If you would like to own a not so common pet animal that’s also active and that won’t need too much attention, then consider a Chinchilla or Chin as some call it. Chinchillas are not really popular as pets, but most people who have them are happy with their choices. However, just like any other pet animal, they come with their share of joys and perils, and it’s good to read both pages before taking one home.
Let’s start with Chinchilla as pets pros
Lifespan: Chinchillas have a 15+ year lifespan. As such, if you get one and bond really well, you will have many years of great friendship.
Maintenance:If you are looking for a low maintenance pet then a Chinchilla is a great consideration. The initial cost of acquiring one and setting up the cageplus everything that the pet will need for a comfortable accommodation might seem high, but general maintenance is pretty low. All you will need to do is refill the water, hay, and food daily, then clean the cage weekly as you get him/her things to chew because they love chewing.
Living alone or in pairs: Chinchillas are pretty social pets, but that does not mean that they cannot live alone. In fact, most prefer a solitary life and won’t demand too much of your attention either. On the other hand, it’s easy to find a Chinchilla that enjoys having a playmate, and they can live in harmony for a long time. And, you can even find some that are okay living in a same-sex group, so if you would like more than one pet, they will make a good choice.
Cleanliness:Pets’ cleanliness is a great concern for most pet owners, and it can determine if one is ready for the task or not. Luckily, Chinchillas are pretty clean, do not smell, have hard poop, and are super easy to dust bathe weekly. Again, they have dense fur that doesn’t get messed up, so there’s not much hair maintenance.
Attention demands: Unlike most pets that demand too much human attention, Chinchillas won’t be bothered as long as they have their food, water, toys and other things to chew. In fact, with enough supplies of their essentials, you can leave them for days, and they will be okay when you get back. Again, if you do not have enough space to have a pet running around, Chinchillas make it easy because they, in fact, love spending too much of their time in their cages. All you need is to get them enough toys and something to chew on, and they will be okay.
Other "chinchilla as pet pros": They do not have lice, fleas or mites because they are not susceptible to such pests. They are also very soft, so you will love touching them if they let you. Also, they are very active, and you will enjoy watching them run and climb. Again, they chew almost nonstop, so this is something else to enjoy watching. Lastly, they make the perfect pet animals for busy people.
Chinchilla as pets cons
Temperature requirements:This is the one thing that makes most people think twice about owning chinchillas. Since they do not sweat, you will need to keep them in a temperature-controlled environment throughout. As such, if you don’t have an air conditioner, you should consider getting one before taking your pet home. Again, you will need to consult or do research about your chinchilla’s specific temp needs.
Have specific dietary needs:You will need to get your chinchilla pet some specific treats, hay, and pellets. They cannot have human foods like other pets, not veggies or fruits. This is because they have a delicate GI tract, so to keep them healthy, you need to be sure of what you are supposed to feed them or avoid. Again, when it comes to treats, you need to avoid anything with lots of fat and sugar. Instead, get them rosehips, plain shredded wheat, oats, etc. You cannot give them just any treats.
Cleaning them/ dust baths: Cleaning after your chinchilla is easy and doesn’t take too much time since they are not too messy. However, you will need to give them dust baths from time to time, say after each week. For this, you will need to get a specific chinchilla formulated dust product. This helps keep your pet’s coat healthy, and she/he will enjoy the bath. The only problem is that when not done right, the process can get messy, and worse, some people have allergic reactions to the products, so you need to know this beforehand.
They chew everything: Well, these little cuties will chew everything, which means you have to be very careful with what they have around or what they can reach. Avoid plastics, cables or fabrics in their cages. Also, to keep them from chewing things that might hurt them, buy them chew toys and keep refilling their bowls. Again, if you let them out of the cages, keep a close eye on them because they might destroy your power cords and furniture, or squeeze their little bodies through small spaces then make you spend hours looking for them.
They are nocturnal: Depending on your sleep pattern, owning a chinchilla will either work for or against you. They are nocturnal, and so they sleep through most part of the day meaning they will be active for the better part of the night. As such, if you are a heavy sleeper or are up at dawn or dusk, you will not be affected by their noise as they play and climb. On the other hand, people who are disturbed by the slightest noise at night might want to rethink about owning a chinchilla. But, this shouldn’t be a problem if your pet will be staying far from your bedroom.
More expensive than most small rodents: Compared to other small rodents, say gerbils or hamsters, chinchillas cost way more. Also, their cages, wheels, dust product, etc. is expensive, so do your calculations first to know if this is something you can afford for the next 10+ years.
Now that you have to pros and cons of keeping a chinchilla as a pet, the decision will be pretty easy to make. One thing for sure though is that they are really cute and that alone might convince you to overlook anything else.