There's Something in the Water

We've received an unusual number of calls and emails concerning chinchillas with mushy stools. Many times this is due to a sudden change in diet, treats that are much too rich,  too many of the chin-safe variety, stress, and pathogens.

Home interventions work with all but pathogenic causes. The usual course of action is to stop all treats and encourage the chin to eat plenty of hay (even to the point of withdrawing regular feed pellets). In more extreme cases, bite sized shredded wheat cereal (without the sugary frosting) will help firm the stools. But use with caution! Only give 1/2 to 1 mini square per day. More than that can actually throw the little chinnie's system out of whack in the other direction with constipation.

If your pet doesn't respond to home intervention within 3-5 days time. If the poos become more soft or runny, has an odor, mucus, blood or if there is notable weight loss, a visit to the vet is necessary.

Recently we've gotten word from owners whose chins have tested positive for coccidia, cryptosporidian, and clostridium.  Many times these parasites are passed from contaminated food and water. If your feed is fresh, suspect your water source. Some pathogens survive city water treatments, chlorine and bleach!

While we have never before had an issue with using tap water for the chins, this alarming trend is causing us to reconsider our stand on the matter. To be ultra safe, we recommend using reverse osmosis water for your chins drinking water.

Happy December!

For the month of November, two (2) chinchillas were surrendered and seven (7) were adopted. It's been a rather nice imbalance of numbers on a happy side for a short while, however, so far for this month we've already received six (6) more surrenders. 

We've been working on bonding the singles and have had a fair amount of luck. One family found a pair of boys who complement their single fella perfectly. Another family had no such luck finding a compatible female for their lone girl. A second little guy who is boarding here while his owner goes through allergy testing found a new friend too. And we have another adult fella coming to stay for the weekend while we work our magic to find him a snuggle buddy. Perhaps we should rename our site: Whimsy's chinchilla rescue/adoption/store and...matchmaking!

At this time we have about 20 chinchillas who are waiting for permanent homes with several more still under evaluation. We would dearly love to see them off to good homes, especially the "special cases," those who desperately need someone with a soft heart and patience enough to gain their trust. This year we've met some amazing people who have specifically come looking for exactly that sort of challenge. It is truly amazing to see how a troubled little furry personality can blossom in the right environment. If you've been waiting for the holidays to adopt, we'd love to hear from you.  

It's beginning to look a lot like...

 It's the calm before the storm.

This time of year many people hold off on adopting a new pet until the month of December when they can unleash (no pun intended) a dual-purpose new family member and conveniently have a wiggly, furry Christmas present.  

It's also the time of year when people tend to scale "up" and get rid of their pocket pets in favor of lap pets. During this season, chinchillas, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, etc are often pushed aside to make room for kittens and puppies.

While the choice to give up a pet is a personal one, may I remind everyone of our duty to care and protect these helpless creatures? We are ready and willing. Who would like to join us? Someone's recycled pet could be your new family treasure.


The full moon is waning, thank God! We definitely see a difference in behaviors with the full moon, not only in the chins, but in people as well. Either that or sheer volume of inquiries dictates that we receive calls and emails that are sometimes rather... interesting.

Chinnie behavior during a full moon brings out high energy and sometimes subtle aggression. Just like siblings who occasionally have tiffs, chins have their differences too. One way we manage squabbles is with a-- no kidding-- timeout cage. The chaser is placed into a small carrier within the regular cage. This keeps everyone safe, but still in communion. We find that a night in time out is enough to regain the previous harmony. 

For this reason, it is also important that groups, especially males, have a place they can retreat to. Those silly little ceramic "dusters" with the ears is a perfect solution to allow a respite. 

As for human behavior, I'm going to bring this post to a screeching halt to add my latest pet peeve: We are a home-based rescue and as such are open by appointment. We are NOT a pet store.  We do not "sell" chinchillas. Our job is to ensure that each chin(s)  goes to a home that is fully equipped to offer them a better environment than the one we currently do. 

With that being said, we have, and will deny adoption to those who do not read our adoption contract and are not completely prepared to receive them. Non emergency phone calls before 9am or after 8:00 pm will NOT be warmly received as I question the competence of anyone who will make this kind of judgement error. 

If you don't already have a suitable habitat, we offer complete cage setups available for purchase that are much, much cheaper (not to mention chin-ready) than anything available in a pet store. 

Catharsis. I'm better now. Thanks. :)

Is Your Chinchilla Lonely?

Can you imagine living out your life on your very own island? Imagine living on a beautiful tropical paradise, with plenty of food, shelter, water, the perfect temperature. All your needs are met, but you are completely alone (except for the native wildlife).

Many pet situations are just like this. In a home where all their basic needs are met, but the owners simply want "one" of whatever. We have heard the excuses; "I can only afford one," "I want to bond and spoil just one," "I didn't think they could get along with the same gender and didn't want to chance having babies," etc.

What these reasons don't take into account is the fact that chinchillas, and many other species, live their lives in groups. Much like horses, chinchillas are herd animals. In fact, chinchillas snuggle and pile together for comfort and safety. They groom one another and generally keep each other content.

We have seen and heard innumerable cases of chinchillas raised in isolation who have simply turned neurotic; they start to chew their fur, bark or call a lot, are much more hyper than usual, and can even expire prematurely. Do you blame them? Not to say that all chins stress out by being an only pet, but a truly concerned pet owner will consider the pet's needs before theirpersonal preferences.

Don't believe the myth that having two or more will cause them to bond more strongly to one another than to you. While that is true of birds, it simply is not the case with chinchillas. Actually, we have found that paired chins are more friendly and interactive since their basic comfort needs are met. 

At our rescue, we work very diligently to spread the word about chinchillas' needs, and do our best to ensure that each single chin has a snuggle buddy before they are adopted to a new home.

But it's not as easy as it sounds. Chinchillas like to choose their own friends and sometimes it's quite apparent that certain chins simply HATE each other. Group dynamics can be tricky, which is why we do all the hard work first.  ;)