Exotic Animal Expert Thomas Harford Columbia Shares How to Care for the Softest Pet You’ll Ever Own
Is there a cuter pet than a chinchilla? Lovers of these soft, jumpy, big-eared, plump creatures say no, and Tom Harford Columbia, an exotic pet lover, said they are a popular pet among those who love exotic animals. Chinchillas only grow to be about one foot long at most and can live for 10 years with proper care, according to Thomas Harford Columbia.
“One of the best things about a pet chinchilla is how soft they are,” Tom Harford Columbia said. “Many people can’t believe how plush and silky their coats are.” However, because of this there are some special care requirements for chinchillas.
Tom Harford Columbia has devoted his life to studying and educating others about caring for exotic pets, from chinchillas to hedgehogs to chameleons. He teaches middle school students and volunteers at a local zoo to help people take the best care of these creatures as possible.
“One of the main things I tell people about chinchilla care is that they need a dust bath at least once a week,” Thomas Harford Columbia said. The fur of a chinchilla may be groomed with a brush, but it is important to avoid getting your chinchilla wet, Tom Harford Columbia cautioned.
Chinchilla pellets, available at most pet stores, provide an excellent source of sustenance for a pet chinchilla, Tom Harford Columbia said. However, treats should also be provided in moderation, including vegetables and fruits. Hay should be available for chinchillas at all times.
When it comes to chinchilla habitat, things do not need to be as particular as they do with some other exotic pets, Thomas Harford Columbia said. Chinchillas do not require a particular temperature, though direct sunlight and drafty areas should be avoided, Tom Harford Columbia advised. Chinchillas should have plenty of room in their cages to play, exercise and be stimulated, as they are active creatures. It is also important to note that chinchillas are nocturnal, sleeping during the day and being awake at night, Thomas Harford Columbia said.
In addition to toys and exercise equipment, keep wood sticks and chewing toys available for your chinchilla at all times so their teeth do not grow too long, as their teeth never stop growing, according to Tom Harford Columbia.
Chinchillas can be a suitable, educational and interesting pet for children, but not every child will be a good match for a chinchilla, Thomas Harford Columbia cautioned. Chinchillas are fragile and their bones can be broken easily, so children must exercise care when handling them and be supervised by an adult. In addition, not all chinchillas enjoy interacting with people. However, with the proper care, a chinchilla can be a wonderful addition to any family.