Only the interior design of an enclosure provides species-appropriate employment opportunities. It should not be too sparse, but also allow the chipmunk enough freedom of movement.
Chipmunks are active animals that like to stay on the ground as well as climb in the upper area of the enclosure. Therefore, the cage should be equipped in such a way that the chipmunks can climb well. In addition to horizontal branches, there should also be some thicker vertical branches or trunks. The cage is also equipped with sleeping caves, e.g. B. bird nest boxes are used. Since chipmunks change their sleeping den from time to time, it makes sense to offer at least 2 dens.
Incidentally, nesting boxes made of natural trunks, such as those used for budgerigars, are very popular. The minimum dimensions for the nest box are 25 x 17 x 14 cm (LxWxH), the hole should be 2.5 – 3 cm in diameter. If several Kobel is offered, the squirrel not only changes its sleeping place again and again but usually also uses a cave as a pantry. It is therefore advisable to provide the nesting baskets with a hinged lid so that you can check and clean them more easily.
It is also important to place the boxes at different heights of the enclosure. Nevertheless, some squirrels decide to dig a cave in the ground, as this corresponds to the natural conditions.
- Several feeding bowls (one for each type of food), glazed clay bowls have proven to be best, as they cannot be gnawed by the squirrels
- a water bowl (water bottles for rodents are particularly suitable)
- bark, stones
- In general, there are no limits to the design of the enclosure. The more interesting the cage design, the better it is for your chipmunk. However, they must always consider a few points when designing their cage:
- The materials used must not contain any substances that are toxic or harmful to the squirrel’s health (e.g. paints, solvents, etc.).
- All branches, roots, etc. should not be collected directly next to busy roads, as the pollutant load is too high here.
- Branches, roots, and other natural materials must be cleaned with hot water before being placed in the cage, otherwise, vermin or germs could get into the cage. Alternatively, the objects can also be placed in an oven at around 120 °C for 15 minutes to completely kill any germs present.
- There must be no sharp edges or sharp corners anywhere that the squirrel could injure itself.
- Hamster cotton is not suitable for chipmunks as it can constrict the extremities.
Wheels are and remain controversial for all owners, chipmunk friends are no exception. Again and again one hears the argument that wheels cause stereotypes. However, the exact opposite has been scientifically proven. Whether you offer your squirrel a wheel or not is still your personal decision. If you decide on a wheel, it must not be smaller than 30 cm in diameter so that your squirrel can walk in it without a bent spine.
The material and construction of the impeller are also important. Plastic wheels are an absolute taboo for Burunduks. Wooden wheels are better, unfortunately, they are usually quickly destroyed. Metal impellers with a jute band on the tread are well suited. Unfortunately, the construction of these bikes, which are usually open at the back, creates a scissor effect that can lead to the head or limbs getting trapped. It is, therefore, better to use the hard plastic wheels that are now available in specialist shops. These have a closed tread and a closed back and therefore do not pose any danger to the squirrels. They are also significantly quieter than metal wheels, which require regular squeaking with cooking oil.
The attachment of the wheels varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some manufacturers offer a frame in which the wheel runs, others a suction cup for attachment. Which system you prefer is ultimately irrelevant and must be adapted to the conditions of your enclosure. The only important thing is that the bike cannot tip over or even fall down, as otherwise there is a great risk of injury for your chipmunk