Adopting a chinchilla pet comes with great satisfaction and responsibilities, as they are sensitive creatures that need all your time and devotion. For more details on how to look after them, including finding the most suitable chinchilla cage and food, make sure to check out this post.
These rodents are active and love jumping, climbing, and other forms of physical activities. They require plenty of room to move freely and lots of toys and accessories to keep them busy.
Therefore, before adopting one, make sure your house is ready for it. And, since staying inside their cages could prove boring in the long term, we suggest you start building or shopping for the latest shelves, ledges, and cage accessories. Here is everything you need to know about them, so let’s start with the basics.
The size of the cage
Before jumping to any accessory or toy, make sure your chinchilla cage is large enough for your pet and a companion. Keep in mind that these creatures don’t like being lonely, so you should be up for adopting a pair or a partner for your animal.
As we previously mentioned, chinchillas enjoy climbing, jumping, and exercising, so you have to look for a cage with multiple levels. Therefore, make sure the cage you’re buying is tall enough to support adding platforms, shelves, and ledges later on.
The base should always contain a hideout or a house for your pet to rest and sleep, as well as a ladder or a tunnel to connect it with the other levels of the cage. Ledges are the perfect solution to fill the vertical space of the cage, giving your pet the opportunity to test its natural climbing abilities.
What are ledges made of?
Several cages come with preinstalled ledges and shelves made of wire or plastic. Although these materials are lightweight and easy to install, they might not represent the perfect choice for your pet in the long term.
Chinchillas are rodents that love to chew things, and a ledge made of plastic won’t last too much. In addition, plastic can be filled with chemicals which may cause allergic reactions.
On the other hand, wire ledges and shelves are not very convenient as your pet could get its feet caught, resulting in injuries. In addition, wire ledges also force your pet to put more pressure on its paws to be able to remain in a fixed position and not fall off.
Thus, we recommend removing the pre-existing ledges and shelves in your pet’s cage and replacing them with others made of wood.
What type of wood to use
Kiln-dried pine is the number one choice that crosses our minds. You can purchase this type of wood from any local lumber yard, home stores, and even pet stores.
Pine is generally safe for chinchillas, therefore you’ll find it in various products, toys, and accessories specifically made for these rodents. However, some chinchillas may be allergic to pine, so you should consider replacing it with other types of wood such as apple wood or cherry wood.
Unfortunately, you won’t find these types of wood on most local home stores, so you’ll have to order them online or from specialized lumber yards.
DIY or bought?
Depending on your crafting skills, you can choose to make your own chinchilla ledges or buy them from your local pet shop or from online stores.
The market is filled with options available for all pockets, so you’ll definitely find the right one for your picky pet. However, you should avoid purchasing products that don’t specify exactly the type of wood they are made of. Moreover, if the ledge or shelf looks chipped or comes with splinters, don’t install it into the cage as it could cause injuries.
If you’re ready to try some DIY projects, you can start by making ledges and shelves, as they don’t require too much effort. You’re going to need pieces of Kiln-dried pine of different sizes, a hanger bolt, a fender washer, hex nuts, wrenches, a socket driver, and a wing nut. You’ll also need a drill to make the holes in the wood block.
Once you have gathered all the necessary materials and tools, start by drilling a pair of pilot holes into the wood piece. These will prevent the wood from splitting and will also allow you to screw in the hanger bolts easier while keeping them straight at the same time.
Attaching the hanger bolts is a bit trickier, so we advise you to look for online videos or tutorials before if you’re not sure how to make it. You can also ask the help of a professional handyman if you don’t trust your crafting skills.
After you’ve attached the hanger bolts, don’t forget to use some sandpaper to create a smooth surface and round the edges of the ledge. This will prevent hurting your chinchilla, and will also make it a little bit harder for it to chew on the piece of wood.
You can attach the ledges inside the cage by inserting the hanger bolts in-between the cage wires and placing the washers on the ends of the bolts.
Once you’ve mastered your first ledge of the pet’s cage you can repeat the process, and create various shapes and sizes of shelves. You can build one that is large enough for your pet to comfortably rest or sleep on.
Corner shelves are essential for the overall look of the cage as they’ll provide additional places to rest and can even make for secret lookouts. Octagonal lofts not only look cool but will also become your chin’s new favorite hideout spots. You can install them pretty much anywhere inside the cage.