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by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

March 30, 2012 - 9:05 am

And the chinchilla adventure began. First thing I learned is they’re wonderfully clean pets with no smell, droppings the size of hamster poo, and they can’t wait for a dust bath (it’s all good if you don’t mind sweeping up a bit of ash — off counters, baseboards, everything). They need regular playtime outside of the cage and lots of things to chew on, like mega willow sticks from the pet store (I’m wary of grabbing any outside sticks that might have pesticides on them). The temperature in my casa is always 68 degrees — they can’t sweat and can easily overheat. In case she gets too warm, there’s a granite slab for her to chill on, though recently she dragged a small throw into the cage and has made a nest of sorts out of that. They don’t get fleas because of the fur density, and you can’t get them wet (yep, like Gremlins) because the fur can mold.

If the chinchilla doesn’t have a little friend — and this one is way too dominant to throw another one in there — they bond to their human. When I let her out of the cage to run around, she first jumps up on my shoulder and hangs there a bit while I pet her. If I sit on the floor during playtime, she climbs on me like a jungle gym. If she wants me to get down lower, she’ll stand on her hind feet and tap me on the leg. She knows the drill of when to get back in her cage (and occasionally avoids it for an extra hour or so, to my frustration). The ultimate sign of trust is when she touches her nose to mine.

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