Chinchillas are curious and lively creatures who do benefit from being let out of heir accommodation to get some exercise. However if you do this then are some safeguards which are good to have in place.
They maybe relatively large creatures but they are still able to disappear easily within the confines of a room.
So here are some steps you can take to ensure your chinchilla’s safety when letting them roam.
11 steps to ensuring your chinchilla roams safely
1. Check the safety aspects around the room keeping in mind that chinchillas are very quick at moving around and can also damage hints with their sharp teeth.
2. Put any valuable objects away just in case your chinchilla decides they are going to leap around off furniture thereby knocking precious objects over.
3. Put any dangerous plants in another room out of heir way so that they do not eat them. Plants such as cactus, ivy, and some house plants will be pretty bad for them. It is best to remove any house plants out of their way.
4. Screen off and secure any open fires as they are potentially hazardous for them.
5. Let others in he household know what you are doing so that they can support you.
6. Close off any windows and doors so that your chinchilla can’t escape.
7. Keep any other pets out of the room so that they do not scare the chinchilla or try to attack them. Check for any pets that maybe hiding in he room from view.
8. Turn off any lamps and disconnect the power chords or any electronic items. They may decide to gnaw on a cable so remove them from the area. This includes any television cabling and telephone wires.
9. If you have had your carpets cleaned in the recent past then take care as there maybe chemicals used in the process of the cleaning that maybe still there and therefore be harmful to your chinchilla.
10. It is better for a chinchilla to be on a wooden or tiled floor as they cannot easily nibble the flooring and the chinchilla will not be at risk from any carpet fibres from a carpet.
11. Concentrate on where your chinchilla is at all times whenever they are outside heir accommodation. It is easy to get distracted whilst looking after them but they could easily get up to mischief or if you wander out of a room, may even follow you making it harder to catch them. Chinchillas can even hop and jump up stairs.
What else do you need to do?
Going through this routine of checking for these things will ensure that the room is safe for them.
If your chinchilla does happen to escape and ends up in an area where you just cannot reach them easily then try putting one of their favourite treats in an open area.
Then step away from the area where hey are hiding and call out their name softly to encourage them to come out.
Be patient and in time they will come out and you will be able to catch them more easily.
If you happen to find that your chinchilla has picked up a power cable and is about to gnaw at it, don’t rush to it as they may just bite harder on the cable. Instead move quietly but efficiently to the power source and take out he plug before pursuing your chinchilla.
Regular exercise is important for a chinchilla and their physical and mental health. It’s a good idea to establish a regular schedule for activity outside of the cage. Try and set aside time in the evening for regular play.
Once everyone is at home and the environment is quiet then you can set aside to supervise your chinchilla without any distractions. Try and let them roam free in the room that you have designated without any distractions so that they are under your watchful eye and give them toys such as climbing ladders, tubes or wheels that they can play with.
By giving them time out of the cage to play, you are creating time to interact with them and will result in a happier chinchilla.
Once their roaming time is over the chinchilla will need to be returned to their accommodation.
If you have a newer chinchilla who isn’t fully tamed this may be tricky as they are harder to catch than one that knows you.
When trying to catch them don’t chase around after them as they will find it easy to escape you by darting underneath a piece of furniture.
There is also a risk that your chinchilla could get stressed and may develop heatstroke if you chase them persistently.
Instead opt for a calmer approach and you may need the help of a mother family member.
If your chinchilla starts to do something that could be harmful when they are in the room then avoid shouting at it and scolding it. If is is done, then they won’t understand that they have done something wrong. Just remove them from any harms way and try and change the environment so that the situation can’t arise again. Shouting at your chinchilla can cause them a lot of stress as their hearing is very sensitive.
How to catch a chinchilla that has escaped
If you follow the following steps then it should make the catching process that much easier.
1. Decide which corner of the room will be the easiest and most accessible area to catch your chinchilla. Working together from different angles will allow you to guide it to this spot and block off any escape route that may allow them to slip past you.
2. Crouching down on your hands and knees and move towards it will help you to grasp hold of it better.
3. When you grasp your chinchilla, place your hand over their back to slow em down and then scoop them up with your other hand. Try not to restrain your chinchilla by their ears or tail.
4. If you find that they struggle don’t be rough in handling it.
5. If you are struggling to catch it then try rearranging the furniture to make it easier for yourselves.
6. Don’t raise your voices or stomp around as this will scare them. Try and keep the atmosphere peaceful and relaxed.