Why do chinchillas make great pets? 0 1397


The cute furry rodent from the Andes, chinchillas are a firm favourite with those looking for a slightly more unusual small pet than your average hamster. They come in a full range of colours and each has their own personalities. They live up to 20 years on average and are slightly larger than a squirrel. Chinchillas are generally athletic night owls, who love to sleep all day and come out and play in the evening.

Super-soft fur

Chinchillas? soft fur is very dense and it makes them great cuddly animals. The dense fur also means that they cannot get fleas because the fur effectively suffocates the fleas before they can breed. It also means chinchillas bathe in special dust instead of in water, and this is fun to watch!

Quirky personalities

If you?ve ever met a chinchilla owner, you will know that they each have their own unique and quirky personalities. They get along with almost every pet, except cats (because cats want to eat them!) They can be taken out of their cage to socialise, they enjoy eating almost everything and anything, including Doritos and pizza.

They smell nice

Unlike many small animals, chinchillas do not have a bad smell. So you won?t need to worry about putting their cage somewhere out of the way when visitors come by. They also keep themselves clean and well-groomed, so you don?t need to.


Once the cage is set up with all of the bits they need (things to gnaw, dust bath, toys etc), chinchillas are relatively low maintenance. Their inquisitive personalities mean they can play for hours on their own. It is advised to socialise them frequently, especially early on, in order to avoid having an anti-social chinchilla.

They live long lives

Captive chinchillas live on average 15-20 years. They also have relatively few health problems, and as long as you keep their temperature stable, they will live a long and happy life. Be sure to give your chinchilla a healthy diet and avoid too many snacks, as if given the opportunity, chinchillas will eat and eat and eat, resulting in early death.

They are work-friendly

As chinchillas generally sleep all day and wake up for the evening and night, they make ideal pets for those who are at school/working during the day and then at home during the evening. Their social and playful personalities make a great welcome home after a hard day!

Find out more about caring for chinchillas

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3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 1211

Pet rat behaviour

Rats have been given a bad name by decades of bad press. Far from the dirty, disease-filled pests that are portrayed on our screens, these sociable, clean animals have a few surprising perks to owning them.

These sociable, friendly pets are highly trainable animals who show affection for their owners and have many cute little quirks that make them great companions. They also have a very strange way of showing they?re happy!

With that in mind, here are three surprising behaviours of pet rats.

1. They are incredibly playful animals

This one will be no surprise to those who will have seen the boxing, chasing and excited jumps with their own eyes, but many are unaware that rats spend lots of time playing with each other and their owners. One scientific study actually showed that rats giggle when they are tickled. It?s highly recommended that you fill your pet rat’s cage with lots of enrichment toys and interact with them daily. Many owners report that their pet rats love being chased or to wrestle their hands!

2. They are incredibly social animals and love to show affection

Rats are incredibly social creatures. While of course every animal has its own personality and there are exceptions to the rule, they need to live with at least one other rat and most enjoy lots of daily interaction with their owners. It is not a rare sight to see pet rats snuggled up in the laps, pockets and sleeves of their humans. They will also nibble and lick them, as they would other rats, in a show of affection.

3. They boggle their eyes when they are happy

Surprising when first witnessed, one of the most peculiar aspects of rats is the way they display their contentment. While cats purr and dogs wag their tails, when a rat is very happy or relaxed they will brux and boggle – which is a sort of teeth grinding and very fast bulging of the eyes.

Rats are brilliant pets for all ages and there are many positives that come from owning these friendly, misunderstood animals.

What can degus eat? 0 2063

What can degus eat

When they?re living in the wild, degus focus on dietary fibre. It makes up about 60% of their diet, with the other 40% consisting of natural vegetation. But when they?re kept as pets, you?ll need to keep a close eye on what you feed your degu.

Good quality hay

For the most part, your degu?s diet should consist of good quality hay. There are lots of brands that will suffice, but two of particularly good quality are Timothy Hay and Meadow Hay. Keep an eye on the colour: if it?s pink or white, you should throw this hay away as it?s growing mould. If it?s green, it can cause bloating. Occasionally, you can mix some Alfalfa hay in with your regular hay. It?s high in protein, so great in small doses.

You can top up your degu?s bowl with a little bit of guinea pig or degu-specific food, but don?t go overboard. It?s important that your degu doesn?t start ignoring the hay because it?s got a range of health benefits, including the maintenance of a healthy gut and strong teeth. Around 10g of degu food a day should do the trick.

Human food in moderation

The good news is you can feed your degu some of your human food! Give them to your degu in moderation though, as they can cause gas and bloating. On rotation, you can feed them the following foods around once or twice a week:

? Asparagus
? Carrot tops
? Dandelion leaves
? Broccoli
? Cauliflower
? Fresh herbs
? Brussels sprouts
? Celery
? Cabbage
? Courgette
? Green beans
? Beetroot
? Dried herbs
? Pumpkin
? Butternut squash
? Marigold flowers
? Radish

Some sugary foods can be an occasional treat for your degu. In excess, they carry the risk of diabetes, so we?d only recommend doing this once a month.

? Apple
? Cherry tomatoes
? Peas
? Sweet potato
? Carrots
? Cucumber
? Sweetcorn or corn on the cob

When it?s treat time for your degu, give them a tiny amount (one or two) of:

? Sunflower seeds
? Peanuts
? Pumpkin seeds
? Whole nuts

As a general rule, the main thing to avoid giving your degu is fruit not listed here, rabbit food, hamster food or anything with molasses.

Just like us, degus love food ? whether it?s good or bad for them. Bookmark this page to make sure you give your degu a balanced diet, and happy feeding!

Learn more about caring for your degu and other pet care advice here: https://nichepets.com/category/mammals/degus/