Tux is visiting at my house until he finds his forever home. His name is Tux because he is a beautiful extra dark standard boy with a beautiful white belly and when he sits up he looks like he is dressed up and ready to go to a fancy affair. But he could just as easily be named Sir Poop-a-lot, or even Nibbler.
It seems he gets stressed very easily, first night here he nibbled the fur tips on his whole left side. Then he started on a couple spots on his right side. I knew I had to get him settled down, so I started giving him lots of options for chewing instead of his fur. I added a ledge where he can hide a bit and feel safe. I have always believed that chinchillas need wood to chew on. Even when I had 150 breeders they always got a new chew block every week. So Tux thoroughly enjoyed his pine block and made quite a mound of pine nibblings. A couple of magazines ago I talked about how to tame down a chinchilla and get them to come to the front of the cage and even walk/ sit on my hand – that process began as well.
So the next day he got a piece of Saguaro cactus wood to chew. That was a special treat and by morning nothing was left but a thicker than a pencil size piece that had fallen outside the cage, so I put it back in the cage. He immediately grabbed it and pushed it outside the cage again, apparently, once they get that small, he no longer wants them and discards them.
But with all the chewing of wood he has stopped nibbling his fur, so I keep giving him more wood. I have added more pine blocks, apple twigs and manzanita “coins” and he keeps nibbling.
The taming process is also working well. He is a bit shy but once out of the cage he is quite a cuddler and loves to have his ears scratched. It is good for about 5 minutes then he has to explore and find something to nibble, then he comes back for more snuggling. He is learning manners, stopped chewing his fur, and is going to make someone a wonderful little pet.
One week later, Tux is calming down nicely and loves his snuggle time, still not sure about being held but loves to snuggle when it is on his terms, yes new owner he does come with an attitude! Tux moves into the “Chinchilla condo”, in preparation for finding his forever home. It is the “smaller” condo cage for chinchillas that KW cages makes. Cage dimension is 18” X 24” by 30 inches high. I love the sturdiness of the cage and the 3 shelves. First day was a bit stressful, but within 24 hours you would think he was a ninja warrior jumping from shelf to shelf and in and out of the hammock. But sometimes it is more fun to sleep on the shelf just under the hammock because it is a nice safe hiding place.
Another week passes, Tux greets us in the morning with his vocalizations, he is demanding a piece of rolled oats or even better some hay. He becomes quite vocal again in the evening demanding a little snuggle time. He has become such a spoiled baby! Tux will now walk right up our hand and ,arms to be held and for his snuggle time! The “condo” has become his castle. He constantly rearranges his chew sticks, he has stopped fur chewing all together and the fur is growing out. But for him he must have hay every night, and a fresh chew stick every other day.
I am happy to report the week before this issue went to press Tux went to his forever home. A wonderful man fell in love with him immediately on first sight. Tux was a delightful house guest. In the beginning I did not think he would calm down so quickly as he was very frightened and stressed. But a little rolled oats, hay, and a calm patient human was all it took. Thank you Tux you were a wonderful house guest!