Are chinchillas good pets?
This is a great question to ask yourself before making the decision to purchase a chinchilla. To answer this we have to look at what you’re looking for in a pet. Chinchillas can be very independent. Most of them do not want cuddle and prefer to stay in their cages. They rely on you to keep their hay rack, food dish, and water bottle full. Their cage should be kept clean and their stress kept to a minimum. You don’t even need to give them a bath! Chinchillas take dust baths a few times a week. You place the bath inside their cage and remove it 15-30 minutes later. Apart from these basic needs, they don’t require much attention.
To answer the question, yes, chinchillas make good pets! They require minimal attention, they’re clean (although messy), and sleep while you’re at work. Chinchillas are not nocturnal, they're crepuscular. This means that they are most active during the hours of dawn and dusk.
With the occasional treat and underarm scratch, you’re sure to be best friends with your chinchilla. One thing to keep in mind when purchasing a chinchilla is that they live 20+ years. This is a long commitment and you shouldn’t get a chinchilla if you don’t intend to care for it for their entire life.
With that said, pet chinchillas are typically not recommended for children. There’s a few reasons for this:
- Chinchillas have a floating rib cage. It can be dangerous to pick them up and they typically don’t like being handled. (Proper Handling)
- They live 20+ years. Although children (even teenagers) may want them now, they’ll likely change their mind as they get older and go on to high school or move away from home.
- Chinchillas are prey animals. They like the safety of their cage and can get very stressed when taken out. If you decide to have play time, it should be kept to a minimal, 100% supervised, and in an enclosed space.
One thing people tend to worry about is allergies. Although chinchillas are not hypoallergenic, they don't have dander. It's very rare for people to be allergic to chinchillas! If someone does have allergies around their chinchilla, it's more than likely coming from the hay or dust.
Having a pet chinchilla can be a great experience! There’s a ton of information out there and it can be hard to find what’s right. One thing to remember is that popular pet stores typically don’t have the right information. A good rule of thumb is to always ask an exotic veterinarian or a chinchilla breeder.
A few helpful links from us:
- Chinchilla Costs
- A Chinchilla Diet - Made Easy
- The Ultimate Chinchilla Checklist for Beginners
- Tips to Potty Train your Chinchilla
A couple helpful resources from people we trust:
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