Loofah is a great and healthy chew for Chinchillas. The tough fibers and unique texture offers long term use. The fibers help clean your Chinchilla's teeth, too!
What is loofah?
" Luffa is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines in the cucumber family. In everyday non-technical usage, the luffa, also spelled loofah, usually means the fruit of the two species L. aegyptiaca and L. acutangula" - Wikipedia
Now I know what you're thinking, "Chinchillas shouldn't have fruit!" Well, the loofah we give the chins is no longer "fruit". It's more of the skeleton of the fruit.
What you will need
- Natural Loofah - Koolaid or Food Coloring - Hot water - Bowls - Knife or Scissors - Strainer - Oven ( baking sheet ) OR a covered place to safely air/sun dry.
First You need to get yourself some Loofah
You need: Natural Loofah. The white loofah you purchase in the beauty & bath sections at the store tend to be bleached. That's why it appears to be WHITE. Bleached loofah is not healthy for your pet to consume. You want natural Loofah, which will be an off-white / tan/ or brown in color.
You can purchase natural loofah at natural supply stores, farmers markets, or chinchilla supply stores.
Next, cut it all up! 1" slices? Fries? Hollow out the center? Halves? Your choice, it doesn't matter.
Then... Prepare a few bowls with hot water, and your koolaid/dye. The amount you will need depends on how many colors/flavors you want to use.
Place your dye or koolaid in your bowls, then fill each bowl until half full. Combine, then add your loofah. It's okay if it over laps, or even gets smooshed. It will soak up the flavor/color.
Allow it to soak for at least 1 hour, but best results are yielded .
Once soaked, drain each bowl with a strainer, and rinse the strainer between colors.
Lay the loofah on a baking sheet with approx 1" between colors to prevent bleeding. Bake at the lowest possible temperature until dry OR Line a baking tray with paper towls/bags and lay the loofah on top. Then set outside to air/sun dry.
*TIP* remember the texture of the loofah before you started. That is how you want it to feel when you dye & dry it.