Illustrated Articles

Small Mammals + Care & Wellness

  • Chinchillas require a high fiber diet and should be offered grass hay (such as Timothy hay or other low calcium hays such as orchard grass, oat hay, or meadow hay) free choice (available 24 hours a day). Hay should be the main component of their diet.

  • The cage should allow the chinchilla to move around a lot, as they are very active, agile, and acrobatic animals. Multilevel cages, similar to those designed for ferrets, work well, as long as there are no areas where a chinchilla could get its limbs or feet caught.

  • Chinchillas can make fun, enjoyable pets. The chinchilla is a rodent closely related to the guinea pig. They originated from South America where they live in the Andes Mountains.

  • Generally speaking, chinchillas are fairly hardy animals. However, they do have several unique problems, and understanding these problems will allow you to better care for your pet and minimize future health care problems.

  • Eimeria spp and other coccidial organisms can infect rabbits with a disease called coccidia, especially young and recently weaned rabbits. These organisms live in rabbit intestines and also can infecting the liver. They’re species or host specific, meaning they only live in rabbits.

  • Due to their well-deserved reputation as escape artists, ferrets should be housed in a cage that can be securely closed and/or locked. The cage should be as large as you can afford; a suggested minimum size might be 24” x 24” x 18” high (60 x 60 x 45 cm).

  • The ferret has been domesticated for over 2000 years. It was originally used for pest control and hunting in Europe (the polecat). They are members of the weasel family (Mustelidae), which includes skunks, otters, mink, weasels and badgers.

  • Ferrets have several unique problems; understanding these problems will allow you to better care for your pet and minimize future health care problems.

  • Guinea pigs, like rabbits, are true herbivores, although the physiology and function of their gastrointestinal system is less well understood than that of the rabbit, which has been well investigated.

  • Guinea pigs, also called cavies (or cavy for a single guinea pig), originated in South America where the Incas used them as food. They were probably introduced into Europe soon after the first Spanish explorers returned from that continent in the 1500s.