Hello! Welcome to Aviary Birds And Co, and congratulations on taking the first steps to becoming a chinchilla Owner! Chinchillas are one of the most rewarding companions but are also one of the most complicated pets to have. So let’s discuss, do Chinchillas make good pets?
To begin, in order to know if a Chinchilla is a good pet for you, we need to discuss what their basic requirements are and what sets them apart from other pets. Today, I will be covering Housing, Feed, Temperature, Affection, and at the end I will give my opinion on Chinchillas as pets!
HOUSING: This is something that every owner needs to know before acquiring a chinchilla. Chinchillas are basically the most adorable species of rodent. Why do I say this? I say this because Chinchillas have ever growing teeth and they will and need to chew! So it is best and recommended practice to use an enclosure that is plastic free. There are multiple reasons for this, for one, plastic will stain and retain smell, and for two, chinchillas will chew on plastic. Chinchilla chewing will be a problem for every chinchilla owner. Chinchillas need to chew to wear down their teeth but if your cage has any plastic they will chew on it and wear it down bad. This is a problem as they will not escape, but if your chinchilla ingests plastic, they can develop intestinal problems fairly quick. It is best practice to purchase a cage that is all metal, or to cover any plastic with fleece so the chinchilla doesnt have access to the plastic. The cage I strongly recommend is the MidWest Critter Nation. This cage was made with the Chinchilla owner in mind. It is large, made of metal, has large doors, and has several upgrades available (such as metal pans). This cage is more expensive, but I personally would not own another chinchilla without this cage, but other suitable cages are also available. Below is the sample picture from amazon.
FEED: I wouldn’t do the Chinchillas justice if I didn’t mention their feed requirements or better yet, what not to feed them. Chinchillas are fairly basic in their feed requirement, a quality food pellet, free access to hay, and a wood chew treat to help them wear down their teeth. Simple right? Absolutely! But Chinchillas can also be very sensitive and can develop intestinal and gas problems FAST! Many times, Chinchilla owners want to go above and beyond and provide their Chinchillas with different diets but research needs to be done to insure the food is “Chinchilla Safe”. For example, the chinchillas digestion system is not designed to process high sugars, so fruits and vegetables should be avoided. Luckily, simplicity is best! I currently use Mazuri Chinchilla pellets from Chewy.
Temperature: This is by far the most important topic to discuss and what I feel should determine if you should or should not own a Chinchilla. Chinchillas have a very dense fur and they will overheat at temperatures that are fine for most pets. Chinchillas should be kept at cold temperatures and should never go above 74-75 degrees Fahrenheit. With that being said, most places in the world will surely have days that go above that, so it is absolutely essential that you are able to keep your chinchillas in a cold room and have cooling source for those hot days. An AC is highly recommended! Understanding the severity of overheating is essential. Always keeping an eye on your weather app and preparing your chinchillas for the heat is an absolute must!
AFFECTION: The last topic I want to discuss is affection. I absolutely adore my chinchillas and will do about anything for them, but I also understand that my Chinchilla does not like to be held or snuggled. As an adult i am okay with this, but a child might not understand. Many Chinchillas tolerate being held and the more your practice and reward them the more they will tolerate it, but that does not go for all of them. If you are okay with not snuggling and using your chinchilla as a pillow, then you will have no problem being affectionate and receiving love from your Chinchilla.
BONUS: A few bonus additions I feel i need to add are as follows…. Chinchillas poop and they poop a lot! Be prepared to clean. Second, Chinchillas are considered exotic and you may need to insure you have access to an exotic vet.
Overall, I absolutely recommend a Chinchilla as a pet to any responsible household! I would not recommend a Chinchilla as a first time pet or as a pet to a young child unless under direst parental supervision, but overall if you are up to the challenge and understand the topics discussed above, I do not think you will regret getting your chinchilla!