Chinchilla Care

Water For Your Chinchilla

Like humans, chinchillas need water.  Their water should be fresh and changed daily.  This is crucial because if this is not followed, bacteria can grow and it would affect the chinchilla's health.  It's not a good idea to have chinchillas drink from standing water in a bowl.  They'll be sure to catch bacteria that way.  Also, they may accidentally tip the bowl over and then you have a wet mess.  Chinchilla fur doesn't do too well if it gets wet, and you wouldn't want to have to deal with wet chins on a daily basis. A preferred vehicle for drinking water would be a water bottle.  Water should be given in a gravity driven bottle with a medal spout that hangs on the side of the cage. 


If you do use a water bottle, it should be cleaned thoroughly to avoid any germs or bacteria.  Clean the entire bottle with hot water and have another one on stand-by.  The chinchilla will drink the water more if nothing has been added to it.  So, if you want your pet to drink plenty of water, it should stay as it is. 



Since Chinchillas will chew, if the bottle is plastic, it should be hung on the outside of the cage with only the medal spout sticking through the cage. If any of the plastic is reachable by the chinchilla, it should be protected with something such as wire mesh.  


Make sure the water bottle is tight no leaks or spills, the first sign of a leak change the bottle, you really don’t want to take the chance of your chinchilla getting wet and having their fur mould up. Make sure their water stays fresh, the bacteria that sits in water is not good for their systems. Water bottles should be changed and cleaned daily with soap to avoid bacterial build-up. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the soap out from the bottle.  


There are several type of water bottles on the market today. The most common type has a ball valve in the end of the drinking tube, these are notorious for leaking and emptying themselves. The quality of the ball-valve type really does determine the performance of the bottle. The cheaper the bottle, usually the worst they will do and you will end up with a flood in the bottom of your cage. These bottles need to maintain a proper vacuum in the top portion of the bottle and will leak if that vacuum is compromised or if the bottle is not full enough. There are other types that have either a spring-loaded lever valve or just the little lever valve. These do not leak as bad as the ball valve type but are a little more expensive, not to mention that some chinchillas do not like them.  


Most importantly water bottles must be kept clean and be checked on a daily basis.  At least once a week they should be washed out with hot soapy water.  A bottle cleaning brush is a good investment for anyone with chinchillas, it cuts down on bottle cleaning time dramatically.  The bottles should be thoroughly rinsed after washing.  Keeping the water bottle full of good, clean water is a daily task.  If anything is ever floating around in the bottle or algae starts to grow in it, wash it out immediately. A good chinchilla food is Kaytee Fiesta Chinchilla Food size: 2.5 Lb .



Any water you give your chinchilla should be as clean as possible and free of bacteria and other contaminants.  It's probably best to stay away from tap water or well water just to prevent any bacterial infections from occurring.  Tap water can contain fluoride and other chemicals that may be in doses low enough to not harm humans but be dangerous for small animals like the chinchilla.  You may want to check at your local water company to see if they know of any harmful chemicals that could make chinchillas sick. 


Some people think that the chinchillas must have some minerals in their water to really be a type of supplement for the chinchillas, this would mean giving them mineral water or spring water. Since chinchillas get the vast majority of their nutrients from their food, this isn't completely necessary. It isn't going to hurt them, by any means, if they drink water that has a only a low concentration of the minerals. Calcium and magnesium make up most of the mineral content in water, they are the white stuff that is remaining after all the water has evaporated or has boiled away.  


Regular bottled, purified water is just fine for chinchillas as is reverse osmosis or distilled water.  They don't need the expensive bottled mineral waters and shouldn't be given carbonated water (this could really cause problems-use only flat water!)  However, if you are sure that the water you are giving them is clean and contaminant free, then it's probably going to be just fine.    


As a last resort (or maybe a first), the water may be boiled to kill any bacteria.  This is pretty highly effective at making water safe for chinchillas and humans alike.