Um... Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.
See... This is me:
I was moving closer to check out one of the flashy things our human caretakers have when the above photo was taken. The Mummy human was using a version of the flashy thing she calls "iPhone" and it kept talking, so I came to check it out. I tried nibbling it at first, but it tasted awful, so I decided to see if I could figure out how the Mummy human was making it talk. I saw she was pawing at it, so decided to try too. It worked! Every time I put my paw on it, it talked. I thought it was great, so spent some time pawing at it to make it talk to me. The Mummy human said she was trying to do something, and I wasn't helping, but I don't understand what she said she was doing, and frankly don't care, since I was having a fantastic time. The Mummy human says she's going to blame me for any unusual calls on her iPhone. I don't even know what that means, but she was laughing when she said it, so I'm not worried.
Anyway, as you may already know, I had one of those birthday things a little over a week ago. This meant an extra special treat for me... YAY! My other rodent siblings got a little something too, because the human caretakers don't like to give nibbles to one of us and not give anything to the others. For that reason, my chinchilla sister, Maizie, got to share in my extra special treat. I don't mind though, because not only am I really fond of her - she's my bestest friend in the whole world - but the human caretakers said it will be the same when Maizie gets her first ever birthday in a couple of months time. They say it's only right, since we're sharing a cage, that we both get the same. We're not going to argue, since these human caretakers give out great nibbles. Our favourites are cereal and chinchilla cookies.
If it wasn't exciting enough that I had a birthday thing and we got an extra treat because of it, we also had something fun happen a couple of weeks before my birthday, which has been happening regularly ever since. The human caretakers call it "pen time" (for reasons that will become clear when you read on).
The human caretakers got this pen thing they said was called a "rabbit run" for some reason. We didn't understand why at first, since there are no rabbits in our family. But we watched with interest as they set it up and put some fun looking toys in it. Here it is, all set up:
Then, to our delight, we were told it was just for us chinchillas. Apparently it's been set up as a playpen for us, which means it's a safe area where we can get some decent out of cage exercise while being kept away from things like wires, which would be dangerous to us. It's not nearly as tall as our cage, but it has space for us to actually run around in it, where as our cage doesn't have much running space (but makes up for it with climbing and jumping room). Plus, the playpen has toys in it that we only get to play with when we're in it, some of which are different from what we have in our cage.
Maizie was extremely eager to try it out, and happy to allow the human caretakers to pick her up and put her in there right away. Here she is inside the playpen:
I wasn't so eager, and was reluctant to leave the safety of our cage. I take longer to adjust to new things, and felt safer watching from inside our cage while Maizie checked out the new playpen; Maizie's the more inquisitive of the two of us, and she's braver too. I got up the courage to join her after she'd been in there a couple of times though:
I learned quickly that Maizie was right about pen time being fun, so here I am enjoying myself in the playpen:
So, now we have a safe - and fun - place where we can run around and play outside of our cage, which we think is great. I mean, pets and cuddles from the human caretakers are nice, and Maizie and I also enjoy sitting on the Mummy human's shoulder. But having the freedom to run around and burn off some energy like that is even better, and we love our pen time!