March 13, 2023 by Umair Shahid
Chinchillas belong to rodent families. You wonder if your chinchilla chews wires as the others do so.
Unfortunately yes, chinchillas chew wires. They do, and the bitter truth is you can’t train them not to chew. It’s a hard-wired behavior that stems from the chinchilla’s evolutionary history.
So, many pet owners have horror stories about their chinchillas chewing wires. Sometimes the experience is not deadly or injurious for our pets. It takes having your chinchilla go through the experience of being injured to open up your eyes to the great dangers.
Do Chinchillas Chew Wires?
They can be exposed to any wire including electrical cords, cables, chargers, and even phone lines. They do, and you can’t train them not to.
So, it is very important to have a safe area where your chinchillas can play without any danger or harm. It’s essential to use wire protectors or to completely remove all wires from the area where your chinchilla is allowed out of the cage to play.
Let’s dig a little deeper and understand the chinchillas’ behavior of chewing wires and how to deal with it.
Why do Chinchillas chew wires?
Chinchillas are hard-wired to chew on wires and cables, and there’s nothing you can do to get around that fact.
Let me tell you the fact, wild chinchillas have evolved over many thousands of years to chew on cable-shaped things. That might seem odd—they live in a remote and inhospitable place and were there long before people were. So, how come they like chewing cables so much? So, chinchillas think that the cable is a plant root.
Besides that, chinchillas have a very generic desire to chew on any suitable material. They need to gnaw on things to stop their teeth from growing too long.
That’s why chinchillas chew on all the things in their cage, or when you let them out, why they chew on baseboards, walls, and furniture.
Risks of chewing wires:
Sometimes you will observe that out of a sudden your chinchilla stops eating and stops pooping; in short, its digestive system stops working and shuts down. This is exceptionally dangerous, and if left untreated can cause death.
If your chinchilla chews wires when it is plugged in, it is the time your chinchilla gets electrocuted. Chinchillas can very easily nibble through the tough outer casing of a cable and access the live current within. As the cable would be in your pet’s mouth, it’s highly likely that it would be electrocuted as a result.
Ways to deal with the chinchilla’s chewing behavior:
You think you can stop your chinchilla from chewing. No! No! No! you can’t! You can just accept the fact and make this behavior less damaging.
You can do that by ‘chinchilla-proofing’ your rooms.
Chin proof cords:
Start with the rooms; if possible remove the cords from the room. You can also cover the cords with a cord protector.
You can also use a rug or carpet to cover a cord on the floor. Another way is to raise the cords out of the chinchilla’s reach or for small items; the appliance can be put in a drawer while the chinchilla is out.
Another option to avoid the chewing behavior of the chinchillas is using playpens. According to vet experts, Playpen allows the chinchillas to play safely.
These are available online or at pet stores. They’re like portable fences you can set up in a circle to provide a large safe play space.
You can go for another option is to block off any hazards with cardboard. You just need to spread the large boxes along the walls and furniture. The individual pieces of cardboard can be taped together. Put the tape on the outside of the cardboard. This will help keep the chinchilla from eating the tape.
Close the closets and doors:
We all know that chinchillas are hyperactive and love to roam around the house. It is recommended to shut all the doors and closets until the chinchilla is safely back in its cage. It keeps the chinchilla from escaping into other parts of the home or from getting outside.
Additionally, should the chinchilla get out of the room, it could be stepped on, squished between doors and walls or between items in the closet, or injured when hiding inside a recliner when it changes positions.
Many owners have accidentally killed their chinchillas trying to get them out of heavy furniture and closets full of heavy or sharp objects. So, if all the doors are closed, other animals, such as dogs and cats, cannot get to the chinchilla to harm it, intentionally or accidentally.
By all causes, chances of electrical shocks are not completely eradicated. Your little friend may get the electrical shocks.
Sometimes, the chinchilla will not show any symptoms of an electrical burn for days after the shock, but then suddenly die from the effects.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can chinchillas have a wire bottom cage?
Yes, they do but keep in mind the following measurements. Any wire flooring or shelves should be 1/2″ x 1/2″ mesh for your chin’s comfort. The ideal size of wire mesh for the outside body of the cage should be 1/2″ x 1″.
What wire is safe for chinchillas?
According to different vet experts, some metal wires are generally recognized as safe for the chinchillas such as gold, silver, nickel-plated, or rhodium-plated wires.
Can I make a chinchilla cage out of wood?
You can if you want to. But avoid using oak, plywood, MDF, cedar, and anything pressure-treated, as these products are not safe for chinchillas. But for the cleaning point of view, it is recommended to use Kiln-dried pine for the enclosure or melamine panels for the inside of the cage as they won’t absorb water and are easy to clean.
Your chinchilla will be happiest if let out of its cage every evening and allowed to run around in a room. However, because they like to chew on things like furniture and wires, you need to cover these things to protect them and your chinchillas.
Giving your chinchilla lots of chew toys like applewood sticks can prevent this to an extent, but even if you take every precaution, your chinchilla would probably still chew any wires it finds.
Thank you for reading the article. Hopefully, after reading this article you get to know all the tips to keep your chinchillas away from the wires. If you want to learn more about little chinchillas let us know in the comment section below.
Your response will be appreciated.
I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.