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How to Transport a Chinchilla

Updated April 17, 2017

A chinchilla can live up to 20 years, so you may have to travel with her at some point. If you do travel, be alert for escape attempts. They are escape artists. In fact, chinchillas are skittish by nature, and travel may make them nervous. By preparing correctly, though, you can travel with your chinchilla by automobile or plane without running into problems.

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  1. Purchase a travel cage, keeping it as small as possible but ensuring that he has room to stand up and turn around comfortably. Nylon cat carriers are good for short trips. But chinchillas love to chew and can demolish one of these in short order, especially when they are used to a large two- or three-story home. Larger cages can pose their own risks. If you stop suddenly, he could be harmed if he is thrown across a large cage.

  2. Pack for the trip. Place familiar items in the carrier to keep her entertained. Favourite toys or chew blocks will help in relieving the boredom and reduce her stress levels. Have an extra water bottle just in case she spills one or drinks more than you anticipate. Chinchillas dehydrate easily.

  3. Adjust the temperature in your vehicle and provide him with moving air by turning on the air conditioning or opening the window slightly. Do not allow the air to hit him directly, as he is prone to chills. If it is extremely hot, place a frozen bottle of water in the cage for additional cooling, as he is susceptible to heat stroke if the temperature rises above 23.9 degrees Celsius.

  4. Place the carrier in the front seat next to you or on the floor just behind your seat since the temperature in a car can vary greatly between the front and back seats. If the weather is cold, place a stuffed animal or some object she can snuggle up to for warmth. Place a thin towel over the carrier to protect her from direct sunlight. This will also muffle outside noises and help reduce her skittishness.

  5. Talk to her frequently during the trip to help keep her calm. Do not handle her more than necessary in hot weather, as this will raise her body temperature. Do find opportunities for her to get out of the cage. She is a normally active creature, so she will need opportunities to move around.

  6. Call the airline prior to your trip to determine if it transports chinchillas. Also, ask about regulations and documentation. Each airline has slightly different regulations and many no longer allow you to travel with exotic pets. Ascertain whether you can take him with carry-on luggage or whether he must ride in the pressure-controlled animal compartment of the plane.

  7. Purchase a travel cage, keeping it as small as possible but ensuring that he has room to stand up and turn around comfortably. If she must travel in the animal compartment, line the cage with pages from a newspaper for warmth and comfort. Avoid travelling midsummer or midwinter because of his sensitivity to temperature changes. Make sure the carrier is well ventilated and escape-proof.

  8. Procure all documentation required by the airline. Paperwork may include a license or health certification from a veterinarian, depending on the airline and your destination.

  9. Tip

    Chinchillas are nocturnal. If you travel during the daytime, your pet may sleep for a large portion of the trip. If possible, get a "chin" sitter and leave her at home.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cage or small pet carrier
  • Toys
  • Chew block
  • Small box
  • Frozen bottle of water or stuffed animal
  • Thin towel
  • License
  • Health certificate
  • Newsprint

About the Author

Annabelle Lee has been working in the journalism field since 1990. She was a teacher and yearbook adviser for four years and holds two associate degrees from her local community college where she currently teaches computer classes. Lee also writes for a local newspaper and was a proofreader for McGraw-Hill.

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