Chinchillas As Pets

There are plenty of websites out there that can list the history and biology of chinchillas, like this Wikipedia page.  So we will skip that stuff and get right down to what a prospective chinchilla owner really wants to know: do chinchillas make good pets?



Chinchillas can make great pets!  They are naturally social, relatively easy to care for, and fun to play with.  Chinchillas have the potential to bond very strongly with their owners, and have unusually long lifespans for a member of the rodent family.  Chinchillas live for an average of 15 years and have been known to live even longer.  This means that your chinny can be a part of your family for many years to come!  However, it also means that a chinchilla is a long-term commitment.


  If you are not committed to keeping a chinchilla for it’s full life-span (15 years or more), but are still interested in a chinchilla, consider adopting a senior chin from a rescue. 


Chinchillas are very active creatures and do not enjoy cuddling for more than a few minutes at a time, if at all.  The best way to play with your chin is to set up a play area or chinchilla-proof a room.  Sit in the room with them while they run around and explore – your chin will happily climb on you, jump off of you, and sit on you.


Chinchillas are easy to clean up after, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make messes!  Chinchillas poop constantly and enjoy kicking it out of their cage, along with hay and food.  Their poop is very small and dry, however, which makes it easy to sweep or vacuum.  Some chinchillas can be litter trained, but this is limited to teaching them where to pee.  They will still poop anywhere and everywhere – they just can’t help it!  Chinchillas also need to take dust baths, which can leave the things around their cage covered in a thin layer of dust.


Chinchillas do not produce dander, which makes them a good pet choice for people with allergies!  A chinchilla will not trigger allergies like a dog or cat will.


You should also know that in addition to basic supplies, chinchillas require air conditioning.  Their thick fur makes them very susceptible to heat stroke if the temperature rises above 75°F.  Many vets are not familiar with chinchillas, so you must be willing to travel to an appropriate vet office if your chin ever becomes sick or injured.