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PROS & CONS

The Good:

  • Attractiveness - Chinchillas are VERY cute to look at. They are a marvel to watch.  I find it highly entertaining just being around them.

  • Soft fur - Their fur is the softest in the world because it's also the densest of all the animals.

  • Personality - Chinchillas have very lively personalities. They are inquisitive, bright and busy little critters. Each is unique in personality as well as looks.

  • Caged - Like most rodents, chinchillas spend the majority of their time in their cage. If you work a lot, or live in a small apartment, a chin might be a better pet than a higher maintenance, more dependent animal like a dog.

  • LONG Life Span - Chinchillas (with proper care) can live 15-20 years in captivity.

The Bad:

  • Nocturnal? - Chinchillas are crepuscular. That means they sleep all day and play loudly in their cages at dawn and dusk. It's usually better to keep their cages in a room OTHER than your bedroom for this reason, unless you are a sound sleeper.

  • Expensive - Unlike a hamster or gerbil, a chinchilla is an expensive pet. The animal itself cost a lot, and you can usually count on spending about three times as much on the cage, wheel, and accessories for it.

  • Time Consuming - Chinchillas need supervised play time, out of the cage, daily. An hour or so is usually sufficient.

  • Hard to find VETS - Chinchillas require an exotics specialist veterinarian. You should find a good vet before you even get a chinchilla, so that you don't have to start looking DURING a medical emergency. Vet care for exotics can be extremely expensive in itself. Keep some money tucked away for emergencies, just in case.

  • NOT a cuddly pet - Chinchillas RARELY like to be held or cuddled. They can be extremely skittish (being prey animals) and it usually takes months if not years to establish a bond of trust between you and your new pet. It takes an extremely patient person to win over the trust of a chinchilla.

  • Temperature - Chinchillas can not sweat! Air conditioning is a must, and they do best in temperatures below 72 degrees.

  • LONG Life Span - This is a pet you will have to take care of for 15-20 years. If you are young and plan to go to college, what happens to the pet that gets left behind?

  • Quiet, please! - Chinchillas need to sleep most of the day, and should be in a quiet, unoccupied part of the house for most of the daylight hours. Make sure you have somewhere suitable to put the cage.

  • Dust - Chinchillas need to take a dust bath in a special dust at least a few times a week to keep their coats clean. The dust gets pretty much everywhere, and some people can have allergic or asthmatic reactions 

MALE OR FEMALE?

The question I am MOST often asked is, "Which is better, girls or boys?" My answer is that it makes no difference. Personality is not determined by gender! HOWEVER, here are some facts that you should keep in mind when deciding between male or female:

  • Females spray urine when they are angry. They can spray at each other, or at their humans. I've been sprayed a few times! It's not as disgusting as it sounds since it's only a small amount at a time. The key is not to tick them off. If they have something they shouldn't have, don't yank it away, offer them something safer instead.

  • Males need "hair ring checks" every month. That means you have to forcibly extend their "manly parts" to check if there is a build up of loose hair around it. Hair rings can be very painful and sometimes even fatal, so checking is a necessity!

Regardless of which sex you choose, males and females should NEVER be housed together. Breeding chinchillas is a complex genetic issue. You should know the genetic line for both parent chinchillas for 3 generations back before you attempt to breed, to avoid making what could be a FATAL error. Click HERE for more information on breeding.

These are just a few of the points you should consider when making the decision to get a pet chinchilla.

I would never recommend them as a child's pet, for a classroom, or in a dormitory.  

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