The cute furry rodent from the Andes, chinchillas are a firm favourite with those looking for a slightly more unusual small pet than your average hamster. They come in a full range of colours and each has their own personalities. They live up to 20 years on average and are slightly larger than a squirrel. Chinchillas are generally athletic night owls, who love to sleep all day and come out and play in the evening.
Chinchillas’ soft fur is very dense and it makes them great cuddly animals. The dense fur also means that they cannot get fleas because the fur effectively suffocates the fleas before they can breed. It also means chinchillas bathe in special dust instead of in water, and this is fun to watch!
If you’ve ever met a chinchilla owner, you will know that they each have their own unique and quirky personalities. They get along with almost every pet, except cats (because cats want to eat them!) They can be taken out of their cage to socialise, they enjoy eating almost everything and anything, including Doritos and pizza.
They smell nice
Unlike many small animals, chinchillas do not have a bad smell. So you won’t need to worry about putting their cage somewhere out of the way when visitors come by. They also keep themselves clean and well-groomed, so you don’t need to.
Once the cage is set up with all of the bits they need (things to gnaw, dust bath, toys etc), chinchillas are relatively low maintenance. Their inquisitive personalities mean they can play for hours on their own. It is advised to socialise them frequently, especially early on, in order to avoid having an anti-social chinchilla.
They live long lives
Captive chinchillas live on average 15-20 years. They also have relatively few health problems, and as long as you keep their temperature stable, they will live a long and happy life. Be sure to give your chinchilla a healthy diet and avoid too many snacks, as if given the opportunity, chinchillas will eat and eat and eat, resulting in early death.
They are work-friendly
As chinchillas generally sleep all day and wake up for the evening and night, they make ideal pets for those who are at school/working during the day and then at home during the evening. Their social and playful personalities make a great welcome home after a hard day!
Find out more about caring for chinchillas…