Do Chinchillas make good pets?

United States
April 7, 2007 8:04pm CST
I've never actually owned a chinchilla, but I think they are really cute, and I want one! But how are they as pets? Are they just likes big hamsters, or are their needs really different? And do they bite a lot or does it depend on the chinchilla's personality? Any info about them as pets would be great! thanks
2 people like this
4 responses
• United States
8 Apr 07
They make excellent pets, though they're shy and easily frightened. Most live 8 to 10 years; some can live to 18..and they need lots of love..attention,,and caring for..here are some things you need to now hun.. STEP 1: Have your new chinchilla examined by a veterinarian who specializes in small or exotic animals, and continue to bring her in for regular check-ups as recommended. STEP 2: Feed your chinchilla commercially prepared rabbit pellets mixed with alfalfa and grass hay. STEP 3: Give dried fruits as treats, but in moderation. These supplements should make up only 10 percent of the entire food intake. STEP 4: Supply a water bottle, and change the water daily. STEP 5: Provide a wire mesh cage, with or without a solid floor, of at least 3 by 3 by 3 feet'more than adequate for one chinchilla during playtime. STEP 6: Be sure the cage is located in a cool, dry, and draft-free area, preferably in a temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees F. Keep your chinchilla's cage indoors to provide better temperature control. STEP 7: Allow your chinchilla supervised evening romps outside her cage. Use a leash designed for small animals like rabbits and chinchillas if you take her outside. STEP 8: Provide your pet with a dust bath twice a week by mixing nine parts silver sand with one part fuller's earth, or buy a specially prepared chinchilla dust-bath mixture. STEP 9: When holding a chinchilla, grasp her at the base of the tail with one hand and support the body with your other forearm. Hold her gently, close to your body. Rough handling can cause hair loss. Note that chinchillas may urinate when annoyed or nervous. STEP 10: Provide chew toys for her such as wooden blocks and other items designed for chinchillas. And please..THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! Care for your chinchilla conscientiously. Poor nutrition, boredom and hot temperatures can lead to serious medical problems. Some chinchillas can develop health problems due to an over-growth of molars. Regular veterinary checkups are essential. I hope i was some help,.take care!
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Apr 07
Please do take the time to thoroughly research this animal before you bring one into your life. They require a lot of care and attention. I must disagree with coud kicker on one point here. Wire bottom cages are not safe for ANY small animal. They can get a paw stuck in the holes and quickly break a leg or foot. They also cause a serious disease called bumblefoot. A smooth flat bottom cage is necessary for their safety. If after doing a pile of research you decide you have the time and can provide a proper envirnment for a sweet little chinny please do not buy one. These are yet another animal that is frequently abandoned and left homeless. There are chinchilla rescues overflowing with wonderful chinchilla's just waiting for their forever home to open up to them. The only way to stop these breeders from compounding this horribly sad problem is by educating the public to their plight and having people STOP buying them. If there are no buyers the breeders will stop creating this heartbreaking problem.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Apr 07
thank you everyone who responded! Lots of helpful information! I will def. have to do lots more reasearch! I didnt know you had to do so much extra for them, but good thing I got the update! I would still def. love to have one. I wouldnt dream of buying one from a breeder, I will def, get one from a rescue! Thank you all
2 people like this
• United States
8 Apr 07
Meremma,,,I would like to tell you that i did alot of research on how to car for chinny;s..on many vet sites.,and on all of what i read the mesh wire cage is what they all say to use,,so this isnt something that was my opinion,,this was actually how you are to care for the animal..so you can disagree with what they have said,,but the fact is..i am not a vet..and they are..i am just letting her know how to care for it..from professionals,.,
@Marie5656 (336)
• United States
23 Oct 08
Chins are very fragile, and would not be appropriate to people who cannot give them the time and attention they need. Trixie nips a bit, but mainly when she is a bit angry with me. Like if I go to try and hold her. The nips do not hurt at all. When you buy one, remember they can live a long life, 10+ years. So be ready to commit. I would not recommend a chinchilla to a house with small children, and I would not give responsibility for one to a child under 12.
• United States
25 Oct 08
as much as i love chinchilla's i'm not sure i'd be the best owner for one. I think i am much more suited for dogs and cats! :) Thanks Marie
• United States
22 Jul 07
Chinchillas make wonderful pets! Keep in mind that it's not uncommon for them to live up to 20 years old though. They are nothing like hamsters and guinea pigs because they are much more intelligent and the way you need to take care of them are a lot different as well. Normally a chinchilla doesn't bite unless they are extremely frightened. You have to get them used to you and your scent before you just go in and pick them up. Trust is key. They need to take dust baths to keep their fur clean. Don't use water because it can create fungus due to their thick soft fur. If you let them run around in your room, make sure it's chinproof. They'll go straight for wall sockets and cords and begin to chew so you need to watch out for that. Chinchillas love attention, but they are nocturnal so they need to sleep peacefully during the day. Don't give them too many treats because it can harm them.
@mama4kids (690)
• United States
15 Apr 07
i think that they are great pets. i have 4 kids and she is so good with them. she has never bit anyone. she has tried in the past to nip but she doesnt hurt. she is quiet, doesnt smell like ferrets do and she doesnt do too much. i recommend chinchillas as pets to anyone.