Did you know that chinchillas are actually native to the Andes Mountains in Chile?
Although that’s the case, they have become domesticated and are now popular pets to have. However, there is not as much knowledge out there about them as there is about so many other pets.
That’s why we have this guide to help you learn more about chinchillas and answer the question, “are chinchillas good pets?”
Ready to learn more? Read on to find out
1. Remember That They Are Skittish
Although chinchillas can become used to human interaction, they are not born that way. You have to make sure you get them used to being handled by a human.
When you first get a chinchilla, it is important to handle them from the get-go so that they become used to handling. However, you will need to pay attention to how you are handling them because they are going to be more skittish in the beginning.
You should also keep in mind that if you have smaller children, you may want to wait to get a chinchilla until they are a bit older. This way, they can be gentler and understand the right care for their pet chinchilla.
2. They May Need Space
Chinchillas are a pet that needs to have a larger amount of space in their cage. A chinchilla cage should be a lot bigger than a hamster cage.
This is because they are native to mountainous regions so they are used to having more space. There should also be a lot more sensory input in the cage so that the chinchilla stays engaged and happy.
Not only that, but within their space they are also used to climbing and exploring. They should have enough space in their cage to play around and enjoy their environment. This will keep them entertained and stimulated throughout the day.
3. Be Sure Your Chinchilla Has Fresh and Dry Air
Your chinchilla should stay in a room that has plenty of ventilation. This is because these animals are used to having a lot of fresh air in their natural habitat as the mountains.
Additionally, chinchillas are used to having cool and dry air rather than humid air, so if you live in a humid environment, you may want to put a dehumidifier in the room with them to keep it on the dryer side.
This isn’t just for their comfort, either. Chinchillas that live in humid environments can actually be more susceptible to contracting a fungal infection. They can also overheat if the heat reaches a temperature higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you do not think that you can keep an environment like this suitable for your chinchilla, it is best not to get this pet.
4. They Are Picky Eaters
Did you know that there is a specific chinchilla food that you should use?
It’s quite simple and it is the best for the chinchillas. If you try to stray too far away from this diet, then they can end up having some stomach issues and other GI issues from eating incorrectly.
So what is the diet that you should keep your pet chinchilla on every day?
They should be eating pellets, hay, and raisins for treats! The raisins are great for when you want to give them a little something special every now and then.
They should be getting about 1-2 tablespoons of pellets every day depending on their total weight. You should also only feed your chinchilla one specific brand, otherwise, it can mess with their GI tracts and cause some issues.
Even with this diet, you need to ensure that you are giving your chinchilla enough exercise. If they don’t get that exercise, they may develop other GI issues.
Keep in mind that you should also limit the amount of food that you give your chinchilla on a daily basis. That means treats, too! If you give it too much, you can cause bloat or diarrhea, which can be a serious problem.
5. Show Them Love
Your pet chinchilla needs a lot of love.
This is not the type of pet that you can get and then forget about! This pet needs love, and you are going to want to show it that love.
Although you may need to remind yourself that in the beginning, you will start to learn that your chinchilla is extremely lovable.
When you show it love, it will lead a long and happy life, which is exactly what you want as its owner!
And the more you love it, the easier it will be to take care of.
6. Chinchillas Can Be Vocal
If you are looking for a quiet pet, a chinchilla is not your best choice. Chinchillas can often be vocal animals, and they can even mimic roosters as well.
They can make noises that range from cute little squeaks to large coughs and barks. Typically, chinchillas are the most active during dawn and dusk. That means that in captivity, they are going to be doing the same so be aware that you may not be sleeping in super late on the weekends because they will be your alarm clock!
7. They Are Not the Friendliest Toward One Another
Because chinchillas can be quite skittish as animals, they are not the quickest animal to become friends with one another. It takes them some time to become friends.
If you want two chinchillas and put them in the same cage, it is common that they will fight. Instead, you need to introduce them to one another slowly so that they take time to become friends. However, there is the possibility that they will never become friends.
Because of this, it is in your best interest to only get one chinchilla so that you are able to love it and care for it without the added stress of your two or more chinchillas not getting along.
8. Create a Routine
It is going to take some time to get used to having a pet chinchilla in your home. You need to get used to them and they need to get used to you. That is not an overnight process.
However, you can make it easier on both yourself and the chinchilla. To do this, you need to create a routine.
This makes their lives more simple and you won’t forget any required care or cleanings for your chinchilla.
9. Set Up a Play Area
Your chinchilla is a very active animal. To keep your chinchilla happy, you need to give it the right amount of exercise and play.
They should be getting one to two hours of playtime a day. This can be a combination of structured playtime as well as free playtime outside of the cage. Whichever way you decide to do it, you should definitely be sure to incorporate the outside play so that it is free from its cage every once in a while.
10. Don't Forget to Groom Your Chinchilla
Chinchillas don’t need a lot of grooming, however, it is a good idea to give them a dust bath once every 2-4 weeks, or once per month at the minimum.
A dust bath will wick away the oils that accumulate on the chinchilla’s hair. A water bath is actually not the best idea for your chinchilla because it can lead to mold and mildew growing on their fur. This is not something that you want to happen!
But what is a dust bath?
A dust bath is ground-up volcanic ash. You put this into the chinchilla’s cage in a bowl. Once you put it in their cage, they will jump in the bowl and roll around in it. This is the way they give themselves the bath.
Do not keep the bowl in the cage for more than 15 minutes.
Are Chinchillas Good Pets?
Now that you have read this article, you have a much better idea of what you can expect if you get a chinchilla as a pet.
So are chinchillas good pets?
That is up to you and what you are looking for! For instance, if you have kids, it may be best to avoid it until they get a bit older.
If you don’t have time to take care of one, you shouldn’t get one. Just make sure you do the research before you get one.
Want to learn more about chinchillas and what you should do for them? Check out our site for more information.