my chinchilla is fat and chews on everything. also, i cant get him to use an exercise wheel- he just
There are quite a few things you can do to help your chin lose weight and enrich his lifestyle. The chewing can work to your advantage if you handle it correctly.
For the chubbiness - give your baby some hard root vegetables to chew such as carrots or parsnips while at the same time slightly reducing the pellet portion and portions of any seed or grain that you feed in addition. The harder to chew vegs will increase the amount of work he has to do to eat it plus there are very few calories. Remember: soft vegs like lettuce or cabbage don't give much chewing satisfaction; so, the little guy may look elsewhere for his chomping pleasure. Check out your local pet stores. There are toys out there specifically designed for chewing not eating.
To enrich the environment and put a little more activity into your chin's day, you could devise a maze where he has to look around a bit for his food. This adds interest as well as getting him mobile. Maybe hide bits of his food in items he has to work to open. When you are playing with him you can do things like let him see you put a morsel of food on the floor in the opposite corner of the room. If he wants the food, he has to cross the floor to get it.
Hope this gets your creative juices flowing.
What chinchilla food are you using? The mixed foods that contain fruits and nuts are very fatty. Consider switching to Mazuri Chinchilla Food. Chinchillas aren't usually big wheel users, but some will use the flying saucers.
For the most part, the excess weight is probably caused by the food and treats that you're offering. Switch to a healthy pelleted diet and minimize the treats that you're offering. Carrots break down into sugars, so don't offer them often, and don't offer a lot. You want MINIMAL treats, and fresh produce are treats.
As for the cage, make sure that it has many ledges and stories that the chin can jump and run around with. And, make sure to offer plenty of outside cage time.
If you only have one chinchilla, this is another potential problem, as they are very social creatures. Consider getting another chinchilla. Quarantine is important, and a slow introduction is necessary if you plan on keeping them together. Also if you get another one, consider a larger cage, depending on what you're using now. Having a friend will provide social interation and more playtime.
Mazes, balls, and other strenuous toys are not always the best becuase chinchillas overheat easily. If you opt for these options, keep this type of play at a minimum of maybe 10-15 minutes at a time.
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