Keeping Chinchillas as Pets: What You Need To Know

Can you imagine a cute fur ball jumping onto you and climbing to your head? This could be your pet. For their cuteness, an increasing number of people are now taking chinchillas as pets.

Chinchilla Facts

Baby Chinchilla

Photo credit: BenSeese 2

Chinchillas are nocturnal animals of the rodent family. Nocturnal means they will have a nap most of the day and be awake most of the night. These small mammals make great pets for older children and adults who have the time to learn how to handle and raise them. The first thing you should know is that chinchillas do not make the best pets for young children as they frighten easily. They do not like to be held and cuddled and can only be trained to a certain extent. Exotics  cannot, for instance, be trained not to bite. If your chinchilla is a little on the grouchy side and bites, he will always bite, so best he be kept by an adult who understands this.

Chinchillas are small creatures naturally living at high altitudes. They resist the cold climate thanks to their fur. These animals have the most soft and dense coats of all rodent species. Compared to rabbits, they have huge ears that grow from their wide skull. Their teeth get bigger continuously. Chinchillas might live for 20 years if they are cared for perfectly.

Get to Know the Chinchilla`s Temperament

Well, this type of animal has a specific temperament.  Chinchillas are social creatures. They live in groups of several dozen individuals ( That is why they hate to stay alone. Special care is required by these rodents. Before you raise one, make certain you can spend enough time with your companion. Do your research on the type of home that is suitable for them. A chinchilla also has its own dietary requirement that you ought to be able to meet.

Rocky hills in the Southern Hemisphere are areas exactly where chinchillas are found. They’re also classified as nocturnal animals. These rodent species are very energetic at night. They should be able to play, work out, and look for food that is why they need much space. Despite these creatures are friendly animals, they can be very sensitive to environmental sound. Do not forget that during the day this pet ought to be kept in an undisturbed location in your property.

Where Does Chinchilla Pet Live?

The shelter that you select for your chinchilla must promote its health and comfort. A cage needs to let the natural climber jump around and also run easily. It’s quite common for their enclosures to be made from steel. The crate should contain a number of levels to explore. Picking wood or strong plastic shelves would be adequate. As for the floor, you can choose a wire mesh to avoid the inhabitant from falling. Add-ons like passageways or toys for physical exercise could make the place much more enjoyable for your chinchilla. You can also offer wooden items to serve as chew toys.

Gray Chinchilla

Photo credit: srdgato

The chinchilla should also have a secure area to rest in. Be sure that the spot has relaxing bed items. You could make a wooden house or sleeping box with this. To make it more comfortable you can place wooden shavings within the floor surface. Other good option for that is shredded cardboard or paper. Waste debris could get accumulated on the beddings so be sure it is replaced on a regular basis.

When you are choosing a place to put the cage, ensure that it has very low humidity, mild temperatures, and also a room that isn’t directly hit by sunlight.

What Do Exotics Eat?

Chinchillas are actually herbivores. Their diet consists of plant biomass, dry herbs, parts of fruits and some vegetables. However, the main component in their nutrition plan is hay. The protein content of this organic food is high. Chinchillas need intake of fiber to maintain their gastrointestinal tract healthy. They could get sick once they eat sweets and fatty foods. Seed products, nuts, and also raisins are also not good for them. Pellets made for their own specie are an excellent choice.

Feed your pet high-quality alfalfa-based pellets. Opt for chinchilla food and hay cubes-preferably not more alfalfa, but a different type for him to enjoy.

Food can be kept in the cage at all times. Treats may include dry vegetables, fruits and rose hips. Please skip the nuts and seeds as they contain more fats than your pets system is accustomed to. A hanging dish and a water bottle are the best for your pet as it will keep him from peeing in his food and getting bedding and other stuff in it.

Caring for Your New Pet

Here are some things you need to consider when taking a chinchilla as a pet (

Do not continuously pick up your new chinchilla. It is in new surroundings and will be frightened. Plan to spend some time sitting quietly with him in the late afternoon or early evening, his “awake” time, when he is well rested and calm. Sit near him, offer him treats and let him come to you. Before long your new companion will be crawling up onto your lap for a treat or a scratch behind the ear. Never yell at him. Chinchillas have very long memories and when something frightens them they will not soon forget it.

Dust Bath

Chinchillas keep themselves clean by bathing their oily coats in dust. Pet stores sell a chinchilla bath made of the finest sand. Keep a shallow bowl or dish of this in the cage so your pet can bathe.

Chinchillas live to be about 10 to 20 years old in captivity. Let your chinchilla get used to his new surroundings and you will have years of enjoyment.

Daily Care

Chinchillas are bright, inquisitive and cute pets for adults and children alike. But to give your companion the best quality of life, you must make sure that you find out as much as possible about good chinchilla care and how to look after your pet in the best way possible.

Living in Pairs

Although it is possible to keep a single chinchilla as a pet, it would be kinder to keep a single sex pair so that your domestic animal has a companion to keep them stimulated and to snuggle with at night as they would in the wild.

Dinner time

Photo credit: monnibo


All chinchillas require play to keep them occupied and stimulated. It is important to give your pet suitable toys to entertain them and allow them opportunities to behave as they would in their habitat – gnawing, burrowing and making dens. Suitable toys include tubes, wooden blocks and stacks, sticks, cuttlefish bones and cardboard boxes.


large chinchilla cageHave a wire cage large enough for your pet and offer him plenty of play outside of his enclosure. Don’t house him in an aquarium as it can get hot and he can easily overheat. Keep the cage in a draft free area where the temperature is a consistent 58 to 68 degrees. Do not use cages with wire mesh bottoms. Chinchillas have very sensitive feet and delicate toes that can be hurt by walking on wire mesh.

Keep his cage full of chew toys made of wood or other hard, chewable materials. Chewing is a natural habit for a chinchilla and it helps keep his teeth filed down.

Clean the cage about once a week. The best bedding for chinchillas is pine or aspen shavings or fleece liners. Newspaper can be used but may need to be cleaned more often as it is not very absorbent and will begin to smell sooner.


Sand bathing keeps the chinchilla coat free of oils and parasites. Moreover, chinchillas love dust bath! This is an essential element of the pet care. You have to offer dust bathing 2 to 3 times weekly. You can reuse the sand after removing feces and dirt.

It is important to keep your chinchilla’s cage clean. You must remove any soiled bedding on a daily basis and replace with fresh in order to keep your pet healthy.


You should take the time to practice handling your pet carefully. Remember that young children may be rough and ought not to be allowed to play with their pet unsupervised. When you bring your new chinchilla home, it would be best to give them a few days to settle in before introducing your hand into the cage to offer them a treat and get used to your smell. Work towards stroking them gently and eventually, you will be able to pick them up and take them out of their cage. Be sure to hold them securely and carry out regular handling sessions so they become used to being handled and taken out of their cage.

Cage Photo: © Salix / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GFDL

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Chinchilla Playtime – a Video Featuring a Male Pet Companion

A handsome Beige chinchilla explores a Christmas decoration. These cute rodents need to exercise outside their cage for half an hour daily.

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Is It Safe To Have A Chinchilla And Dogs Together For Play Or Anything?

Baby Chinchilla

Photo credit: Zuvieh S.F.

Chinchillas are little animals that need a lot of quiet to rest during the day. There are some pets to be honest that don’t care too much for the company of dogs and cats. The very same can be said about certain dogs and cats as well. So, is it safe to have a chinchilla and dogs together for play or anything else? The answer to this question may vary, and this is because, the small exotics are different one from the other sometimes. The very same can be said about certain dog and cat breeds too.

Some people who own chinchillas and dogs or cats have stated that their pets do get along perfectly while others have said something totally different from this. The best answer to give here based on a chinchilla and dogs is to leave it as an option question. Each situation is different and is based on the pets that are all trying to live and play together under one roof. Some chinchillas, just like some dogs and cats, may be exceptions to the rule of getting along perfectly. It just kind of all depends on the association of the chinchillas with the specific dogs, cats, or dogs and cats.

A chinchilla and dogs pet friendly situation at home may be dependent on the particular types of dogs and or cats in the living environment. It is not highly advised to mingle chinchillas with dog breeds that are known for being openly aggressive, rough, territorial, and or fighting/hunting in nature. The best kind of dogs to expose chinchillas to are puppies that are small, very even tempered, and that are comfortable and easygoing with other animals. The type of dog does matter where the safety of little chinchillas are concerned. Nevertheless, no matter what the breed is, any dog should be closely monitored and supervised when in the company of these very fragile fur balls who can be readily frightened and can run very fast.

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Cat Family Playing

I’m sure you’ll agree that this cat family is pretty playful! Look at them! They are really having fun!

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What You Need To Know About Breeding Chinchillas

If you think you may like to try chinchilla breeding, it’s important that you are aware of all the facts and know exactly what’s involved before going ahead. Here is some useful advice with regard to chinchilla breeding.

2 chinchillas

Photo: mhaithaca

Choosing A Breeding Pair

You need to select the right breeding pair of chinchillas in order to produce a healthy litter. It is important to find out more about the parentage of any chinchillas that you are considering mating and whether they have any genetic conditions. Some health issues can be passed on through the genes to their litters, leading to more complications and problems in the next generation. Make sure to inquire into any medical conditions the chinchillas or their parents may have suffered from before purchase.


It is obvious that if you are going to produce more chinchillas, you are going to need somewhere for them all to live. That means you will need more cages and more space to store the cages. Before embarking on a breeding program, make sure that you have enough available room for the kits in their early days before you sell them on.

Breeding Facts

  1. The female should be at least 9 months old.
  2. Usually, a litter will have one or two babies.
  3. Kits are usually born in the early hours.
  4. The female will clean her own babies.
  5. Kits can move independently within a couple of hours of being born.
  6. Babies are born furry and have teeth.

Think carefully about breeding chinchillas and decide if you are able to cope with the responsibility and extra work. A female can produce several litters a year, but should only have a maximum of two for health reasons. You may need to separate the pair or neuter the male to prevent another pregnancy soon after the birth.

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Guinea Pig: Photo gallery


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Black-Footed Ferret: Photo Gallery

Black-footed Ferret by USFWS Mountain-Prairie

Black-footed Ferret by USFWS Mountain-Prairie

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The Secret Life of a Pet Ferret

Owning a pet means spending a lot of time with it, caring for it, playing with it, and learning from each other. Each pet will have its own personality traits that make them unique, and they learn about their owners as much as their owners learn about them.

Two ferrets

Photo: Cloudtail

A pet ferret is similar in many ways to a cat, with of course its own differences. Both cats and ferrets are playful, curious and love to explore. While cats will sometimes come when you call them, ferrets eventually will do the same. Ferrets however have some odd traits that all new pet ferret owners should be aware of before they get one as a pet.

The Secret Stash

While a pet ferret might be curious about what goes on in your house, they are still considered wild animals and will revert to the behavior that has kept them alive for generations. This means they like to hide things for later use. And they will find a location that most people don’t go, but they have easy access to. This could be an attic if there is a way for them to get to it, but can often be under the bottom drawer of a dresser if the back is open or under a bed. A pet ferret will take newspaper and magazines and shred them to make a nest, along with storing some of their food, old toothpaste tubes and anything shiny that they like to play with.

Boxes and Paper Bags

For some reason a pet ferret loves to climb in boxes and paper bags. This is a fun activity for them and can be great entertainment for the family. Keep a couple on hand for a little fun.

When you own a pet ferret you will notice items missing from time to time. If you know where the nest is, you can easily retrieve them, but be mindful that they will probably end up there again.

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