Most of you know I have two male chinchillas. Woodley II, the alpha male gray, is healthy and somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 since we got him as a rescue in the summer of 2000. He lived in my home office in Maryland and kept me company. Woodley is a good boy and enjoys running across the top of this red couch.
Chinchillas can live as long as 20 years. When we moved to the Asheville area in 2005, that fall our son bought a young male chinchilla, a white one with black ears and tail. After keeping them in separate cages, letting them out to get acquainted and play in the same room, going in and out of their cages (territory), I put them together in a large, modified ferret cage and they got along just fine. They never fought and became best buddies, sleeping together like peas in a pod. That mutual friendship and respect went on for 7 years until we dog-sat Bernie weekend before last.
|I was a BAD chinchilla because|
The chins become defensive around dogs and will bite them so I kept the chinchillas' cage cordoned off from Bernie's sniffing and curiousity. Bernie, AKA "the dog" was mostly upstairs, gated off from the stairs, but the chins knew he was in the house. Snowball bit me hard on the wrist on Thursday. It was painful for days, and if you look close, you can see the bandage on my right wrist. What I didn't realize is that he was also attacking and biting his old friend, Woodley. I heard them making their noises and DH even said they sounded like they were fighting. I saw gray fur all over the cage and Woodley was inside his house, making clucking noises, keeping Snowball out. I figured he was exibiting his alpha-male side because of the dog. When I got Woodley out of his house and inspected him a couple days later, he had bite wounds all over, some scabbed over and healing and some fresh and bleeding. I immediately removed Snowball to the small cage and called the vet. She said that if they were healing that was good and to watch for infection and his behavior - was he eating? etc. I cleaned and inspected the bites that were fairly superficial, no deep ones that might have injured an organ. He obviously wasn't feeling well and needed to be able to heal without the other one biting him again. The good news is that Woodley is now healed up and back to his old, mooching self. But they remain separated.
|The perp with his slitty eyes is in the "pris" cage|
Today I examined Woodley all over, and he's still got a big scab on his back behind his neck. There are no abscesses or infection. The boys are still separated. I cleaned their cages and scrubbed the tile floor where they live downstairs - same room where the TV is. They like watching baseball with DH. I put another tube (cardboard cylinder that is used as a form for concrete) like the one in Snowball's cage there back into Woodley's cage. They love their tubes because it's like being in a burrow, and he's been sleeping in it ever since. Their favorite snack is apple branches and apple leaves. It's a good thing we have an ancient apple tree that always needs trimming.
I've been walking to the end of our street where the mailboxes are and back every day. It's hard but it's good to be able to do it.