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new chinchilla, first time owner. advice needed, a little worried :(

6486 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Bina
Hey guys !

My boyfriend and I just got a Chinchilla on Saturday.

He did not drink the first day, but finally drank yesterday-- and when he drank, he drank a very good amount.

He has been eating LOTS of hay, but thats it. We bought him the same pellets that he was eating before, but I have yet to see him east ANY of them. He even covered it with his bedding. Is this normal ? I am worried that just hay is not a sufficient enough of a meal for him.

He has eaten one or two dandelion treats though.

Any advice as to why he would not be eating his regular food ? Is it bad that he's not ? After how long should I be really worried if he still has not eaten any pellets ?

Overall, his stress level seems to be low, he has a huge cage with many levels and likes to come up to us when he's roaming. He doesn't like us petting him when he comes up to us yet though.

He's adorable :)

He chews on EVERYTHING. I know their teeth grow three inches a year, but is it normal for him to literally chew on absolutely everything as a dog smells everything ?
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The constant chewing is perfectly normal for rodents so is the food covering its to cover the smell of the food so it does not attract predators.
First advice...get another chinchilla! Same sex is usually fine. As far as pellets go, give em time. fact I think rats are the only small animals that don't always chew (even then...some rats will chew like crazy.) Be sure to get lots of chew toys.

He could also not be eating/drinking in front of you which is normal. My chin became attached to me after a good bath. It may be just a preference but I prefer sand over dust.
thanks for the advice. I am looking into getting another chin, but don't have the funds right now (I just spent around $400 to get everything for my first one)

I noticed that he has eaten a few pellets now, but really not more than two.

He is shy to drink in front of me, he'll stop if he notices my eyes on him.

He's had two baths already and he is warming up to us. He loves his head rubbed, but tries really hard to struggle when we try to hold him. He even tries to bite (he hasn't drawn blood yet tho) in order to get away.

How can I get him to stop biting us ? I don't know the best way to help him like to be held.
Hello and congrats on your new chilla.
Do you have any idea how old your chilla is? Maybe he is just a youngster and is taking his time to adjust and learn about his surroundings.
Patience is key. It will take more than a few days, more like a few weeks, for him to know you and trust you.
We always start out with just some scritching under their chin or on their head.
And we make sure they have lots of quiet time during the day to sleep.

1) make sure he has fresh water daily, some people even use bottled spring water.
2) a good handful of hay daily, timothy is great.
3) start with the same chinchilla pellets that he was getting, and make sure they are high quality. If not, then wait and change him over slowly later on.
4) limit treats until he adjusts and settles down.

5) for his bath bowl, use real chinchilla bath dust, NOT sand.
6) cage location should not be near a heat/cooling vent, not in sun, not near TV/stereo etc.
8) I wouldn't add another chinchilla unless it is in a separate cage, even then, let him get to know and love you first.
9) many chillas stop eating when their teeth are too long or they have a bad tooth alignment called "malocclusion". Vet care will be required.
10) it is SUPER important to check his droppings daily, they need to be slightly oval, moist, and not long and thin.

Lots of suggestions here, and I don't want to overwhelm you, but I've had chillas for a very long time and rescued dozens.
It may be helpful to search out a good vet just in case you ever need it.
Good Luck. :)
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