Chinchillas are one of the cutest animals on earth! They have soft, fluffy fur and big, round eyes that make them look like cartoon characters. But these rodents are so much more than just a cute face.
Are you considering a chinchilla for a pet? These bundles of fur can be a good choice.
Five Reasons Chinchillas are Awesome
Chinchillas can be surprisingly challenging pets to own. Not only do they need a lot of time from their owners to stay happy, but they also require special care because of their sensitive fur. However, if you’re willing to put in the effort to keep your friend happy and healthy, they can make outstanding pets!
They are Adorable
In addition to being very intelligent, chinchillas also have very soft, fluffy fur. The fur on their backs can be long, while the fur on their bellies is short and smooth.
The fur is actually the softest fur out of any mammal in the world. In fact, even softer than cashmere! You’ll want to brush your pet chinchilla regularly to keep the fur clean and prevent knots or matting.
Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents, which means they’re naturally most active during dusk and dawn. So, if you want to see your pet during their most active hours, it may be necessary to turn on the lights at night!
They appreciate a well-established routine with food, treats, fresh water, and bedtime at scheduled times. Some might call this diva behavior, but for these pets it’s a necessity.
They are Self-Groomers
Chinchillas have hairy feet and long, bushy tails that they use to groom themselves. They also have extremely long tongues that they use to lick their fur.
If you watch a chinchilla groom themselves, you’ll notice that they rarely stop moving. They seem to enjoy cleaning themselves just as much as we enjoy taking a bath!
They use dust baths to keep themselves clean. These rodents like to dig in soft soils like sand or dry dirt. They do this to remove oils from their fur.
You can give your chinchilla a dust bath by setting up a bath with about four inches of soil in the bottom. The best part about chinchillas cleaning themselves is that you never have to bathe them!
They Don’t Stink
Chinchillas are very clean animals, and this also helps them avoid smelling bad. Even if yours is a bit stinky, a regular bath should fix the problem.
Chinchillas smell when they’re stressed or have too much cecal material in their bellies. Chinchillas are also very clean eaters, so they usually don’t smell like feces either.
To avoid nasty odors, you can leave food and water bowls in different areas of your home. It’s also a good idea to feed your chinchilla as far away from your other pets as possible.
If you do notice your chinchilla starting to smell, be sure to wash their bedding and litter regularly to help keep the smell from getting worse.
They Are Very Social
Chinchillas love to be around people, and they also enjoy the company of other chinchillas. Socialization and handing is important from a young age to keep them accepting of human touch.
Consider keeping your chinchillas in pairs because being alone is stressful for chinchillas. You might even be able to keep your chinchillas and other pets together as long as the other animals aren’t aggressive towards them, but never leave other pets alone, unsupervised with them.
Chinchillas are very playful animals. They enjoy exploring and having toys to chew on. You can buy toys specially designed for the species.
They can be a bit territorial at times, so you may notice your pets fighting over territory (especially if you have more than one). Similar behavior occurs in dogs, cats, and even human children.
You Can Teach Them Tricks
Chinchillas are very intelligent animals, which makes them easy to train. They can be trained to do tricks just like dogs!
If you want to teach your chinchilla tricks, start with clicker training.
Professional trainers use clickers for dogs, birds, cats, horses, and many others. If the professionals who train animals for TV, movies, the circus, and who provide obedience training for families worldwide endorse clicker training, it must be good. Your new furry companion will enjoy the training time you spend bonding. It’s a nice socialization tool as well.
Clicker training involves clicking a clicker at certain times as a reward. Once your pet has learned the sound of the clicker, you can reward them with a treat. They will soon get the hang of it, and you’ll have them learning new tricks and commands in no time flat.
They can also be trained to enjoy getting brushed and groomed. Start by getting your pet used to being handled. Once he (or she) is comfortable being petted, start working on brushing them. Make sure to use a soft bristle brush and start slow.
Training your pets to accept you picking them up, repositioning them, moving them, and protecting them from harm is vital. If your pet is afraid of you, it becomes hard to prevent the little guys from getting into trouble.
Sometimes our pets get excited, scared, or enthralled in their play. When this happens, they sometimes lose awareness of their surroundings. They may run down a steps or stairs, under a chair or sofa, or hide in a closet, get confused and have trouble finding a way out.
Alls of these places hold hidden dangers for our little friends.
By training them to respond to our commands, we become their second set of eyes and a Guardian Angel of sorts.
Chinchillas are very cute, adorable, and friendly rodents.
- Playful and easy to train
- Clean and rarely smell
- Self-groomers, so you do not need to bath them
- Social, and they enjoy the company of other chinchillas and humans
- Easy to take care of in most cases
- Lower maintenance compared to some other pets (dogs especially)
- Fun and interactive pets
- Will bring lots of joy and entertainment to your home
You can find a chinchilla for sale at local pet stores and via breeders.
Long tailed chinchillas have a larger presence compared to short tailed chinchillas. The tail gives an appearance of larger size, but in reality, under all the fur they are very small animals.
Caring for these pets is fun but can be challenging. The North Carolina State University prepared a nice chinchilla care guide that helps new owners learn how to care for them.
- Foraging toys
- Chewing toys
- Mental games
- Hiding places
- Fresh produce
- Plentiful greens
- Exercise wheel
- Supervised out of cage time
- Dust bath
- Hide and seek
Cages should be sized appropriately and made of metal rather than plastic.
They have amazing chewing abilities and will chew through a plastic cage quickly. You may awaken one morning to find your new friend has escaped. Metal cages help reduce that possibility.
Veterinary care is a must to ensure good, long-term health. Factor expenses for vet visits into your budget when considering whether to make a purchase.