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Questions & Comments

I know this may sound weird, but ... I have had my chinchilla for a short period of time. I thought he was licking his stomach or something ... but he was messing with his privates. Is that normal? Do I need to get him fixed? What do I tell my kids he is doing? Sorry this is an awkward question but I have not had a chin before.

No reason to be embarrassed ... this is a normal and a good thing for a male chin to do. A male chin is made with a sheath over his penis, since he does not take water baths, he has to keep himself clean. Chinchillas are very clean animals, that is why you can rarely smell them.
He can not let the dust bath dust get inside the sheath, it would cause him to get raw, irritated and get an infection. So the only thing he has left to clean himself with is his mouth ... just like a female chin cleans herself, it's just not quite as obvious what she is doing.
When a male is "fixed", it is not the penis that is removed, so the same "embarrassment" could still occur and he would still have to clean himself in the way he is now doing.
Also, to have a chin "fixed", whether it be a male or a female chin, it should only be done as a last resort, in a life-and-death situation. Chinchillas are very tiny, very delicate and do not react to/handle surgery well.
What do you tell your kids? "He's cleaning himself ... let's give him some privacy. You wouldn't want a bunch of people watching you while you were bathing, would you?" Kids will accept the simple truth/answer much better than a complicated lie or made-up story.
-Answered by Jo Ann of Luv'N Chins

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