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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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Behavior Change

Hello, I am hoping that you may be able to help me shed some light on some behavior that my 2 male (I was told) chinchilla’s have begun exhibiting lately.

Some back story, I received my 2 chinchillas from an acquaintance 5 years ago who was moving out of the country. At the time they were believed to be about 3-4 years old, he didn’t have an exact age, and I am not sure that they came from the most stimulating home. They have always been a pleasure, easy to work with, very social with all of our animals, including the cats, which they take pleasure in tormenting daily. They have always had their bedding changed out, and I have taken very good care of them. They have eaten, slept, played and been normal chinchillas. I have put several chinchilla friendly toys in their cage for them to play with, and watching their intelligence has always astounded me. I bought them a hut made from a pressed wood material with a straw roof, which they systematically dismantled and moved. But I digress to what is changing.

Recently they started rearranging their cage on their own, moving their shavings around in large quantity, moving larger objects around. They have taken a dust house, turned it up on end and made a tunnel into it. They have buried their wood house completely in shavings and alfalfa that I have given them leaving one entrance in and out in the top, and when I give them more hay, they throw it down, and use it to engineer something new. They turned the dust house into a store silo, where they appear to be storing the food that I am feeding them each evening, along with layers of alfalfa between the seeds and pellets. Their food right now it on their 3rd tier, so moving it down and storing it is a pretty big task for two small critters. They also used to make a huge mess, throwing out seed hulls, and any other unwanted food onto the floor around their cage. When this behavior started about 2-3 months ago, and has progressed. They get exercise time, and get plenty of attention. They also get to listen to music or watch TV, which they love to do. They are healthy weight, although one did drop some weight for about 2 weeks. They have a healthy coat, bright eyes and are very aware of what is around them. They have access to pellets, alfalfa, fresh veggies, seeds and few other dried fruits that I mix in to their food.

Having been an animal person all my life, this behavior began to look like nesting behavior, moving soft grasses and shavings around, and storing food. I have actually taken to just cleaning what needs to be out of their cage, rather than a totally new start each week, just to see where they will take this in the long run. I am sure that they have other small tunnels in there, specifically into their second house that I have provided them but they are below the surface of the shaving/hay mixture they have made.

As a non-chinchilla professional I am reaching out to someone that has more experience in chinchilla behavior, and may be able to shed some light on what I am looking at as strange. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 05:52 AM
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That must be the weirdest thing I've ever heard.
Chinchillas do not built nests. They do not collect food and store it.

I can't help but think that you do not have chinchillas

It sounds very weird, but I hope some one else on here has an answer for you...
Sounds very odd...

/Pia

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 11:08 AM
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Maybe their environment truly isn't stimulating enough, despite your best efforts? I don't know how they operate in the wild, but perhaps they're trying to simulate it. Do you have a secured play-pen for them outside? You might want to consider it. Spending time outside is important for all walks of life - it provides incomparably-useful Vitamin D, and provides enrichment for the mind and senses. Everything inside is always the same, that's including toys. The same four walls, the same _everything_every day of the weak.The lights come on at the same time, they go off at the same time, there's the same noises, the same people...it's boring inside a house! You get to go out and romb about and most critters are forced to stay inside, which, I've come to believe, even with free-roaming inside the house gets to be very, very, boring.

So you may want to build, or buy a secured pen for them outside where they can run around and feel the grass and the wind, and the sunshine,
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinchi View Post
That must be the weirdest thing I've ever heard.
Chinchillas do not built nests. They do not collect food and store it.

I can't help but think that you do not have chinchillas

It sounds very weird, but I hope some one else on here has an answer for you...
Sounds very odd...
It is very odd as I know that they don't nest or collect things. So this behavior is really strange. But it was like a light switch, and all of the sudden they started doing strange things... They are Chinchillas


Quote:
Originally Posted by FlickeringHope
Maybe their environment truly isn't stimulating enough, despite your best efforts? I don't know how they operate in the wild, but perhaps they're trying to simulate it. Do you have a secured play-pen for them outside? You might want to consider it. Spending time outside is important for all walks of life - it provides incomparably-useful Vitamin D, and provides enrichment for the mind and senses. Everything inside is always the same, that's including toys. The same four walls, the same _everything_every day of the weak.The lights come on at the same time, they go off at the same time, there's the same noises, the same people...it's boring inside a house! You get to go out and romb about and most critters are forced to stay inside, which, I've come to believe, even with free-roaming inside the house gets to be very, very, boring.

So you may want to build, or buy a secured pen for them outside where they can run around and feel the grass and the wind, and the sunshine,
I am actually going to build them a huge indoor/outdoor cage when we move in a few weeks, see if maybe that helps.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 05:30 PM
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First things first !!!! that is unusual beahvior.. even for chins. mine move things arouns but don't make nesting spaces. 2nd you do not repeat DONOT take chins out side. in a play pen. they can over heat and die. becasue of their fur being so heavy and they don't sweat. you don't ever take them out side. a girl friend of mine took her chin out side to ;et it cool off. cause her house was hot . here the chin died . your not suppoed to take them out at all unless in a/c like a car for a ride to the vet or if you are moving ... not out side cause thier behavior is acting strangly...

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 07:16 PM
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Chinzilla:
You can not generalize like that!
It's okay to take a chinchilla outside for a short while where I live. You can not have them live outside though because of the humidity... I think it's around 70-80 all year round where I live.
Because they can only cool down trough their ears high humidity is a problem. But some places it would be okay to take them outside...

Please do not tell people not to do things, just because it's not possible where you live.
Also it sounds VERY weird that your friends chin died because it was taken outside... Sounds like it was ill to me...
I've had all of mine out several times. Not this summer though, because it was very hot and the humidity was way higher than normal (one day around 95-97)...

Please remember that how chinchillas react to the outside climate depends on where you live

/Pia

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 08:03 PM
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There are very very few places where it's temperate enough to let chinchillas go outside or build outside components to their caging. Even in very cool countries the summer days often peak to dangerous temperatures. I think it's a bit silly to tell people not to give advice because there are very rare occasions where it may not be true, especially when not taking them outside is not the least bit harmful, but going outside poses a risk of heat stroke and death.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 08:47 PM
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my breeder and anyone else on different forums had told not to take them out side reguardless where you live.. that isn't good health for your chin. i livke in Pennsylvania and i was told they have to be inside in the a/c at all tiem cause the humidty isn't good for them. due to their heavy coats they could ahve stroke. and as for my friends chin it died cause it was in ahouse where there was not a/c and then she toold it out and tried to give it air and with the chin probably over heating the sun and and all it was too hot for it .

I can say what i want. I was told that they can't go out side by my breeder .. and they shouldn't be taken out side. so please don't tell me what is should not tell people .. i have a right to my opnion it's a forum ... and the humidity was high here dear all summer ... even on a day where it is 70 to 80 degrees you should not take your chin out side ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinchi View Post
Chinzilla:
You can not generalize like that!
It's okay to take a chinchilla outside for a short while where I live. You can not have them live outside though because of the humidity... I think it's around 70-80 all year round where I live.
Because they can only cool down trough their ears high humidity is a problem. But some places it would be okay to take them outside...

Please do not tell people not to do things, just because it's not possible where you live.
Also it sounds VERY weird that your friends chin died because it was taken outside... Sounds like it was ill to me...
I've had all of mine out several times. Not this summer though, because it was very hot and the humidity was way higher than normal (one day around 95-97)...

Please remember that how chinchillas react to the outside climate depends on where you live

Children & Animals are gifts from god.
To be cherished here on earth for as long as
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 08:49 PM
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that's what i was trying to say.. that it would posse a heat stroke... but my breeder told me and so did a few others who ahve been raising chins for awhile that you should not take them out side ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennicat View Post
There are very very few places where it's temperate enough to let chinchillas go outside or build outside components to their caging. Even in very cool countries the summer days often peak to dangerous temperatures. I think it's a bit silly to tell people not to give advice because there are very rare occasions where it may not be true, especially when not taking them outside is not the least bit harmful, but going outside poses a risk of heat stroke and death.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennicat View Post
There are very very few places where it's temperate enough to let chinchillas go outside or build outside components to their caging. Even in very cool countries the summer days often peak to dangerous temperatures. I think it's a bit silly to tell people not to give advice because there are very rare occasions where it may not be true, especially when not taking them outside is not the least bit harmful, but going outside poses a risk of heat stroke and death.
I'm a bit sick of this atitude.
Our avrage summer is no problem when it comes to heat, but humidity is a problem.

It's like you forget this is not just a forum for people from North America.

Just because the US does something, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do all over...
A lot of you forget this when writing...

/Pia

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 07:03 PM
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Chinzilla:
I'm not american. I do not know what kind of degrees you use!
We use Celcius...
Please try and understand that not everybody on this forum is American though most of you are!

/Pia

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 07:08 PM
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I'm not sure how saying that there are few places where it's suitable for chins to be outside is US centric, when you follow up your little rant with the fact that it's too humid for you to put your chins outside there as well, and you're not in the US. Other places besides the US have sunshine and humidity, and I amazingly know that even though I'm one of the crazy ignorant Americans you're talking about.

Temperate doesn't only apply to temperature, it applies to all parts of the climate, including humidity.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2010, 02:54 AM
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Whoah..okay. As long as I've been reading this correctly, ALL Chinchi has been trying to say is that it takes common sense when it concerns outside weather, whether you do, or do not take your Chinchillas outside that day. And generally, where she lives, in the summer, the temperature is usually okay to take them outside, but the humidity aspect is the issue. I think you guys are reading, but failing to understand what she means.

I'm sure she understands perfectly well that Denmark, and the U.S both have their sunshine and or/humid days, however, some states in the U.S are more typically known for more hot and humid summer days than other states. That's all, to my knowledge, she was trying to say.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2010, 06:04 AM
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and these animals don't die outdoors, they will in some areas, but lets not forget there is no AC in the wild, and there are wild chinchillas....

So a better option to this whole ordeal is do not take your chins out if it is higher than (I don't know degrees C/F) and/or has a higher humidity than (i don't know %)

I don't know much about chins so i don't know their temp range but i would guess in the fall some days it may be nice enough to run around in a cage out doors.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2010, 06:29 AM
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There's no AC in the wild, but in the wild they live in mountainous regions and they die a lot younger. Really, can we make a big rule that nobody uses "in the wild" to justify caring for an animal, since wild animals universally have shorter lifespans than domesticated pets?

FlickeringHope, I knew what she meant, but my point was that there are VERY few climes where it's going to be ok to take them out on a regular basis. And building a portion of their caging into an outside area is a very regular basis. Any time there's a difference of opinion it seems to come down to how US people are only US centric and blah de blah. It's irritating, because there's nothing US centric about realizing that most people don't live in the mountains, and most areas are too hot or too humid (ie, NOT temperate) for chins to be outside safely at least part of the year.

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