How Harmful Could It Be for Chinchillas to Bite Their Cages?


If you have a chinchilla, you may be familiar with a couple of odd behaviors they do. At first, I used to freak out each time my chinchilla slept with his eyes wide open, but I later learned it’s completely normal. Luckily, years of raising chinchillas come in handy, and I can safely say I know the reasons behind most of their weird habits.

It depends primarily on the cage’s material. Most pens on the market have a coating to prevent rusting and corrosion. More often than not, this coating is harmful to pets to bite or eat.

If you want to learn more about the odd behavior of your pet chinchilla, keep on reading this blog post!

How Harmful Could It Be for Chinchillas to Bite Their Cages?

If you’re worried about your chinchilla biting his cage, you have a right to be. In the end, grinding on steel or aluminum isn’t a safe activity, and it’ll inevitably affect the pet’s teeth, right? Well, not exactly.

For chinchillas, biting their cages may not be as harmful as you think. It mainly depends on the material of the pen. If there’s something toxic in it, it can be harmful. If the material is clean of toxins, then you can leave your chinchilla to bite all it wants.

For example, if you have a chinchilla cage made of powder-coated galvanized wire, it may be toxic for your bet. In the end, your chinchilla will be biting right through zinc, and we all know zinc isn’t the safest material to consume.

It’d be wise to do some research on the material before buying your chinchilla cage. You can opt for powder-coated steel; it’s highly safe and durable for house pets.

If your chinchilla recently developed the habit of biting his cage, you can always change the wiring for a safer material just to make sure.

Why Do Chinchillas Bite Their Cages?

You may look at your chinchilla biting his cage and start wondering. What on earth could be the reason for this? You give your pet enough food, and he has his chewing toy, so why does he resort to biting a wired cage?

Well, nature has an explanation for everything. Chinchillas have fast-growing teeth, and they never stop growing.[Source] If they grow too much, they won’t be able to eat food, swallow it, or do any daily functions. Over time, the overly growing teeth will result in an infection, and the result may be deadly.

To prevent this, chinchillas tend to bite on different items to wear their front incisors down. The chewing toys are sometimes not enough, so they need something more solid to chew on. That’s why they resort to their own cages.

It’s the same concept of humans cutting their nails.

How to Stop Your Chinchilla From Biting Cage

Well, if you want to protect the cage from vicious biting, you need to provide an alternative for your chinchilla to bite on. Or else, the teeth will grow out of control. The best way to prevent the behavior is to make sure your chinchilla has a sufficient amount of hay daily.

Kaytee All Natural Timothy Hay for Small Animals

Chinchillas need to have both soft and dry hay in the diet.[Source] You should include dry types because they help wear the teeth out. You may go for broke, timothy hay, alpine, or even mountain grass. Alternatively, you can opt for hay cubes.

Understanding your pet’s dietary needs is vital if you want to keep the teeth at bay. For example, you shouldn’t include processed pellets as a regular part of your chinchilla’s diet. They don’t contain enough fibers, so they won’t help the teeth much. As a result, the chinchilla may opt for biting the cage instead.

If your chinchilla is okay with chewing toys, you can provide him with those too, but you’ll need to pick the suitable toys.

How to Choose the Right Chewing Toys for Your Chinchilla

Chinchillas won’t take any chewing toys you throw at them. In fact, they’re pretty picky when it comes to the toys they chew on. Here are some of the best options you can get.

Wooden Chew Toys

Wooden chew toys have plenty of advantages. For one, their texture helps the chinchillas nail their teeth to keep them from growing too long. On Top of that, they’re a source of entertainment, so your pet doesn’t get bored or depressed.

Some toys even come with spinning wheels and similar designs to keep the chinchilla up and running.

What’s even better is that wooden toys are made of natural wood, so they’re entirely safe for your chinchilla.

Apple Chew Sticks

Apple chew sticks have a sweet taste because they’re made from applewood. Chinchillas are big fans of the taste, especially that the bars have a rough texture that they can use to nail their teeth.

You can buy these sticks from any pet supplies store. They’re mostly six inches long, and they’re hand-made. You may choose the thickness according to your chinchilla’s needs.

Wooden Platforms

Squirrel Gerbil Chinchilla and Dwarf Hamster L-Shaped Pedal Wooden Platform, 3 Pieces of Natural Wooden Parrot Hamster Round Standing Board, Rat Activity Chinchilla Bird Cage Accessories

Wooden platforms come in different shapes and designs, and they have chewing toys built into them. They provide an escape for you chinchilla from the boredom of everyday life. At the same time, the chewing part keeps them entertained and keeps their teeth tame, so you’re getting two benefits in one platform.

Not to mention, chinchillas usually prefer staying above the ground. It makes them feel safer, so these platforms will come in handy because they’ll let the chinchillas stay off the floor. Some pets will even sleep inside.

[Related Article: 5 Best Bedding For Chinchillas(Buying Guide)]

To Wrap Up

To conclude the article, it’s not harmful to chinchillas to bite their cages if they’re made of safe materials. It’s also not a weird habit; all chinchillas bite on various things to keep their teeth from growing out. So, whenever you see your chinchilla doing that, just let him be.

Sometimes, they’ll stop doing it if you ignore them long enough.

Sarah Jones

Sarah is a passionate pet lover who owns several pets on her own. She loves to share her experience doing part-time writing to impart some useful tips to other pet owners.

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