Before you rush out and get your new pet chinchilla, there are lots of things to think of—like, where are you going to put it? Is a bedroom suitable, or should you pick somewhere else?
Can I keep a chinchilla in my room? You can. It’s a good idea because you spend lots of time with it, and the temperature and humidity should be right. But chinchillas are active at night, so could keep you awake, and while they are hygienic they can smell. You have to weigh up these advantages and disadvantages. Another potential chinchilla cage location is the living room, or alternatively the basement.
There’s no right or wrong answer, only what you prefer. Lots of owners choose to keep their chinchillas in the bedroom, and just put up with any little annoyances that might arise from that. And if you’re a heavy sleeper and keep on top of cage cleaning, it’ll hardly be a problem anyway!
Can You Keep Chinchilla Cage in Bedroom?
You can keep a chinchilla anywhere you like in your house, so long as you’re prepared for whatever that entails.
That might seem like a vague answer, but it really is up to you. So long as you’re aware of the advantages and disadvantages, you can keep your chinchillas in almost any room of the home. So long as it isn’t dangerously hot, dangerously humid or very loud then the room is fine. This section of the guide will look at both the advantages and disadvantages of keeping your chinchilla in your room, so you can make the best decision for you.
Advantage: You Spend More Time With Your Pet
The best thing about chinchillas is how cute they are, and you can only tell how cute they are if you spend time with them! Chinchillas are friendly and gentle if handled correctly, and keeping your chinchilla in your room will give you lots of opportunity to do that. That’s because if you put your chinchillas in a room where you can forget about them, well—you’ll forget about them! That means less handling time, less cage cleaning time, even less seeing your pet.
It’s not just good for you, it’s good for your pet, too. Chinchillas are curious creatures and can get bored stuck inside a cage all day (like you would!) Being around you for longer periods will make your chinchilla happy. This is especially important if your chinchilla doesn’t have a cagemate.
This is good in other ways, too. The more time you spend around your pet, the more it will trust you. Handling will therefore be easier. If your pet ever gets sick, you’ll immediately notice because its behavior changes. And if your chinchilla were to escape somehow, then you’d know, because you’re there.
Disadvantage: Chinchillas Are Active at Night
Easily the biggest disadvantage of keeping chinchillas in the bedroom is that they are active at night. While chinchillas aren’t exclusively nocturnal, they are active throughout the night, and that can mean:
- Your chinchilla runs in its wheel for extended periods
- Your chinchillas bark if they hear noises that frighten them
- Your chinchillas may fight loudly
- Even if they’re otherwise quiet, you will hear your chinchillas moving around, eating and drinking
If you’re a light sleeper, they could wake you up. And if you already struggle to get to sleep then chinchillas won’t make that situation any better.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this is the wheel. Like other rodents, some chinchillas will run on their wheels/saucers all night long. Chinchillas are constantly active in the wild, hopping from rock to rock and foraging for food, taking breaks only to head home and sleep. So, your chin needs an outlet for its energy. You can make the noise slightly quieter by attaching the wheel more securely to the cage and oiling it with olive oil.
And if your chinchilla’s general noise bothers you, consider using a white noise machine. These create a blanket of noise that covers the whole spectrum, blocking out both high and low-pitched sounds. Light sleepers use them if their neighbors wake them up frequently, but they work if you have chinchillas too. You could also have a fan blowing at night to cover the noise (no, it won’t kill you).
Advantage: Temperature & Humidity Should Be Right
Wherever you decide to put your chinchilla cage, the room should be suitable for your pets. The two key factors you have to consider are temperature and humidity.
Chinchillas can easily overheat even in rooms that don’t feel too hot for you. Anything over 75 degrees Fahrenheit/23.8 degrees Centigrade can kill a chinchilla. That’s because of their thick coats; they’re more used to cold mountainside weather. And even if the rest of the room doesn’t feel like it, if your chinchilla’s cage is in direct sunlight, it can get too warm. Ideally, chinchilla should be kept at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit/15.5 degrees Centigrade; whether you personally find this temperature comfortable should tell you whether keeping a chinchilla in your room is a good idea.
The other factor is humidity, and again, this relates to the chinchilla’s coat. Chinchillas’ thick coats mean that they have trouble keeping their fur dry. When it gets damp, it can cool the chinchilla down and make it uncomfortable. And if they stay damp for a long time they can develop ringworm. Being wet can even kill them if they cool down too much. But again, your bedroom likely won’t be too humid, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Disadvantage: Smells & Mess
While chinchillas are hygienic animals, they do still need to go to the toilet. Chinchilla poop is hard and dry so isn’t a problem unless you skip cleaning the cage out. But chinchilla pee does smell, especially if it sits there a while. Most owners spot clean their chinchilla’s cage every day to get rid of soiled bedding, or replace dirty fleece liners. But they’ll still stink up the room in the meantime.
One good way of avoiding much of this smell is to use kiln dried pine as bedding. This bedding is highly absorbent and doesn’t need to be changed as frequently as fleece. You can line your chinchilla’s litter tray with it and it should hold onto a lot of the smell.
Besides that, chinchillas do have some of that generic-small-animal-smell. That’s because they eat hay. Hay doesn’t smell bad unless it rots, but you may not want your bedroom to smell like a barn!
Chinchillas can also make a room messy. They need to bathe in dust, and most owners put the bath right in the cage with their pet. This dust billows around and gets on all your surfaces. Not only is this messy, but it’s possible that mineral dust is bad for your lungs, so this is bad for two reasons! You’ll need to regularly sweep or vacuum to get rid of the dust, and even if you do, there is always some you missed.
Also… Some chinchillas are sprayers. Spraying is something chins do when they feel threatened. They stand up on their hind legs and spray right at you. Chinchillas normally reserve this for other chins that won’t stop pestering them (like if a male wants to mate but a female doesn’t). But chinchillas can spray at their owners, too. Because the spray can reach quite a distance, it can get on your things—and on you.
Question: How Big Is Your Bedroom?
If you’ve never owned a chinchilla before, you’d be surprised at how big their cages should be. There are several reasons why:
- People underestimate how much space every rodent pet needs
- Chinchillas are bigger than your average rodent
- Chinchillas need surfaces they can jump up to, so the cages have to be tall as well
- Chinchillas should ideally be housed in pairs, so the cage needs to be even bigger still
Most owners recommend three feet tall cages that are two foot wide by two foot deep at the very least. Take a tape measure and try to figure out where this cage would fit in your room. If you don’t have room, you could move things around, or you could put your chinchilla cage somewhere else.
Advantage: You Can Easily Chin-Proof a Bedroom
Your chinchillas will need some outside-the-cage time. To provide this, you’ll need to ‘chin-proof’ your room. This means making it suitable for chinchillas to run around in. It involves:
- Securely tidying away any wires. Chinchillas chew through wires which is obviously dangerous. In other rooms this is a problem, as the wires are for big things like TVs and fridges that aren’t easily moved. But in your bedroom, the only wires are probably for lamps or phone chargers.
- Blocking off entrances and exits. You don’t want your chinchilla to escape. Your bedroom probably only has one door, so that’s not a problem.
- Stopping chins from chewing furniture, wall trims and carpet. This is a problem wherever you go in the house!
If this doesn’t prove easy, you can buy a pen for your chinchillas to run around in. You can then put this pen anywhere you like in the house. Buy one that has tall walls as chinchillas can jump surprisingly high!
Disadvantage: If You’re Married
Not to go into too much detail, but if you’re married, you won’t want your bedroom to be a petting zoo (well, at least not in this sense). You may find the combination of animal noises, smells and general annoyance to be off-putting.
Where SHOULD I Keep My Chinchilla?
Many owners do keep their chinchillas in their bedrooms with them. If the disadvantages above don’t seem that important to you, you can start off keeping your chinchilla in your bedroom. If they do become a problem, you can move your chinchilla’s cage. That’s not a problem unless you move the cage frequently.
Other rooms you could consider include:
- The basement. The basement is a good choice because it’s cool and it doesn’t have bright direct sunlight. The only issue is it can get damp/humid down there.
- The living room. Keeping your chinchilla here lets everybody spend time with it during the day. Just make sure the room isn’t too noisy, as this will stress your pet out.
Pretty much anywhere in the house is fine so long as it isn’t noisy, humid, too hot or too cold. This rules out the kitchen, for example, which gets hot and noisy; plus, it would be unhygienic to keep your pet there. You also shouldn’t keep your chinchilla in the garage because a) it can get too cold, and b) you may not see if it gets sick or somehow escapes.
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