Where do I get one?

Koan

 

Chinchillas are increasing in popularity, but are still not very common pets.  The biggest question prospective chinchilla owners have is where to get a chinchilla in the first place.  Fortunately, finding a chinchilla is not as hard as you might think!

There are two routes to take when getting a chinchilla: adopting or purchasing.

Adopting a Chinchilla

Since chinchillas have an unnusually long lifespan for a rodent (they live an average of 15 years), many people surrender their chinchillas after a few short years simply because they were not planning on keeping a pet for so long.  Chinchillas end up in rescues for lots of different reasons, so don’t assume that rescue chinnies have something “wrong” with them – it’s not their fault that their owners couldn’t keep them!

 

There are many rescues that specialize in caring for chinchillas and finding them new homes – search online for a chinchilla rescue near you or search the “small pet” category on Adopt-a-Pet or the “Small & Furry” category on PetFinder (type “chinchilla” in the breed section).  You can also check with your local city/county animal shelter.  If they have a chinchilla available, set up  a time to visit the chinny and see if it is a good match for you.

Purchasing a Chinchilla

If you cannot find what you are looking for at a shelter/rescue, or if you are looking for chinchillas who are guaranteed to have good socialization and health, you can purchase a chinchilla from a chinchilla breeder.  Search online for a chinchilla breeder near you.

 

A good breeder will have no problem letting you tour their facilities and meet the parents of your chin, and will want to meet you in person before you take your chinchilla home.  Good breeders love their chinnies and want to make sure they are going to trustworthy homes.  If a breeder seems uninterested in you, wants to make a transaction as quickly as possible, and disregards your request to see their facilities – find another breeder.  These are all signs that the breeder does not have the best interest of the chins at heart.

 

If you want to be absolutely sure that your breeder is reputable, call other local breeders and ask.  The breeding community is very small and tight-knit.  Someone will be able to tell you exactly what you want to know about your breeder, for better or worse!

 

Avoid purchasing a chinchilla from a pet store! Pet store animals have unknown health histories, and are usually poorly socialized. This means that it will take a lot more time and effort before your chin will be comfortable with you.
Chinchillas typically cost $100-$300 to purchase from a breeder, depending on their color, age, and pedigree.  Adoption fees for rescued chins are typically less than $100.  Many breeders and rescues include a small “care package” with the cost of your chin, which provides you with a small amount of basic chinchilla supplies to start off life with your new chinny!