluxe Habitat gives you a free water bottle.
Choose this one if: You like to maximize space without sacrificing quality.
For those who want a bit of color, look no further than the Home Pet 3-Tier Chinchilla Crate. This crate comes in brown, blue, and pink. While it’s smaller than the other Homey Cages, this cage can house two chinchillas, with a bit more space for toys and accessories.
Unlike other cages, the Homey has a separate, pull-out tray for urine, which lessens the chances of illness in your chinchillas. Along with its urine guard, the best feature of this cage is how easy it is to assemble. You don’t need tools to set up this cage, making it beginner-friendly.
While most parts of this cage are made of plastic, the wires are coated with a non-toxic powder, adding to its durability.
Choose this one if: You want an easier time cleaning poop and urine. Good color options are a great bonus.
When they say mansion, they mean mansion. This cage has a design that is similar to the Midwest Critter Nation. It has two levels, which can be expanded to two additional levels. Full-width double doors also make clean-up easy.
Unlike most multi-story cages, the Exotic Nutrition Mansion Cage has two slide-out trays which make clean-up far easier. Unfortunately, they aren’t deep trays, meaning they should be cleaned regularly.
The Exotic Nutrition is made of 100% metal, which ensures it’s safe from chewing and scratching. Unfortunately, this makes it prone to rusting.
Choose this one if: You want a simple, sturdy, multi-level cage.
With all of these brands to choose from, you’re bound to find one that’s perfect for you and your chinchilla.